~ Ancient Cellars at Sartori ~


Food and wine are inextricably linked in Italian culture and so too here at TuscanVines; for it was that marriage, that cultural underpinning that is an absolute certainty, that helped give birth to this website.
Recently I’ve been trying to use dried beans more often and while easy enough to do, it takes some planning as the beans need to be soaked for at least 8 hours.  Overnight is the normal rule, though with some smaller beans, that can be too long.  I have found good results soaking them early in the morning before I go to work and cooking them that night.  
We’ve also been having 1-2 meatless meals per week and the beans have been a versatile component in many of these dishes; a recent favorite of the family documented below. 
Shrimp with Beans & Vegetables
2 cups dry beans, soaked 8 hours, rinsed and then simmered for 45 minutes
18 frozen shrimp, cleaned and raw
1 head broccoli rabe, chopped
2 sweet bell peppers, diced
1 sweet onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
The beauty to this recipe is that you can essentially substitute any vegetable you like. I’ve made this with baby arugula and baby spinach to similar raves.  


~ Chopped Broccoli Rabe & Fresh Bell Peppers ~


Blanche the broccoli rabe and drain.  Saute the garlic and onions in a heavy bottomed saute pan until the onion begins to soften, about 5 minutes over medium heat.  Add the peppers and the broccoli rabe and continue to cook another 3-5 minutes until the peppers begin to soften.   Add the beans and stir through.  It may be slightly dry at this point.  If so, add a few pats of butter and/or olive oil and check for seasoning. 


~ Bright colors and crisp flavors – waiting to add the Shrimp ~
Saute your shrimp in a separate non-stick frying pan with a little butter, some salt, and some pepper.  I do them separately because they cook quicker and more evenly when not mixed in with the rest of the ingredients.  Once cooked, dump the entire thing into the large skillet.  Stir to combine. 


~ The Chef’s Plate: Simple, Meatless, Healthy and very flavorful ~


I’ve always kind of scoffed at the notion of “real” versus canned beans.  Using dry beans is a bit of a pain in the ass. It takes some timing, planning and patience but it’s not hard.  I don’t think the end product is drastically different, but the dry beans do have a “meatier” feel to them; they’re more toothsome.  
With this dish, I chose a unique wine from the Veneto.  The 2011 Sartori Ferdi; a white wine that is 100% Garganega and produce by the same method with which the more noted Amarone wines are crafted. It’s unique.  It was the perfect foil for this meal.  
In the glass, the wine was a medium golden color.  Crisp, precise aromas of white peach, stones and minerals and a touch of crushed pineapple are prevalent.  On the palate, the wine is medium to full in body, with a wonderfully fresh yet voluptuous viscosity to its texture. Flavors mirror the nose, and a subtle touch of toast and white pepper is noted on the finish.  Ferdi is hand harvested from select hillside vineyards outside of Verona.  The wine is aged in a combination of oak cask and stainless steel only after the grapes are dried for 40 days before pressing.  Mirroring the Amarone tradition, the wine spends 6+ months resting on it’s lees before bottling.  91 points, an astonishing deal at about $15.  Another wonderful effort from noted winemaker Franco Bernabei.  Disclosure:  This bottle was a producer provided sample.


~ Ferdi is unique and given it’s complexity and method of production, it’s a great value ~

Cibo e Vino!

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