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Alfasi Malbec/Syrah Reserve and Parve Spaghetti Bolognese

We have made Spaghetti Bolognese before, but this was a bit crazy, I must say.  You know when you mother used to tell you, no going out with friends on a school night?  Well, my friend Benyamin Cantz (from Four Gates Winery), had invited me to his house for a Sheva Berachot of friends of his.  Well, I should have remembered my mother, when I accepted the invite.  I had a grand time and when it was done, I was so tired (worked and cleaned up and God knows what else), that I barely could get up the next morning!  Worse, I had yet to cook the meal for Friday night.  So when I dragged myself in from work on Friday, I was pooped, and could almost not bring myself to whip up a nice Sabbath dinner.  Thank Goodness I woke up enough to make a nice affair – otherwise, I would have been kicking myself all Sabbath.

This recipe was meant to be a Pasta Puttanesca, but we had bought all these lovely vegetables from our local farmer’s market (zucchini, eggplant, etc.), and they do not last forever, and they do not fit in Puttanesca.  So, when we thought what we needed to create we came up with the Parve Spaghetti Bolognese.  The recipe is pretty simple:

Parve Spaghetti Bolognese Recipe
As many onions you have or like (you can never have enough onions)
16 ounces of sliced mushrooms
3 Japanese eggplants
3 colored (yellow, green, striped green) zucchini
4 cloves of garlic
2 tsp Thyme
2 tsp Basil
2 packages of fake ground/crumbled meat
28 ounces of good tomatoes
1 jar of Kalamata Olives
Half a bottle of good cooking wine

It not only looks easy, it is crazy easy to make.  Dice the onions and then sauté them until nice and brown.  Throw in the mushrooms and sauté them as well until you have nice brown onions and mushrooms.  At this point one could have thrown in some tomato paste to thicken the pot and food, but I passed on that, because I had little time.  Now throw in the diced zucchini and eggplant until they cook down.  Then throw in the herbs, garlic, and the rest of the ingredients, and cook down until the pasta sauce is at the consistency that you like.  I like my sauce a bit thicker, so I cooked it a bit longer than most would.

The food is thick and heavy and yummy, and I grabbed a bottle of wine that I was not initially so sure about.  But wow was I surprised, another great QPR (Quality to Price Ratio), though the score does not show it (as price is not part of wine scoring).

The wine note follows below:

2007 Alfasi Malbec – Syrah Reserve (50% Malbec/50% Syrah) – Score: B+
The nose on this ruby to garnet colored wine is hot out of the bottle, along with raisins, sweet oak, vanilla, roasted herbs, and nice heady and spicy aroma. The mouth on this medium to full bodied wine is busy with plum, raspberry, and cherry. The mid palate is where this nicely balanced and soft yet velvety wine comes to life with acid, integrated tannins, and a nice layer of dust. The finish is long with mounds of spice, coffee, white chocolate, and a dollop of vanilla. Quite a nice wine that really gets better with a couple of hours of air.

Dalton Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and Spaghetti Bolognese

This past weekend saw me coming back to planet earth from my trip to Israel.  This weekend, I was finally able to actually sleep through the night.  What is so funny, is that the trip to Israel, and the return trip from it, showed no ill effects of jet lag.  However, after having been home for a few days, the whole thing came crashing down on me like a ton of bricks.  I could not stay awake, even with the aid of cups of caffeine.  Finally, as this weekend ebbs away, I am once again my loud and gregarious self, and blessedly not sleep deprived.

So, with a bit of energy in my soul, I decided it was time to get some warm comfort food into my body.  We spoke about it, and came up with Spaghetti Bolognese (san fromage).  The Vegan version though was killer, if I can say so myself.  The base was the usual mixture of onions, carrots, celery.  But I added in a few ingredients that I am sure would make a Bolognian roll in his grave.  I started by adding in some diced parsnip, and then throwing in some sliced sweet peppers for taste.  Of course I then added in a couple of cups of red wine.  Once the base was nicely reduced to a thick and bubbling cauldron of goodness, I threw in some soy meat and we were left with one of the best tasting pasta sauces I have made.  We paired the Bolognese sauce with some whole wheat spaghetti, which has finally become quite edible.  Before the recent improvements in whole wheat pastas, they were brittle, grainy tasting, and downright nasty.  Now they are almost as good as their nutrient deficient siblings, with all the goodness they can possibly have (remember folks this is still pasta we are talking about, a pig is a pig even in with its husk on).

As a wine pairing I took out a bottle of Dalton Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2006.  The wine was a real pleasure for a few reasons.  The most important one being, that the wine was not yet another Cabernet Sauvignon.  Not another over the top, over oaked, over extracted (though this had some nice extraction characteristics about it), and over fruity, bottle of wine.  The wine is not so complex, as it is unique, a real nice change of pace for a Cabernet Sauvignon, and one that I would gladly buy again.

The wine tasting notes follow below:

Dalton Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 – Score: B+
The nose on this royal garnet colored wine is filled with black currants, cranberry, anise, mint, and spice. The mouth on this medium bodied wine has flavors of cranberry, currants, and mint. The mid palate is packed with acidity, integrated tannins, and spice. The finish is medium long with tart cherries almost bordering on cherry heering (a cherry liquor), almost bracing acidity, and a nice amount of vanilla and nice extracted spice. The wine is not so complex, as it is unique, and really, a nice change of pace from the common over the top Cabernet.

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