Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Big Night Italian Dinner Extravaganza - 12 people, 5 courses, 12 bottles of wine, 51 eggs total!

The inspiration for Saturday's feast was the movie Big Night (1996) with Stanley Tucci and Tony Shalhoub. If you consider yourself a foodie and haven't yet seen it, add it to your queue immediately before anyone finds out that you're a Big Night virgin!

Due to the overwhelming number of requests for recipes from the movie, a cookbook (Cucina & Famiglia: Two Italian Families Share Their Stories, Recipes, And Traditions) based on the food in the movie was co-written by Tucci's mother and Gianni Scappin, the chef who was the consultant for the movie. The book also included Tucci and Scappin family recipes and a little history about each recipe - a true treasure for Italian food fans!

So inspired by Big Night and armed with Cucina & Famiglia, we embarked on quite an Italian journey.

First Course - Appetizers
  • Antipasto Platter - honeydew wrapped in prosciutto, marinated olives, grilled peppers and asparagus
  • Bruschetta with Gorgonzola, pecans, and drizzled honey
Wine Pairing
  • Cupcake Vineyards DOC Prosecco NV, Italy
Every single bite of the appetizers was like a little party in my mouth, and the Cupcake Vineyards Prosecco was a super-fantastic pairing! It was dry and very crisp - a nice wine to counterbalance both the sweet and salty aspects of the first course.

Second Course - Soup
  • Garlic Stracciatella
Wine Pairing
  • Mormoraia Vernaccia di San Gimignano 2008, Tuscany, Italy
This fun soup contains 30 cloves of garlic (actually, I think Saturday's soup consisted of 60 cloves!), and its name is derived from the Italian word "stracciato" which means "torn apart" or "stracciatelle" which means "little shreds." It's the Italian version of egg drop soup, and it is so delicious! It went perfectly with the wine, which was a little like muscat (but not sweet) and had a good amount of acid to cut through the flavors of the soup. Three of the eggs went into this soup.

This white Tuscan wine was great with the soup. I tasted a hint of muscat (but not sweet) and good acid.

Third Course - Salad
  • Roasted Tomato Caprese Salad
Wine Pairing
  • Bottego Vinaia Pinot Grigio 2009, Trentino, Italy
This Caprese salad was so yummy, especially with the intense flavors of the slow-roasted tomatoes and the sweet balsamic vinegar! The Pinot Grigio was dry with a slight hint of something reminding me of Chardonnay.

Fourth Course - Main Course
  • Timpano
Wine Pairing
  • La Valentina Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2007, Italy
  • Cantina Zaccagnini Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2007, Italy
  • Principi Corsini Chianti Classico Le Corti 2005, Italy
The pièce de résistance of the meal was the 28-egg timpano, which was created with handmade fresh pasta, homemade ragú sauce, Italian meatballs, 12 hardboiled eggs, Provolone cheese, Pecorino Romano cheese, all wrapped inside dough. The timpano took me two weeks to prepare, with help from some very dear friends. See the entire timpano-creating process here!

The first wine, La Valentina Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2007, tasted of dark fruit, was dry, and ended in flavors of wood and tobacco.

The second wine, Cantina Zaccagnini Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2007, was full of dark fruit, spice, and dry with a little tobacco on the end. See my other tasting notes on this vintage.

The third wine, Principi Corsini Chianti Classico Le Corti 2005, also tasted of dark fruit, had a hint of bitterness, was dry, and had a tart finish.

All of these wines went well with the timpano!

Fourth Course - Dessert
  • Tart Lemon Mascarpone Tart
Wine Pairing
  • La Castella DOC Prosecco NV, Italy
These two fantastic very tart tarts took 20 eggs and 6 sticks of butter to make! The wine pairing was a magnum of Italian Prosecco, which was bubbly, dry, and absolutely perfect with the tart!

After-Dinner Wines
  • Devil's Corner Pinot Noir 2008, Tasmania
  • Hoya de Cadenas Reserva Tempranillo 2006, Spain
We weren't quite finished with wine after dinner and dessert, so I pulled out two bottles of red that I really liked but that wouldn't be too heavy after the tart and Prosecco. See the tasting notes for the Devil's Corner Pinot Noir here, and for the Hoya de Cadenas Reserva Tempranillo 2006 here.

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