Tag Archives: VinoVersal

Perfect Pairings: Lamb Bolognese and an Italian Red

Ally IAlice D’Antoni Phillips,  author of  “Ally’s Kitchen, a passport of adventurous palates” has been on an inspiring journey. Her warm and engaging personality is just the tip of the iceberg, as she draws people in with her Boho charm, effervescence and culturally inspired recipes.

I am cooking from Ally’s book and recipe file this week and pairing the dishes with VinoVersal’s delicious Italian reds from the Salento region of Italy. It’s been a joy to work with Ally on this project and I am filled with gratitude at the gracious nature with which  she has given her time.

TableTalk NW InstagramI chose to prepare this recipe first, simply as a matter of timing. Jamie Peha of TableTalk Northwest had sent me an invitation to attend a lunch / demo of the American Lamb Board at Tom Douglas’ Hot Stove Society in Seattle. All of us in attendance worked in teams of two, to bone out a leg of lamb and we then divided the meat to take home. Lamb was on the menu and I had an entire cookbook full of recipes, courtesy of Ally.

This recipe feeds a hungry crew, with enough sauce for 8 and freezes beautifully. It’s thick, gorgeous in color and the aroma will you have impatient to taste it. I didn’t have any trouble pairing this with a wine as it holds up well to a great Italian red.

IMG_8050I have made a few changes to the recipe, as all of our palates are different. A few of the subtle changes were due to what was in stock in my pantry, in my garden and what was available at the market, Spooner Farms, where I did a bulk of the shopping for this lovely dish.

The recipe calls for Italian Seasoning and it’s not something I keep. I have dried oregano and marjoram in my pantry and fresh basil, rosemary, thyme and sage in my herb garden.

Red chili flakes are not in my cupboard, so I improvised. I used 1/6 of a cup extra virgin olive oil and 1/6 of a cup extra virgin olive oil infused with red pepper. ( 1/3 cup total ) When flavor testing, I added just a bit more of the infused oil, to taste. See the photo journey below!! 

Lamb Bolognese

  • Difficulty: moderate
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FullSizeRender (8)Ingredients

  • 1 cup carrots, chopped
  • 1 cup sweet onions, cut in chunks
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon course ground pepper
  • 1/6 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/6 cup extra virgin olive oil, infused with red pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground meat, 1 pound lamb & 1/2 pound beef (any combination)
  • 1/3 cup genoa salami, diced
  • 1 jar ( 25 ounce ) marinara sauce, plus 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 medium fresh basil leaves, chopped small
  • Fresh rosemary and thyme to taste
  • 1 can ( 12 ounce ) tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano

For Garnish:

  • Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Fresh Basil, sliced or whole. Your choice.


  1. Add carrots, onions, garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil to a food processor and grind into a paste-like consistency.
  2. In a large pot, over medium heat, add ground mixture and saute for about 5 minutes. Add meat and brown for additional 5 to 7 minutes. Add salami, blend well.
  3. Add marina sauce and add two cups of water to the empty jar. Swish, swirl and empty in to your pot. Add dried and fresh herbs, tomato paste and stir well. Bring to a good simmer, and continue for about 20 minutes, stirring often.
  4. Reduce heat, cover with lid and cook for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add Parmigiano Reggiano blend in, reduce heat to low and simmer until ready to serve.



PrimiusPairing: I have paired this sauce with Primius Primitivo Di Manduria 2013. The smell is typical of Primitivo, with ripe cherries and confectionary as the dominant impression.  The taste is in exemplary balance and fills of the mouth refreshingly.  It has been in barrels for six months.  The color is medium.  Pairs with roasted meats, green salad and good pasta. Information:  100% Primitivo Serve:  68-70 F.  Should be decanted 1-2 hours before serving.  Drink now until 2019  Ordering information:  VinoVersal.com

Hover over the photo for a brief description.


You can find Ally’s original recipe here.




Filippo Trapella’s Pollo alla cacciatora

The flavors of Italy vary greatly. Each region places it’s own signature on the cuisine and these differences are influenced by many factors. Location, history, customs of other cultures, weather and of course seasonal foods. I am on a quest to discover Italy.

The dish I have chosen today is Pollo alla cacciatora. A simple, traditional dish with a few nuances in nearly all regions of Italy.

It has an intense tomato and red wine sauce that is flavored with fragrant rosemary and juniper.  ~ Filippo Trapella

To make this sauce “extra” bold, Filippo Trapella suggests braising the meat with red wine.

Pollo alla cacciatora

  • Difficulty: Moderate
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pollo alla cacciatoraIngredients

  • 1 chicken, skin-on, jointed
  • 1 white onion, sliced into thin half-rings
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 500ml of passata, a little over 2 cups
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste, triple-concentrated
  • 1 glass of red wine, 270ml,  a little over a cup
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 juniper berries, crushed
  • black pepper
  • salt


  1. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to a stainless steel or enamel pan, over medium heat. Pan-fry chicken in batches, browning all over. Set aside and cover.
  2. Pour red wine in pan and deglaze, scraping meat from bottom of pan. Simmer 5 minutes and set reduction aside.
  3. Add remaining oil to hot pan, fry onion, juniper berries and rosemary until onions are translucent.
  4. Add chicken and tomato paste to pan and cook for 5 minutes over medium heat.
  5. Increase heat, add red wine reduction, cooking for additional 5 minutes and stir in pasta.
  6. Cover and gently stew  over low heat, 1 hour.
  7. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.

Serve with a thick crusty bread, white rice or polenta. We are pairing this delicious pasta dish with Tenuta Boncore Negroamaro 2013

Recipe: Great Italian Chefs

My quest to discover Italy goes deeper than just cuisine. I am currently sampling wines from the winegrowing region of Salento and the recipe above is chosen based on Southern Italian foods. Wines from the prevalent local grape Negroamara are characterized by lovely fruity aromas, full body, round tannins and great balance.

I have been inspired to explore regional cuisines of the world by a wine club I have joined, VinoVersal.com I will spend two more weeks exploring Southern Italian foods and  will visit different cities and work with local chefs to create authentic, regional cuisine to nibble on while sampling the wines of Salento, Italy. I would love to have you join me!

As we move deeper in to June we  will embark on a new “journey”and taste wines from a different country. If you would like us to visit your city, please leave your comments below!