By Bob Lipinski
Years ago, while enduring being “snowed-in” for several days, after one of the northeast’s heavy storms, I wondered what I was going to make for dinner. My driveway was under two feet of snow and even if I could shovel out, the roads were not yet plowed. Thankfully, I had plenty of wine in the rack!
My stomach was growling… it was refrigerator and pantry time. After surveying the refrigerator, I spied a 5-pound package of baby carrots (perfect for juicing), a wilting head each of dill and parsley, along with the usual suspects most refrigerators stock. I was in the mood for some pasta, so my mind came up with a recipe. Let’s see!
Pasta al dente has texture; carrots are sweet (when cooked at high heat). I chopped up some garlic for a spicy pungency (actually, I put garlic in everything I cook… including eggs); then my mind was in full force. Ginger for a pungent, spicy, and zesty flavor, and I needed some acidity (lemon juice). Black oil-cured olives for that earthy, woodsy flavor; dill to add aromatic, sweet and citrusy notes, and hot pepper (like garlic… it goes on everything I cook) and for a toasty, smoky flavor, toasted pignoli (pine nuts for you non-Italians). I put everything together (see the recipe below) and have made this dish… oh probably 50 times and each time it gets better!
Now for the wine. Don’t go crazy with some expensive Cabernet or your favorite Pinot Noir. Nope! A bottle of Valpolicella, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Rioja Crianza, Shiraz (Australia), or even a bottle of Zinfandel (yes, the red type) works for me.
1-pound farfalle (fahr-FAHL-leh) cooked al dente— (ahl DEHN-teh)
1-pound baby carrots, washed and cut lengthwise in half (shredded carrots can be substituted)
8 cloves garlic, chopped coarse
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, chopped coarse
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 2 lemons
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper
3 dozen black oil-cured olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons fresh parsley (or cilantro), chopped coarse
1/2 cup fresh dill, chopped coarse
1/2 teaspoon crushed hot red pepper
1 cup chicken broth, heated
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
Place carrots, garlic, ginger, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper into a shallow ovenproof dish and place into a pre-heated 425°F oven. Cook for 25 minutes stirring occasionally, making certain the carrots and garlic do not burn. Then add remaining ingredients (except chicken broth and pine nuts) and cook an additional 10 minutes until the carrots are golden.
Mix thoroughly with the pasta, add chicken broth, pine nuts, and mix again; then serve immediately. You can sprinkle some grated cheese over it, if desired.
There you have it!
Bob Lipinski is the author of 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need To Know About Whiskey” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com). He conducts training seminars on Wine, Spirits, and Food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com OR email@example.com