Central Bistro's Andrea Volpi Offers Tips on Cooking with Wine

You've probably seen the meme about wine and cooking: "I tried cooking with wine for the first time last night. After 5 glasses, I forgot why I was in the kitchen."

Even if this is you, have no fear.

General "cooking with wine" rules including things like "don't use cheap wine," or use a dry white wine if your recipe uses sugary vegetables like onions, carrots and tomatoes. Got it. But what do you actually make with wine? Lucky us: Andrea Volpi from Central Bistro was kind enough to share some wine based recipes with Chow Bella and answer some questions, too.

See also: - Andrea Volpi's Pappardella Bolognese

CB: What type of wine do you use for the drunk bread and where can you find it? AV: The wine we use for our Drunk Bread is Chablis, but you can use any dry white wine you have on hand. (Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc are good choices.)   CB: What are the top three tips for cooking with wine?   AV: When making a sauce with wine, make sure that all the alcohol is cooked out. You want the flavors of the wine in the dish, not the alcohol content. (The drunk bread is an exception. It's not a sauce and wouldn't be "drunk bread" without the alcohol!)

Always use a wine that you would drink yourself. If you wouldn't drink it normally, it's not worth cooking with. Of course, don't use an excellent bottle of wine you would rather drink, but if you have a glass of Chardonnay left over after dinner, cork it and use it in Alfredo sauce the next day! 

Also, unlike hard liquor, make sure you don't let the wine flame. This will give the sauce a bitter metallic taste. All the flames you see on TV are for show!

CB: How to decide what wine to pair with something made with wine? AV: One looks for a complimentary flavor profile and similar characteristics. If you use a wine for cooking, it is perfectly acceptable to drink the same bottle with the meal!

CB: Can you suggest a few wines that pair nicely with the drunk bread? AV: Burgans Albarino or Domaine Roux Pere et Fils Macon Villages...or really anything that makes you happy!   Here are two wine-based recipes from Volpi: Red Wine Vinaigrette

Makes about 16oz   1 oz shallots, minced ½ oz dijon mustard 6 oz extra virgin olive oil 6 oz canola or blended olive oil (You can substitute either oil out for each other, the extra virgin olive oil will give the vinaigrette a deeper flavor where the blended oil will lighten it up a bit. We use half extra virgin and half 75/25 blend for the perfect combination.) ¼ oz granulated sugar 4 oz red wine vinegar ¼ oz fresh basil salt and pepper to taste (a small pinch or two of each should be sufficient)   Mince shallots Chiffonade basil Using a blender, combine shallots, basil, vinegar, sugar and Dijon. Slowly drizzle in oil until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper. Should last about 7 days if refrigerated.   Drunk Bread

1 serving   1 slice of day-old crusty bread (ciabatta, batard, any good artisianal bread really) cut about 1.5 inches thick. 1 clove of garlic 3oz grated fontina cheese 3oz grated gruyere cheese 2oz Chablis or other dry white wine 1oz alfredo sauce - homemade or store bought is fine   Rub clove of garlic on the top of the bread to get the flavor of the garlic infused with the bread, the more you rub, the more garlic flavor you will get. Place bread in an oven safe dish and spread alfredo sauce on top. Evenly distribute cheese on top of the bread, and a little around the sides if you like crispy cheese, we do! Pour wine over bread and cheese and put under a broiler until the cheese is bubbly and starts to brown!

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Kate Crowley
Contact: Kate Crowley