Christmas Dinner with the Windy City Wine Guy

img_08851The celebration of Christmas has always been a tradition in the Bottigliero household, so we were at it again this year.  We normally have a seafood extravaganza on the eve of Christmas, but this year it was postponed until after Santa Claus visited due to the Windy City Wine Guy's work schedule.  So with wife and family, it was time to open some wine etc. and dig in.  Now let us check out the menu.

My wife and I began prepping early while watching A Christmas Story- I cannot make it through the holiday without seeing Ralphie!  I believe it is an old Italian tradition to drink a bit while you cook, so I opened a great morning beer choice, Blue Moon Belgian Ale (my wife's favorite) and got to work:

  • Spinach Ricotta Lasagna.  I did this the easy way.  I created a cheese blend out of fresh ricotta, one egg, oregano, and spinach.  I boiled lasagna noodles and laid them flat in a baking dish, spread the cheese blend atop, created another layer by adding more noodles and spread more cheese.  The top was finished with more flat noodles, some organic tomato sauce, and shredded mozzarella.  Cover that with aluminum foil, pop it in a 350 degree preheated oven for an hour, and you are done!

  • Butter Garlic Shrimp.  I bought U16-U20 shrimp (16-20 shrimp count per pound), peeled them (used the shells to create a shellfish broth), placed them in a baking dish with a half stick of butter, chopped garlic, and beer.

  • Mussels in White Sauce.  I placed olive oil and chopped garlic in a frying pan.  Then I put in the mussels.  While they were opening, the sauce was created: shellfish stock, white wine, chopped leeks, chili flakes, salt and pepper.  Place the mussels in a bowl and pour the sauce atop.

My wife made an arugula and heirloom tomato salad along with Christmas cookies and we were set!  

While I was cooking, I opened a bottle of Domaine Wachau Riesling.  I love dry Austrian Rieslings for their stone minerality and lime essence, and this one performs every time.  Then, my brother Anthony came over with a couple of wines he selected (with a bit of WCWG guidance!).  An old favorite from my Thanksgiving pairings to start the toasting was the Domaine Chandon Riche, an Extra Dry sparkling wine with a bit of Muscat for added sweetness.  The sparkling and Riesling were great with the salad and seafood.  We eventually opened the 2007 Mollydooker "The Scooter" Merlot to go with the lasagna and the rest of the evening.  It was dark and fruity with soft tannins and a lengthy pleasant taste.  This lasted us through Wii activities and Monopoly, until I eventually had to have a bit of aged rum. 

A great evening with family, food, and beverage in the comfort of home.  Hope these pairings and recipes help with future endeavors!  Tell the WCWG all about it!