Monday, February 13, 2006

An Offer They Can't Refuse!

Last Sunday, a goodly portion of American folk spent their day noshing on chips and dips, as they cheered on their favourite team to victory, surrounded by like-minded family and friends.

In this household, not so much. We had an anti-super bowl party.

The plan was to spend the day listening to Italian opera, as we prepared all the necessary components of the glorious timpano di maccheronni. Once safely in the oven cooking way, our friends would be welcomed into our home with drinks in one hand, a nibble in the other. In the background, the television would be playing The Godfather series- in Italian, of course.

DucCat woke up that morning, and went directly to the kitchen, forming and cooking the meatballs, and crafting a fine, pungent meat sauce. Shortly after that, as fate would have it, our guests began phoning in to cancel, with many sad apologies.

Before long, we were faced with only having two guests that evening. Much as I love them, I didn't want to go through the whole timpano drama for only two. The mythic pasta dome quickly became a legendary pasta casserole.

I boiled a pound of penne to the barely 'there' side of being done. Once properly strained from the water, it was mixed with the meat sauce and chunks of fresh mozzarella, and poured into a casserole dish. DucCat halved the meatballs and studded them liberally throughout the mixture. The final touch was a layer of prosciutto at the very top, all the better to crisp, m'dear.

Once ensconced in a 400-degree oven, it was time to drink a little wine. I'd chosen two from the area that we'll be visiting in the fall, the first of which was a Soave Corte Giara 2003.

It quickly became apparent this had been a very poor choice. The nose was astringent and tart, while the wine itself tasted grassy, with unpleasant notes of lemon and fetid flowers. One sip was all it took to send this bottle down the drain.

Luckily, there was still the house white to fall back upon, before moving onto something red.

The second of my choices was the Brunello di Montalcino 1999 Casisano Colombaio. An intense looking wine, the nose offered up steeped, intense cherry and leather. Ultimately, it proved to be fiercely tannic on the tongue, so much so that we decided to forego that bottle just for the time being. Sadly, I left it uncorked over night, and we weren't able to go back and taste for another taste. Definitely not a wine for sipping before the meal. Speaking of, lets get back to that.

After close to an hour, this behemoth emerged from the oven, tomatoes bubbling with cheese and sausage. The prosciutto had crisped up nicely, although they leaked a fair amount of fat into the casserole. While it looked impressive with the whole pieces, I'd chop these up into mouth-sized morsels in the future.

We sat down to dinner, opening a wine our guests had brought: a Bardolino Le Banche San Lorenzo 2003. The wine was well-balanced between bright cherry and earthen undertones, and accompanied the meal almost as well as Senore Corleone. Buon appetito!

Click here for instructions on the meatballs and meat sauce.


Anonymous keiko said...

Hi s'kat - this looks so yummy, I must say I've watched Godfather so many times...

February 13, 2006 7:28 PM  
Blogger s'kat said...

Thanks, keiko! It was my first experience finally watching it from beginning to end.

February 21, 2006 3:30 PM  

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