We may not be able to visit Italy, but the team at an award-winning Tuscan vineyard are ensuring we can still enjoy Italian wine and food at home thanks to their wine pairing tips and recipes.

The team at Monterosola, an award-winning vineyard in Tuscany, have shared their recipes and tips on how to pair wine with food at home.

Monterosola’s vineyards sit between the world famous Tuscan wine growing regions of Chianti, Bolgheri and Montalcino where the terroir offers the optimum environment for growing first class wines.

The wines produced there are the result of organic farming methods and the ethos of ‘less is more’ – ensuring good quality and a great taste of Tuscany.

In normal times, wine fans can visit the vineyard to stay, take tours or join private events. But since that is no longer possible, the team have shared an ‘at home wine-pairing experience’ where wine-lovers all around the world can experience a taste of Tuscany in their own home.

The team said: “The following wine-pairing notes and seasonal recipes allow you to enjoy a first class gourmet Tuscan wine experience, wherever you are.”

Wine paring

Cassero

“This is the perfect summer wine for a relaxed al-fresco aperitivo with friends. We often start evenings with a glass of chilled Cassero while enjoying the early evening sun and preparing dinner.

“Cassero is a young, easy-drinking youthful wine that compliments lighter dishes such as freshly grilled tuna or swordfish served with lemon.” 

Primo Passo

how to pair wine

“The complexity and the structure of this wine goes very well with fattier fish such as salmon or a traditional roast chicken prepared with lots of fresh seasonal herbs and grilled citrus.

“Primo Passo enhances both fish and poultry dishes and has the depth of character to compliment flavourful, hand-picked herbs such as rosemary and sage. “

Mastio

“Is the perfect accompaniment to our traditional stone-baked pizza. At Monterosola we often entertain and prepare the wood-fired pizza oven well in advance in readiness for baking our own pizzas.

“A casual, yet elegant red wine, Mastio works in harmony with the traditional flavours of Tuscany, prosciutto, salami, pecorino cheese and freshly picked basil.” 

Crescendo

how to pair wine

“The flagship wine of Monterosola Crescendo is the perfect partner for long lazy dinners on the terrace.

“This wine has complex and intense flavours that perfectly compliment Tuscan sausages with fennel seeds or flavoursome slow-cooked organic meats and game.”

Recipes

Oven baked Citrus infused Swordfish

Serves 4

Ingredients

4 swordfish steaks, cut to approximately 1/2-inch in thickness

1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil

Small bunch of Italian flat leaf parsley

2 garlic cloves

Juice of 1 medium fresh lemon

1 teaspoon fresh chopped oregano

1 teaspoon fresh chopped thyme

1 tablespoon freshly chopped fennel fronds

Sea salt flakes

 

Method

Preheat oven to 190 degrees.

Prepare the swordfish by washing it under cold running water.

Pat the fish dry with clean paper towels and set aside.

Prepare the dressing by pouring the olive oil into a small bowl.

Now add several tablespoons of finely chopped parsley, two crushed garlic gloves, the finely chopped herbs, and the juice of the lemon.

Add a sprinkling of salt to taste.

Whisk all the dressing ingredients well until you have creamy dressing.

Pour the dressing over the fish covering each steak evenly and leave to rest for 30-60 minutes.

Now bake fish in the oven for 10 minutes.

Turnover and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

Be careful not to overcook the swordfish steaks, they should be cooked and juicy throughout, but do not allow to dry out.

Serve with an extra sprinkling of fresh parsley, lemon wedges and a fresh citrusy salad. 

Wine pairing: Cassero 

 

Roast Chicken with Herbs & Lemon

1 (4-5 Pounds) fresh whole organic chicken quartered 

6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 sprigs of fresh rosemary

10 fresh leaves of sage

4 large cloves of garlic, peeled and halved

Salt & pepper

1/4 cup good Italian olive oil

Baby / new potatoes with the skin left on – cut into halves

Method

Chop the rosemary leaves with the sage and place in a large ceramic ovenproof baking dish with the olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic.

Place the chicken quarters in the dish and turn the pieces to coat well with the herb and oil mixture.

Cover with a cloth and let sit in the refrigerator for 1-4 hours.

When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 220 degrees C.

Remove from the fridge at least an hour before you want to bake the chicken to bring up to room temperature.

Stir the chicken pieces ensuring the marinade covers each piece.

Now place the dish with the chicken into the oven and cook for 20 minutes.

Turn the chicken pieces and now add the potatoes coating them with the chicken’s juices.

Reduce the heat to 180 degrees. and cook an additional 50 minutes to an hour, or until the chicken is crispy and the juices run clear.

Serve hot with the roasted potatoes and a leafy green salad. 

Wine choice – Primo Passo

 

Classic Italian Pizza

 For the dough

500g/1lb 2oz strong plain flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp fresh yeast

325ml/11fl oz lukewarm water

For the topping 

300g canned plum tomatoes or passata rustica

Generous pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

30g/1oz freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Several fresh basil leaves

Fresh oregano or thyme leaves (dried would also work)

140g/5oz buffalo mozzarella diced into small chunks

The best extra virgin olive oil you can lay your hands on 

 Method

Preheat the oven to 250C/Gas 9.

In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt.

Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water and gradually add this to the flour and salt.

Mix well first with a spoon then by hand until you have a soft springy dough.

If you find the dough too sticky, simply add a little more flour.

Shape the dough into a ball and leave to rest covered by a cloth for 15-20 minutes.

The dough should now be easier to work with, divide into two pieces and knead each piece for a couple of minutes each and form into balls.

Sprinkle some flour on a clean wooden board and place the dough on top then cover with a damp cloth.

Leave the pizza dough balls to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.

In the meantime, place the tomatoes in a bowl and squash them slightly, add a good pinch of sea salt and pepper and combine.

To make the bases sprinkle some flour on a clean work surface (a large wooden board is perfect) and gently flatten with a rolling pin until the dough balls are flat and round.

Sprinkle some dried polenta onto two large flat baking sheets and gently place the two pizza bases on them.

Now spread a little of the tomato evenly over each base – do not over do the tomato mix, as you do not want a soggy pizza.

Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with the parmesan cheese, add some basil leaves or fresh oregano (or both) and top-off with pieces of mozzarella cheese.

Place in the preheated oven for approximately 7 minutes.

Remove from the oven, drizzle with some more olive oil and eat straight away. 

Ideas for additional/alternative toppings

30g/1oz taleggio, grated

30g/1oz gorgonzola cheese in pieces

2 slices of speck or prosciutto

A good handful of fresh rocket leaves

A sprinkling of sliced black olives

A small handful of whole capers 

Wine choice – Mastio

 

Wild Boar Stew with Juniper

Ingredients 

1.5kg (31⁄2 pounds) wild boar (or organic pork), excess fat removed, cut into 11⁄2 inch pieces

2 cups dry red wine (for marinade)

5 juniper berries

2 rosemary sprigs

6 black peppercorns

4 fresh bay leaves

6 sage leaves

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 red onions, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

1 celery stalk, chopped

2 1⁄2 cups very good dry red wine (for the cooking)

1 pound Roma tomatoes, chopped

1 handful fresh parsley, finely chopped

Method 

Place the wild boar meat in a large non-metallic bowl and pour over 2 cups of the wine.

Add the juniper berries, rosemary springs, whole peppercorns, sage and bay leaves.

Cover with a lid and marinate overnight in the refrigerator or somewhere cool for at least 12 to 24 hours.

The following day heat your oven to a medium heat. If possible, use a wood fired oven for a more authentic flavour.

If making the stew in a traditional gas or electric oven, heat this to 150 degrees c.

Remove the meat from the marinade and place into a large ceramic or terracotta casserole dish and discard the marinade.

Now add the red onion, carrot, celery, additional red wine and tomatoes, along with a big pinch of salt and pepper.

Cook long and slow in the oven until the boar is tender, about 4 hours.

You could cook on a lower heat for longer and the meat will simply become more flavoursome (add a little wine or water is looking dray at any time).

Finish with a little chopped parsley before serving.

This dish is fantastic with soft polenta or fresh tagliatelle. 

Wine choice – Crescendo 

To find out more about the wine, future visits and where to buy, please visit the Monterosola website.

Scran episode 15: Secrets of a wine connoisseur – with Diana Thompson

About The Author

Rosalind Erskine

Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind writes for The Scotsman on all things food and drink related.

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