For some people, the very concept of doing anything other than drinking a bottle of Italian wine is sacrilege. To them, wine is always a complement to a dish rather than a part of it.
But we’re sure you’re a little more open-minded. And the chefs among you will tell you that wine makes for an excellent ingredient, assuming you use it correctly. In fact, a little dash of Italian wine can really make the right recipe pop.
And of course, you can still drink a glass of wine to complement the dish when it’s done.
If you’re a long-time reader of this blog, you’ll know that we’ve shared a few wine-based recipes before.
In this article, we’re going to take a more general view. Here are some of the best dishes that you can create using that spare bottle of Italian wine.
Dish #1 – Wine-Braised Brisket
The humble brisket is already a tasty dish on its own. It’s a feast of meaty pleasure that melts in your mouth from the moment you take your first bite.
Some would have you believe that a brisket is rich enough without the help of any added ingredients. We say that those people have never tried a brisket that’s been braised with Italian wine.
The key here is that you leave a brisket to sit for a while after preparing it. That means the red wine braise that you use has plenty of time to really sink into the meat and add some interesting flavours to it. And when you’re ready to serve, the “skin” that the braise leaves just peels right off.
You get all of the flavour with none of the weird textures that can come from a braise.
Dish #2 – Coq au Vin
You knew that it would have to appear somewhere on this list. Coq au Vin is a French dish that finds its way onto many a restaurant menu. Don’t let that fool you into thinking that it’s easy to prepare though. While the ingredients list isn’t exactly huge, it takes a lot of talent to pull off a true Coq au Vin.
And it will. But there’s also nothing stopping you from using an Italian red wine. In fact, a little bit of experimentation could help you to unlock some brand new flavours.
Much like with a brisket, this is another dish that benefits from being left a while after cooking. Consider preparing it the day before you actually serve it. This gives the red wine sauce some time to really soak into the meat so that it tastes even better later on.
Of course, there’s nothing stopping you from eating it straight away. But we think that you don’t quite get all of the benefits of the sauce that way.
Dish #3 – Red Wine Vinegar
Okay, you got us.
This isn’t technically a dish that you’re going to serve up at dinner time. But a red wine vinegar will give you something that you get to enjoy over a long period of time with several dishes.
And the best thing about it is that it’s super simple to make. All you need is a bottle of Italian red wine and some time.
Well… that and a piece of mother. If you don’t know what that is, just head to your local wine or beer-making store. They’ll be able to point you in the right direction.
Pop the mother into a wide glass container and add the bottle of wine with a couple of cups of water. Pop some cheesecloth over the top and store the container somewhere that’s cool and dry.
Over the next few weeks, add any leftover bits of red wine into the mix. You should notice that the mixture ends up smelling like vinegar after about a month or so. When that happens, pour the liquid, without the mother, into some glass containers. Give it a little more time to age and you have a gorgeous vinegar that tastes better than anything you’ll find on store shelves.
You may need to pasteurise it to stop a new mother from forming though. But that’s just a case of adding it to a pot, diluting it with 25% water, heating to 155 degrees Celsius, and leaving it for about half an hour.
Dish #4 – Linguine With Red Wine Bolognese
Let’s shift our attention to something that’s as Italian as you can get.
Linguine is a gorgeous pasta dish that every Italian family adores. And it’s also really simple to make. Just prepare the pasta as you normally would.
While that’s going on, dice some tomatoes and create some spiced beef meatballs. Pour some red wine into a pot and bring it to the boil. Add the ingredients and leave them to simmer while you prepare the pasta.
After a little bit of time, your red wine’s going to soak into the ingredients. When you finally use them to top the pasta, you’re going to have a dish that’s a true representation of the best in Italian wine-based cuisine.
Dish #5 – Chocolate Cake With a Red Wine Glaze
We need a little bit of dessert to round this list out. And we can think of nothing better than a gorgeous and rich chocolate cake topped with an Italian red wine glaze.
Now, you want to go for milk or dark chocolate here. We’d lean towards dark simple because the interesting flavours add a completely new dimension to the dish. Plus, the higher volume of cocoa in dark chocolate makes it a little healthier…at least when compared to the milk variety.
Making the glaze is as simple as combining some chopped chocolate, powdered sugar, and unsalted butter. Whisk it all together while bringing some red wine to the boil. Pour the wine into the mixture, keep whisking, and you have a gorgeous glaze.