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Perfect Winter Pairings

September 21, 2016

With winter in full swing, Winery Chef Tara Wachtel created two recipes sure to warm you up in the cold weather!

Mixed Mushroom and Béchamel Lasagna
Paired with Rodney Strong Reserve Pinot Noir

4 cups whole milk

1 – 2” piece of rosemary

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, divided

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 1/2 pounds mixed mushrooms – such as cremini, oyster, piopini, shitake, etc.

2-3 tablespoons Safflower oil

2 tablespoons butter

1 lb no-boil lasagna noodles

¾ cup freshly grated parmesan

1 cup fresh ricotta

Preheat your oven to 375°F. Bring the milk, rosemary, and garlic to simmer in a saucepan, set it aside. Melt 1 stick butter in a large saucepan, letting it foam and brown slightly. Add the flour, and stir constantly for one minute. Remove the rosemary stem from the milk, and pour the milk into the butter/flour mixture slowly; stirring until combined. Add the kosher salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring or whisking frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until thickened. Set aside.

Slice all mushrooms to uniform thickness – about ¼ inch slices. Heat half the oil and one tablespoon of butter over medium heat in heavy bottomed sauté pan. Brown half the mushrooms with a couple pinches of salt for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until they are tender and release some of their juices. Repeat with the other half of the mushrooms, oil and butter.

Spread a layer of béchamel in the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish. Arrange a layer of noodles on top, then more sauce, 1/3 of the mushrooms, ¼ cup grated parmesan, and about ½ of the ricotta. Repeat with more sauce, noodles, mushrooms and cheeses. Finish with the final layer of noodles, mushrooms, remaining sauce and last ¼ cup of parmesan. Bake for 45 minutes, or until top is browned and the sauce is bubbly.

Sichuan Pepper-Crusted Filet Mignon
Paired with Rodney Strong Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

4 beef tenderloin steaks – 1” thick

Kosher Salt

1 tablespoon coarsely crushed black peppercorns

1 teaspoon coarsely crushed Sichuan peppercorns

1 tablespoon safflower oil

2 tablespoons butter

2 large shallots, finely minced

1 – 2” piece of fresh thyme

1 ½ cups chicken stock

1 tablespoon bourbon

2 teaspoons sherry vinegar

¼ cup heavy cream

Season steaks well on both sides with salt and peppercorns, using fingers to press in the peppercorns. Set aside for 10 minutes. Place a cast iron skillet over high heat. When surface is nearly smoking, add oil and swirl to coat. Add the steaks and cook for 2-3 minutes on one side until browned well. Flip and cook for 2 minutes more. Remove steaks to a warm plate. Reduce heat to medium-low and add the butter to the pan. Add shallots and sauté for a minute or so, stirring, until they begin to brown. Add thyme and stir until the herb begins to crackle. Add stock, and increase heat to bring to boil. Add the bourbon and sherry vinegar, and continue to simmer until reduced by half. Stir in heavy cream and continue to cook until sauce is coats the back of a spoon. Adjust seasoning as needed. Spoon sauce over rested steaks and serve.