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Bacchus Christmas‘ is the name of the initiative organised by the Tuscan Wine Tourism Movement with the Italian Food Blogger Association to propose to all food and wine enthusiasts new pairings between recipes inspired by the Christmas festivities and the wines of one of Italy’s most vocated regions: Tuscany. With this in mind, my Pisarei e fasò got drunk!

The cellar assigned to my recipe: Artimino 1596

As luck would have it, I was assigned to the Artimino 1596 winery, and diving into its reality, I soon discovered some pleasant coincidences on which I had fun fantasising to create a recipe to pair with Poggilarcaa 2017 Carmignano DOCG whose history and characteristics I will briefly tell you about.

The winery is located on the Artimino Estate in the province of Prato, where in 1596 Ferdinando I de’ Medici built his hunting lodge, Villa Medicea La Ferdinanda, now a Unesco heritage site. Here is the first coincidence: my maternal grandmother was a Medici whose origins we have never researched further than the memories of family elders.

And the second coincidence is that my paternal grandfather was a great fan (as we would say today) of the current owners’ grandfather, Giuseppe Olmo, who bought the estate in 1980 with great entrepreneurial foresight, but who in 1935 had gone down in history as a cycling champion by setting the Hour record.

Carmignano is both the name of the town in the Tuscan hills where the estate is located, and the name of the DOCG wine that is perhaps the least known of the great Tuscan red wines, even though it is very ancient (its origins date back to Etruscan times) and praised in numerous works , including the eulogy to Tuscan wine, Bacco in Toscana (1685) by Francesco Redi, who warned that ‘it is a very ugly sin to drink Carmignano when it is watered down‘.

Certainly, its notoriety has been somewhat tarnished by the fact that it was incorporated into the Chianti appellation as its own sub-zone until the 1970s and only managed to obtain recognition as Guaranteed Controlled Designation of Origin in 1990 .

Poggilarca contains the grapes of the great Tuscan wines: Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot and, like the great reds, prefers grilled and roast meats, but I wanted to bring it closer to the Emilian traditions of fresh homemade pastas by pairing it with a great classic revisited and, above all, in a gluten free version: my drunken Pisarei e fasò.

Why Pisarei e fasò?

Because they mean celebration and family meals, because they mean the warmth of tradition in which wine also plays an important role in terms of diabetes and celiac disease. In fact, if for celiacs wine can be consumed with serenity as it is always a safe product (you can find further clarifications on alcoholic beverages on the website of theItalian Celiac Association), for those with diabetes it must be consumed with some precautions.

Alessandra Bosetti, clinical dietician at the Vittore Buzzi Children’s Hospital in Milan, explains: “People with diabetes must consume wine in moderation, but especially never on an empty stomach because it must be compensated for by the presence of complex carbohydrates as wine first gives hyperglycaemia and then significant hypoglycaemia. I would say that with a dish like Pisarei e fasò in which there are pasta and Borlotti beans, a nice glass of red wine can definitely fit, provided that the meal is then completed with a double portion of vegetables‘.

Although Pisarei e fasò is considered a first course, the version I propose in combination with Carmignano is a one-course meal to be completed, dietician docet, with plenty of vegetables. I wanted the wine to have a leading role in the preparation of the pasta to play with both taste and colour, so I substituted a part of the water with Carmignano to mix the two ingredients of the preparation: breadcrumbs and flour.

Pisarei impastati con il vino

Pisarei kneaded with wine

Wine and dish pairing

This version of Pisarei e fasò is a feast of fragrances, flavours and colours, just what we like to bring to the table when we indulge in the ‘slow’ food of our days at home, which perhaps this year we have rediscovered to the full.

Poggilarca should be opened at least 30 minutes beforehand, but above all it should be left on the table to become familiar with the environment and, once it reaches a temperature of 18°C , it begins its harmonious conversation with the dishes. And with the drunk Pisarei, the conversation soon becomes a melody. The fatty part of the sauce finds in the tannins and slight acidity of Poggilarca the answer to cleanse the mouth and leave a scent of vanilla, which plays with the sweetness of the Borlotti beans and duets with the bay and pepper aromas of the rich seasoning.

And bite after bite, sip after sip, in the mouth, one can also find the ebony memories of red fruits that always linger with the ever-present vanilla: what a great way to celebrate the Christmas season and to celebrate the New Year with hope!

For those who would still like to prepare Pisarei e fasò following the traditional recipe, I gladly share the videobut in this case the dish would not be strong enough to stand up to the personality of Carmignano!

Pisarei e fasò got drunk!    

16.73g carbohydrates per 100g

Ingredients for Pisarei

  • 250g gluten free pasta flour mix, brand Molino Dallagiovanna**
  • 170g Poggilarca Carmignano DOCG 2017
  • 80g water
  • 75g gluten-free breadcrumbs, brand Nutrifree**
  • salt

Ingredients for the sauce

  • about 1 litre of water
  • 400g tomato sauce
  • 300g sausage*
  • 200g dried Borlotti beans (or 400g canned Borlotti beans*)
  • 65g carrot
  • 50g Poggilarca Carmignano DOCG 2017
  • 50g onions
  • 30g celery
  • 20g extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated

**Ingredients specific for celiacs

*Ingredients whose labels must read “gluten free” (or, in Italy, present on  Prontuario AIC)

Preparation

  1. Start preparing Pisarei. Put 80g water on the stove and bring it to the boil. Put the breadcrumbs in a bowl and gradually start to wet them with the boiling water, stirring continuously so that the mixture is moist, but not sticky.
  2. Add the flour to the breadcrumbs, a generous pinch of salt and pour in the red wine, stirring until the mixture is compact. Transfer the mixture to the cutting board and knead it as if it were egg pasta. Knead the dough until firm, smooth and perfectly homogeneous. Cover it with cling film and let it rest for the time needed to prepare the sauce.
  3. Chop the onion, carrot and celery, then put them in a saucepan with a little oil and brown them. Add half a clove of finely chopped garlic, crumble the sausage well and brown it, then douse with Poggilarca. Once the wine has evaporated, add the tomato sauce. At this point, add Borlotti. If you use soaked dry Borlotti beans, add 2-3 ladles of water to cook the beans (you will need about 1 hour), while if you use canned Borlotti beans, cook for about 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare Pisarei. Take pieces of dough, form cylinders of about 1.5cm in diameter, cut them into 1-2cm long pieces and with the fingertip of your thumb (I am more comfortable using my middle or index finger) create a hollow in each piece.
  5. Once you have prepared all the Pisarei, boil them in plenty of lightly salted water until they rise to the surface (taste Pisarei to check when they are cooked), drain them and throw them into the saucepan with the beans. Let everything season for a few minutes, then serve the peas with grated cheese, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a grinding of pepper to taste.

 

Piatto pronto di pisarei

Pisarei dish ready

Version with gluten of Pisarei e fasò got drunk!

The only ingredients containing gluten in this recipe are flour and breadcrumbs. So replace gluten-free flour and breadcrumbs with their standard counterparts, but you will have to slightly reduce the amount of wine to knead the Pisarei. Everything else in the recipe remains unchanged.

Christmas is approaching and we would like to recommend a sweet preparation that can become a delightful gift to give your friends, an original placeholder for the table, or a small ornament to decorate home over the Christmas period: Cookie Christmas trees.

Moreover, baking Cookie Christmas trees is a wonderful opportunity to involve the little ones at home in manual and creative activities that will make the result even more special, whether to be eaten at breakfast on festive days or to be given as gifts to loved ones.

It takes dexterity and a little patience, but the result will give you great satisfaction.

Roll up your sleeves, let’s start making Cookie Christmas trees, and if you want to get creative, also try Christmas cookies and  Cookie handleouse.

Cookie Christmas Trees 

66g carbohydrates per 100g of cookie without icing

  • 400g gluten-free cake flour**
  • 150g butter
  • 100g sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 8g baking powder*
  • 1 pinch of salt, 1 pinch of vanilla

Ingredients for the icing

  • 150g icing sugar*
  • 25g pasteurised egg white

**Ingredients specific for celiacs

*Ingredients whose labels must read “gluten-free” (or, in Italy, present on  Prontuario AIC)

Preparation

  1. Put the flour, butter, sugar, salt and eggs in a bowl. Mix well, then add the baking powder and vanilla.
  2. With the shortcrust pastry, prepare cookies using 6 descending star-shaped moulds. Bake the cookies in a static oven preheated to 180°C for 10-15 minutes. Let them cool down.

alberelli-di-natale-senza-glutine-uno-chef-per-gaia

  1. For the icing, mix the pasteurised egg white with the icing sugar until smooth and firm. Fill a pastry bag with the icing and decorate the stars as desired. Once the icing has hardened, stack the cookies on top of each other, securing them with a little icing to form a Christmas tree. If you want to make other cookies, check out this recipe.

alberelli-di-natale-senza-glutine-uno-chef-per-gaia

Version with gluten of Cookie Christmas trees

Replace the gluten free flour with the same amount of standard cake flour.

alberelli-di-natale-senza-glutine-uno-chef-per-gaia