A few years ago my friend M, a winemaker, gave D and me a tasting of some truly extraordinary wines, and I brought home a bottle of one, well beyond anything we would normally spend, but an exceptional bottle, to be sure. But what dinner could do it justice? I suddenly connected Christopher Lee’s superb Boudin Blanc sausage, and my personal treatment of it, with the Failla 2007 Pinot Noir, and finally there was a dinner plan for the wine.
The wine is very light and delicate, so I had not been comfortable with the usual Pinot Noir ideas – grilled lamb and the like. But the sausage pasta that I had made twice before was a winner.
Three parts of the meal are started separately and come together. The sausage is cooked by itself (6 minutes on a side in butter), then split in two lengthwise and sliced. The second thread starts with perhaps half a shallot chopped into tiny bits (could be larger bits) and cooked for a couple minutes in butter; then an eringii mushroom (king oyster) is cleaned cut lengthwise and sliced crosswise like the sausage, and added to the shallot; a good sized (more than a handful) head of hen-of-the-woods mushroom is broken into leaves and brushed, and these are added four minutes after the eringii, then salted well. When both mushrooms are cooked, 1/4 cup each of heavy cream and white wine are stirred in, and three large sage leaves or the equivalent are added (D brought me a pile of very cute teeny ones instead), and the liquid is boiled until thickened enough. The pasta is drained and returned to the empty saucepan, and the sauce is mixed in.
I also cooked up an entire bunch of chard (but not the stems), one of three heads in a pillow I found in the bargain veggies section at Berkeley Bowl yesterday. It was exceptionally tender and delicious chard. No idea why it was on sale.
The wine was excellent, as expected, and the meal was a winning match. Failla 2007 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir.