Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Wine Club ... Mario Batali's Italian Grill

As followers of this blog may recall, we have hosted two wine dinners.  The first one was in November of last year, in which we prepared dishes from Frank Stitt's Bottega.  The second one was back in March of this year, when we prepared a four course dinner featuring Haitian cuisine

It is time again for Clare and me to host another wine dinner. Given it is August, and in light of our desire to enjoy the summer while it lasts, we decided that the grill should be the focus of this wine dinner.  Clare suggested that we should make some dishes from Mario Batali's Italian Grill.  Given how much we both enjoy Mario's food, that sounded like a great idea.  

The general rules for hosting a wine dinner are fairly simple.  The host couple prepares the meal within a certain budget.  Our previous dinners featured four courses, generally an appetizer, soup or salad, entree and dessert.  For this meal, we decided to do three courses, which would allow us to focus more on each course.

The First Course ... Portobellos with Arugula and Parmigiano.  Mario writes that this was one of the first dishes that he put on his menu at his restaurant Po, so it seems natural to begin the dinner with it.  The large portobello mushroom caps are grilled, topped with a vinegar and oil dressing with the arugula placed on top. 

The Second Course ... Chicken Thighs with Snap Peas and Agliata.  This dish features chicken thighs coated with a garlicky bread crumb mixture that are cooked slowly over the cooler part of the grill.  According to Mario, the result is juicy meat with a toasted herb crust.  The chicken thighs are served over snap peas. 

The Third Course ...  Grilled Peaches in Primitivo.  While Mario has a lot of great recipes in Italian Grill, he does not have any recipes for a dessert using the grill.  So, we decided to take one of Mario's recipes from another cookbook (Molto Mario).   The dessert is Peaches in Primativo.  Our twist is to grill the peaches before we add them to the Primitivo syrup.  

Of course, all of this is subject to change given the availability of ingredients.  Still, we are both excited about being able to close out the summer wine club dinners with an evening by Mario Batali's grill.  Until then ...


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