Tonnato Sauce from Piemonte

Lori and I first had the pleasure of tasting Tonnato sauce when travelling in Piedmont, Italy. It’s tuna and lemon based, with anchovy and caper flavors, nice on boiled eggs as an appetizer or on cold chicken, turkey, veal or pork. Traditionally the meat would be poached, but cook it any way you want and let it cool…especially nice on a warm (or hot) day. Tonnato sauce also is great for dipping raw vegetables.


Tonnato Sauce


1 4-oz can of oil packed tuna (not drained)

4 teaspoons of capers (drained)

1 tsp of anchovy paste (or 3 fillets)

3 teaspoons of lemon juice

½ cup of extra virgin olive oil

2-3 tablespoons of water (white wine, broth or other liquid)

Salt and pepper


Put the tuna, capers, anchovy paste, lemon juice (if using), and ½ teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a food processor and puree for about 11/2 minutes until very smooth. Slowly pour the olive oil into the feed tube with the motor running and then the same with the other liquid until the sauce in thick (put pourable). Cool for at least an hour in the fridge. As an appetizer, hard-boil 6 eggs, chop them up and add them to the above recipe.


Wine Pairings: A Jacquere (yes, that’s the grape) from Savoie, Fr., was an excellent pairing with the tonnato sauce on boiled egg. Jacquere is a crisp white so, for instance, sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio (etc.) will pair well. Even a soft white like Chenin Blanc or Ribolla Gialla will go well. With a cold protein (see above), a rose on the full-bodied side (a rose of Pinot Noir worked well for us), or any red with minimal tannins.

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Fagioli with Lamb and Prunes

Fagioli with Lamb and Prunes

This recipe is a relatively easy version of one that evolved from several recipes. It has two components prepared separately (beans and lamb), which are then combined to finish the dish. The prunes are a key ingredient, with related notes in many Italian wines, such as Brunello, Sagrantino and Amarone.


  • 1.5 lbs of dried white beans
  • 2 quarts of water
  • 1 quart of beef broth
  • 1 whole onion
  • Bouquet garni (4 parsley sprigs, 1 bay leaf, 1 garlic clove in a cheesecloth
  • 1.5 lbs of ground lamb shoulder
  • 1 cup of chopped onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup of chopped parsley
  • 1/2 bottle of dry red wine
  • 2 teaspoons of thyme
  • 8 oz of chopped prunes
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Rinse the beans thoroughly, put them in a large pot and add three quarts of water. Bring to a boil, remove from the heat and let stand for one hour (alternatively, let the beans soak overnight).
  2. Add the beef broth, whole onion, bouquet garni, 2/3 teaspoon of thyme and bring to a boil. Skim off any scum that forms on the surface. Simmer for about one hour until the beans are barely tender but not done (they will be cooked more at the end).
  3. Discard the bouquet and onion, drain the beans, keeping the cooking fluid for later.
  4. In a large skillet heated to medium high, brown the lamb in batches.
  5. Once the lamb is done and set aside, place the chopped onions in the pan and sauté for a few minutes, add the garlic and sauté for another minute. Add the parsley, ¾ of a teaspoon of thyme and the wine. Put the lamb back in the pan, add the prunes, cover and simmer over low heat for twenty minutes. Salt and pepper as needed.
  6. In a large Casserole dish, mix the beans and the mélange from the pan (from step 5).
  7. Add liquid from the beans, up to the top of the mixture. It’s now ready for the final stage, but can be refrigerated for later.
  8. Bake, covered, in the oven at 350oF for an hour (more if it’s coming from the refrigerator) and, if it seems dry, add more of the liquid from the beans.
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Recipe : Marc Miron’s Split Pea Soup – Soupe au Pois aux Canada aka Habitant Soup (with mods)

Lori made this for a Saturday Pairing and it was great….Ray says the best Split Pea Soup ever! The Ham Stock makes a big difference! The pairing was a Cotes-du-Rhone, which went very well, but all the flavors in the soup make it a nice pairing with soft whites (the Posip, from Croatia was excellent) or fresh red wines (such as a dolcetto).

Split Pea SoupMakes: 3-4 servings
Preparation time: about 40 minutes (if ham stock is already prepared)

  • ½ # dried yellow split peas
  • Half a small white onion, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 1 small carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) canola oil
  • 5 cups ham stock (see recipe below)
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 1 cup ham hock meat (from recipe below)
  • 1-2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Check peas for small stones and discard discoloured ones.
  2.  In a heavy soup pot, sweat the diced onion, celery and carrots in the canola oil.
  3. Add ham stock and dried peas, bring to a boil, then simmer, skimming foam from the top to remove impurities, until vegetables and split peas are tender. Add the thyme and 1 Tbsp maple syrup.
  4. In a blender, purée half of the soup, then return mixture to the pot. Add the ham hock meat and adjust the seasoning. (When cooking split peas and lentils, wait until the dish is almost done before adding salt and pepper to taste.) Garnish soup with croutons and a sprig of fresh thyme if desired.

Ham Stock Makes: about 5 cups
Preparation time: about 2 hours

1 large or 2 small smoked ham hocks
1 cup (250 mL) diced carrots
1 cup (250 mL) diced celery
1 cup (250 mL) diced onion
About 12 cups (3 L) cold water
10 sprigs fresh thyme
4 bay leaves 10 sprigs Italian flat parsley
15 whole black peppercorns

1. In a large stock pot, place ham hocks, carrots, celery, onion and cold water (adding more cold water if needed to cover.)
2. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a slow simmer. Skim foam off the top to remove any impurities.
3. Add the thyme, bay leaves, parsley and peppercorns. Simmer for 1½ hours, skimming from time to time.
4. Drain stock through a colander, discarding vegetables but setting the ham hocks aside to cool. Cool and refrigerate the stock. Once the ham hocks are cool enough to handle but still warm, clean the meat from the bones, discarding the fatty and skin parts. Chop the meat into bite-size pieces and store in the fridge or freezer until needed.


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Tomato, Peppers & Onion Galette


PAIRING: A smooth and easy drinking Merlot paired nicely with this Galette. Because of the richness from the crust and caramelized vegetables, the Galette will pair well with many full flavored wines. Smooth red, rich white and dry sparkling wines are fine candidates. The Galette recipe can be modified to have other fillings, which might benefit from different pairings. For instance, a meat filling, with greater fat content, would work well with bold reds like Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings


For the Dough:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1½ sticks unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • ¾ cup ice-cold water

For the Tomato Jam:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 2 medium (10 ounces) tomatoes, diced.  If not tomato season, use plum.
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (or a good citrus vinegar if you are out of lemon juice)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the Peppers:

  • 2 peppers yellow, orange, and/or green deseeded sliced thinly
  • 1 onion, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • 3 TBSP olive oil


For the Galette:

  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan
  • Tomato jam
  • 1½ pounds tomatoes, sliced ¼-inch thick
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 TBSP (2 ounces) blue cheese, crumbled in large chunks
  • 2 TBSP (2 ounces), goat cheese crumbled
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Flaky sea salt, for garnish
  • Thyme, mint and basil leaves, for garnish


  1. Set the oven to 375°F. Mix the pepper strips and onion wedges on a baking sheet with thyme sprigs and 2 tbsp oil. Roast for 30 mins, stirring occasionally, until they’re softened.
  2. Make the dough: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and sugar. Using your fingers, work the butter into the flour mixture until pea-sized pieces form. Add the water and continue to knead until a dough forms. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, make the tomato jam: In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the tomato paste and cook until caramelized, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the remaining tomato jam ingredients and cook until the tomatoes have broken down and reduced to ½ cup, 13 to 15 minutes. Using an immersion blender, purée the tomatoes into a thick purée, then let cool completely.
  4. Make the galette: Preheat the oven to 375º. Roll out the dough into an 18-inch circle, ⅙-inch thick. Transfer the dough over to a sheet of parchment paper and sprinkle the Parm over the center of the crust. Spread the tomato jam to form a thin layer on the dough, leaving a two-inch outer border clear. Arrange the tomato slices, peppers & onions over the tomato jam and season with salt and pepper, then dot with the blue cheese and goat cheese.
  5. Fold the outer ½-inch of dough over itself to form an even lip around the galette, then begin to fold the dough over the tomatoes, forming a series of pleats. Brush the outside crust liberally with the beaten egg.
  6. Bake until the galette is golden brown, 45 to 55 minutes. Let cool completely, then garnish with flaky sea salt and thyme, mint and basil leaves. Slice and serve.


Lori Schaefer 10/3/16

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Chimichurri Pecorino Toasts


chimiAbout the “recipe”: This was a big hit at a Saturday Pairing, with many requests for the recipe…so here it is. As usual, our cooking is based on an approach, without exact quantities; adjustments are made along the way. Chimichurri can be very acidic…this version attempts “balance”. Nevertheless, it has strong flavors and should be “paired” with other food. For example, in this pairing the saltiness of the pecorino adds zip and creaminess to the verdant greenness of the Chimichurri. Other possible uses for the Chimichurri are as toppings for grilled chicken, salmon or steak. The ingredients listed below makes lots of extra….reducing quantities by one-half will still serve 6-8.


Pairing: This paired beautifully with a red Zinfandel (Optima, from Dry Creek), juicy and full with spicy notes. The power and spice of the wine matched well with the strong flavors of the Chimichurri toasts, which were nicely balanced by the Pecorino.

Ingredients List

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 30 sprigs of fresh flat leaf parsley
  • Leaves from 10 sprigs of fresh oregano
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 3 chipolte peppers (from a can of chipoltes in adobo sauce)
  • ¾ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • Baguette
  • 2 cups shredded Pecorino (about 8 ounces)


  • Combine all but the last two ingredients in a food processor to a pesto-like thickness. Taste and adjust as you see fit….that’s how easy it is to make the Chimichurri.
  • The rest is for preparing the toasts:
    • Split the baguette in half lengthwise twice, and cross-wise to make pieces the size you want
    • Toast in toaster (or regular) oven until just turning brown.
    • Top the toast with the Perorino and toast until it begins to melt

Serve toasts with Chimichurri on the side for spooning on.




Ray Schaefer 9/25/16

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