There is something so satisfying with strapping on an apron, pouring a glass of wine, and cooking up a storm. It makes me feel like a housewife from the 60s and I love it.
It makes it feel even more fancy when the recipe involves lots of chopping, dicing, and requires many pots on the stove.
What made last week’s vintage cooking session even more special were Christmas carols and the Milk Calendar. And a glass of chianti.
The Milk Calendar comes out every December , and features a different recipe each month. Sponsored by the Dairy Farmers of Ontario, the Milk Calendar has been an Ontario tradition for the past 35 years. I don’t actually use mine as a calendar, I flip through the contents and rip out each recipe that appeals to me. And most do, as the majority of recipes involve a creamy sauce…since the key ingredient is milk.
First up for the 2012 calendar was Chicken and Vegetable Casserole with Basil. Egg noodles, chicken, green beans, and grape tomatoes in a creamy sauce topped with melted mozzarella. Except I made major substitutions. I subbed broccoli for the green beans. I added red pepper. I used penne because I didn’t have egg noodles. And I added 4 cloves of garlic because there was no garlic in this recipe. Seriously. How can garlic not be in a pasta recipe? Then I sprinkled paprika in the cooked sauce and totally forgot to add basil. So I basically butchered the original recipe.
The recipe claims to only be 15 minutes prep time and 30 minutes cook time. I cooked the chicken, chopped the veggies, boiled the pasta, and made the creamy sauce all at the same time. It was frantic. I actually found it hard to drink my glass of wine.
It was a simple recipe yet did not feel simple when I prepped/cooked. But it was deeeeelicious! I highly recommend. I’m not a fan of cooked veggies (but love them raw) so I steamed the broccoli for 2 minutes and I didn’t even cook the peppers before tossing them in the casserole (but they did bake in the oven for 15 minutes as part of the casserole). Then the tender-crisp veggies were coated in a cream sauce. This is a great way to make veggies enjoyable for your kids. Or for adults who don’t like mushy vegetables.
So if you’re looking for an excuse to have a glass of wine, try this recipe. The chopping, multiple pots, and time involved make it wine-while-cooking-worthy.
2010 Gabbiano Chianti
First off, in case you don’t know, Chianti is pronounced “key-on-tea”. You don’t want to be one of those people that make others cringe when you mispronounce a word….like “ex-presso” instead of “es-presso”, Queens “Qu-way” instead of Queens “Key” ( actual spelling is Queens Quay) (really only applicable for you Torontonians), and “foy-yer” instead of “foy-yay” (foyer).
As I madly prepared dinner, I took a few moments to pause and reflect on the dark purple glass of chianti I just poured. Before even tasting it, I pegged it for an all around, medium wine. The texture was not watery, but not thick and syrupy. There was a nice aroma. The scent didn’t jump out at you once poured, but it also was evident without deeply inhaling.
Upon tasting it, my first thoughts were mild, yet flavourful. I was right – it had a medium body. There was a slight sharpness, but it wasn’t harsh. Gabbiano Chianti had enough of a bite to make it interesting without being over-powering. There is a slight aftertaste – this lingering flavour is just enough to make the the wine memorable. I hate weak wines that go down like fruit juice.
Chianti is a blend of wines, with at least 70% coming from the Sangiovese grape, and 10% canaioli. The remaining portion can be from a wide varieties of grapes. This particular blend had Colorino as the third grape. Recently the Chianti regulations changed, which allows for 100% Sangiovese grape. This creates a very rich, and expensive wine.
Overall, Gabbiano Chianti is a medium wine that may be a little too vibrant for non-wine drinkers, and too pale for those who like a nice kick to their grape juice. I would recommend for a dinner party, as it’s a nice compromise. It’s also a great wine to enjoy on your own when you’re slightly distracted, like say
running around the kitchen like a mad-woman cooking.
I liked this wine, and am very interested in exploring more Chiantis. I would buy this again, and I would serve this to company and bring it as a hostess gift. However, there are several wines that I like more than Gabbiano Chianti. So while I would buy it again, there are other bottles that I will pick up before this makes it into my LCBO cart.