I rarely follow a recipe when I cook, it’s a testament to what my mother has taught me in the kitchen; to be resourceful and creative! I like to read cook books, look up recipes online (WineAccess has recipes and pairings), and then combine all the A-list ideas into my own creation.
This is how I made the best lasagna I have ever eaten! (Yes, I am bragging a little) Everyone knows how to make a standard lasagna, and it is fairly easy to spice-up and re-invent. Here is what I did to create the best lasagna EVER:
- After the pasta has been boiled, rinsed in cold water and patted dry; toss in olive oil
- Use half ground beef and half Italian sausage (removed from casing) for the meat-tomato sauce layer
- Blend 2 chipotle peppers with some adobo sauce and add to the tomato sauce mixture (and 1 cup of red wine)
- I made one layer of mushrooms in a heavy cream sauce with loads of garlic (and 1/4 cup white wine)
The only negative to this recipe (and most lasagnas) is the amount of dishes; but after 45 min at 350, dishes were done and I was ready to eat!
You might be wondering what wine to pour with this caloric feast? Lasagna is very friendly with wine, a versatile dish that will pair well with several varietals, from many regions and all for different reasons. A simple pairing formula to follow: your wine should either compare or contrast to your meal’s weight, texture, or flavour. Here are a few favourites from the WineCollective archive, that I think are matches made in lasagna heaven.
The spice from the Italian sausage and chipotles are paired well with the peppery nature of Shiraz or boldness of a Spanish Monastrell.
“There is some signature Spanish earthiness and spice on the mid-palate before the wine ends on some fairly rounded tannins. This wine is not a casual sipper, it is a huge food wine. Pair with BBQ, big red meat or something equally hearty such as pasta in a tomato sauce.” -WineCollective Staff
Match the creamy texture and richness of the cheese and garlic cream sauce with a slightly oaked and acidic Chardonnay.
“… surprisingly crisp with a very good acidity profile. The oak and vanilla notes are there but take a backseat to lemon or grapefruit citrus notes, which are complimented by stone fruit such as apricot and perhaps nectarine.” -WineCollective Staff
The weight fullness of pasta won’t be overshadowed by an equally big wine like a Napa Cabernet Sauvignon.
Castello Sonnino Galterra 2007
However, when in doubt, go Italian! The high acidity of the tomato sauce pairs best with a well-balanced, acidic Sangiovese or Chianti.
“Galterra is made from a blend of 65% Sangiovese and 35% Merlot, to give an intense dark ruby-coloured wine with a spicy nose and hints of licorice and black pepper… a very versatile wine to pair with food and complements almost anything with tomato-based sauces, red wine sauces, ratatouille, mushrooms and bell peppers, eggplant dishes, spicy sausages such as pepperoni pizza…” –Linda Garson, Calgary Wine Examiner
All wines shown can be found at Willow Park Wines & Spirits!