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!