The right wine for the right time: Wine is often used in braising meat dishes that are cooked for an extended period of time because the tannins serve as a tenderizer, breaking down certain proteins. Bastianich says it's important to pay attention to the ratio of wine to other ingredients, relative to the cooking time of what you're preparing.
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"If you make something that's quick-cooking, like shrimp or scallops, that's a little bit of wine — maybe a half cup of a nice, dry, aromatic white wine," she says. The same is true of chicken. "Let's say you have four chicken breasts you're going to cook with some lemon and wine. Add about a half cup of that nice, aromatic white wine. But for a pot roast you would cook two hours, add two cups of a good red wine — and of course, if you add that, you diminish other cooking liquids accordingly."
Perfect pairings: When serving a red-sauced pasta dish such as bucatini all'amatriciana, Bastianich suggests "a great Chianti." With a long-simmered meat dish like osso buco, she would serve "an amarone, or a zinfandel." With a lighter dish such as shrimp, she would choose "a nice sauvignon blanc."
After Lidia picked out these five recipes for AARP from her new cookbook, she also recommended a wine pairing for each dish:
- For the fried marinated artichokes, a Friulano, a white wine grape varietal from her home region.
- For the spaghetti with garlic and oil, a Chianti or sangiovese.
- For the baked rollatini of sole, a sauvignon blanc.
- For the chicken sorrentino, a chardonnay or chardonnay-sauvignon blend.
- For the almond pine nut cookies, a bubbly prosecco.
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