Friday, July 22, 2011

#209 - Orecchiette & Lentils With 2010 De Falco Falanghina

Shorter one day as yesterday's prodigious length burned up any useful part of my brain.

Last night's meal wasn't better than bison flank, risotto and Duorum but if you caught us in the right mood, or the bison meal caught us in a crabby one and this one in a friendly, "the world's so nice!" one, orecchiette and lentils with falanghina might have won.

In short, it was close, and closer than we expected.

Probably because it's a Lidia Bastianich recipe that fills you up while leaving you feeling so, so clean.  She does that.

And it was meatless...except for a bit of ham dust.

Food:  Orecchiette and lentils

A modification (s) from Lidia's recipe, substituting orecchiette for rigatoni.  I got a thing with how the orecchiette's little cups catch more sauce.  Less messy and you get more of the good stuff.

Simmered down carrots, celery, bay leaves and lentils, sizzled garlic followed by red pepper flakes and tomatoes in a skillet and then combined.  Seasoned with salt, a touch of white wine and then reduced for about a half-hour.  Orecchiette cooked and then combined with the lentil-tomato goodness, serrano ham dust added and finished with the rest of the São Jorge cheese instead of pecorino and plenty of parsley.

Sounds simple but it's simply delicious stuff, all Italian in the way it gets into your cheeks, leaving you wanting more very soon.  I thought about my next bite as I was chewing, tasting like great mountain village food.

Wine:  2010 De Falco Falanghina Beneventano IGT ($14 - WDC)

The winery is actually in Vesuvius National Park, this offering is organically produced and aged on its lees, bringing a richness that I now will probably want from the rest of the falanghina I have from this point forward.  Always liked it well enough but the ones I've had never separated itself from the Grecos and Fianos of Southern Italy for me.

Large, rich mouthfeel with the lees richness evident right away, mixing well with a serious citrus fruit basket and plenty of salt.  Medium acid, something I didn't expect from a falanghina as many use acid to create their defining characteristic.  A darker, yeasty component on the mid-palate that transitioned beautifully to a salty, lemon-lime rind and a touch of green herbs finish.

A bit like a Robert Altman movie with a flurry of overlapping voices but hit us exactly right.  It's big-boy falanghina that tastes, in ways, like older Muscadet with a wider spectrum of citrus offered.  We're buying more, probably as I type this.

Pairing:  92  Enough braiding with the food to enjoy each separately and together

Coming off a big bison-Portugal meal, the lightness and whiteness of this one tasted correct and appropriate.  Sometimes, the order of meals give them a head-start in the realm of loving it (plus, it was five billion degrees yesterday).

Almost went with a Berger Grüner Veltliner because of how good it is with lentils but we're glad we didn't.  Nothing in the pairing excelled to a superlative level, just another example of two elements playing well together.  The wine offered a different, low-key, more citrus-inspired, lifty acid than what was offered by the tomatoes, making for something pleasing as a matchy baseline in the pairing along with some minimal herb play that was welcome.

We'd do it again and we'd love it.

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