Last week I wrote about drinking wine while cooking, so it seems like now is a good time to share some of the recipes I mentioned! Besides, it’s been raining in Atlanta for a week and rainy days and cooking go together like, well, rainy days and wine!
Red wine is absolutely perfect for pasta sauces and stews, but did you know it also makes for a wonderful reduction sauce that can be used on other dishes? You can make a tangy red wine reduction for salad dressings or roasted vegetables, but with just a little tweak you can make a sweeter sauce that’s fabulous drizzled over cheesecake, ice cream or fruit – let your imagination be your guide.
Because I love everything about making my own pasta sauce, I’ll share one of my favorite marinara recipes with you first. This one is especially delicious because it uses fresh rosemary (which grows abundantly in my yard) and shallots, which just melt away into sweet, oniony goodness when cooked. It’s also more manageable for most people, too, because it uses canned tomatoes. While I love roasting my own, I don’t always have time for such a big production, so shortcuts in the kitchen are appreciated! I almost always use more shallots and at least twice the amount of garlic that recipes call for once I’ve made them a time or two, but the first time around I follow them to the letter.
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons diced shallot
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 1/2 cup red wine [cabernet, merlot, burgundy…just about any kind works well]
- 28oz whole peeled tomatoes, drained (set aside 1/2 cup liquid)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1-2 teaspoons sugar
- salt + pepper to taste
- Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
- Once hot, add the shallot and cook for about 3-5 minutes until golden brown. Stir frequently.
- Add the garlic and rosemary and stir for 30 seconds.
- Slowly pour in the wine and increase the heat slightly.
- Let simmer for about 5 minutes until the liquid is reduced by about half.
- Slowly pour in the tomatoes [less 1/2 cup liquid] and tomato paste and stir until well combined.
- Break apart the tomatoes by mashing them with a large wooden spoon, or a potato masher.
- Add in 1 teaspoon of sugar and salt + pepper to taste (approx. 1/2 tsp each)
- Bring to a boil uncovered and then reduce heat to simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Using an immersion (stick) blender, blend slightly in the pot to break up the tomatoes a bit more (blend a bit longer for a smoother consistency). If you don’t have an immersion blender, use a regular blender or food processor – blend in small batches to avoid hot splatters!
- Let simmer for another 10-15 minutes until thickened, stirring occasionally.
- Taste and add more salt/pepper/sugar if desired. The flavors will develop more as it sits.
- Take off the heat when desired consistency is reached.
If you’re not using it immediately, let sauce cool to room temperature, then place in jars and refrigerate for about a week. It also freezes well.
Up next is a basic red wine sauce for steaks. I’m sharing this one from BBC Good Food because (1) it’s a Gordon Ramsay recipe, (2) it’s easy to follow, (3) it also features shallots and they’re AMAZING, and (4) you can use any kind of red wine you have.
Shallot and red wine sauce
- 250g shallots, sliced
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, lightly crushed
- sprig rosemary
- 5 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 400ml red wine
- 400ml beef stock or brown chicken stock, preferably homemade
- knob (2-3 tbsp) of butter
- Sauté the shallots in a medium saucepan with the oil over a high heat for about 3 mins until lightly browned, stirring often. Season with ground black pepper and add the garlic and rosemary. Continue cooking for a further 3 mins, stirring often to prevent the shallots burning.
- Pour in the vinegar and cook until evaporated away to a syrup, then pour in the wine and cook until reduced by two thirds.
- Pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer until reduced by two-thirds again, to around 250ml.
- Remove the garlic and rosemary. Add a little salt to taste and finally ‘monte’ (whisk) in a knob of butter. Add any juices from the steaks just before serving.
Now that we’ve added some wine to our main dishes, let’s finish off that bottle in a dessert sauce!
In a wide saucepan or skillet, combine the wine with sugar (a good ratio is 3 cups wine to 1 cup sugar), bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until syrupy and reduced to about a third of the original volume. Once cool, bottle and refrigerate. See how easy that was?
You can also simmer the wine with flavorings, such as fresh ginger, cinnamon sticks, cloves, star anise, black peppercorns, or vanilla bean (mmmmm, mulled wine sauce!) Just strain them out after cooling the syrup.
This syrup is rich, sweet and a bit tangy, and there are countless uses for it:
• Drizzled over fresh berries or grilled stone fruits
• Swirled into ice cream or Greek yogurt
• Mixed into club soda or sparkling water
• Stirred into cocktails
• Poured on pancakes or waffles
• Tossed with roasted vegetables or chickpeas
• Added to marinades
• Whisked into salad dressing
Once it stops raining here, I’ll switch back to white wine long enough to share more recipes with you. In the meantime, if you try any of these please let us know how you liked them!