Simple Pasta Dinner & San Greal

What could be more satisfying after a busy day than tossing together pasta, cheese, and pepper, and grasping a half hour of personal reflection before delving into homework? I played off of a recipe from Smitten Kitchen, one of my favorite culinary blogs (porn for foodies), and cut it in quarters–dinner for one!

Gemelli With Cheese, Garlic, and Black Pepper
(adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

  • 2/3 cup gemelli pasta – Boil, cook, and drain, but reserve 1/3 cup of the water.
  • Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a pan on high heat until it is steaming hot.  Add 1/4 cup finely-chopped onion, a couple cloves of minced garlic, the cooked pasta, the reserved water and 1/4 cup white wine; turn heat to medium-high and allow liquid to evaporate.
  • Toss in 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and 1/4 cup finely-shredded low-skim mozzarella cheese and remove from the heat. Finish it off with a generous sprinkling of fresh cracked pepper and sea salt. I added a cup of steamed broccoli on the side. This dish looks like it came out of a magazine and is so satisfying!

A bottle of San Greal 2007 set me back seven or eight dollars at Trader Joe’s, and the wine guy compared it to cult-cheap-wine-favorite, Gypsy Chariot, a wine I have tried and failed to find in any of the TJ’s in Eugene or Portland. San Greal is a play of words from the French phrase for royal blood: sang real. The wine is produced in Mendocino County in California, has 13.8% alcohol content, and is a 25-25-50 blend of Merlot, Sangiovese, and Syrah. The San Greal Winery uses grapes from 100% organic or biodynamic vineyards.

The label terms it a “Red Supper Wine,” and this table red is nothing to shun. The color is beautiful and rich, the taste is tannic and full of overripe berries. Its inherent boldness is not expertly paired with my more delicate pasta dish, but would be a welcome companion to a bowl of homemade spaghetti and meatballs.

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