The reason for his recipe is that my wife gave me a present: six prized bottles of Brunello Di Montalcino wine. This was treat. Brunello di Moimtalcino is a premium wine made in the town of Montalcino in the Tuscany region of Italy. It is made from 100% Sangiovese grapes, one of the leading grape varieties also used in making Chianti. It has a ruby red color, a highly perfumed aroma of berries and light vanilla, and bold fruit flavors.
The main food pairings for Brunello are grilled steak, roast leg of lamb, pheasant, and truffles. They also pair well with portobello mushrooms—which I love. One of my favorite dishes with portobellos, is polenta, basically boiled cornmeal, which can also be grilled, fried or baked. Polenta is very easy to prepare: Just bring 4 cups water to a boil. Add a cup of cornmeal, stirring all the time to prevent lumps. Reduce heat to low and cook until mixture thickens, about 15 minutes. That’s it. Serve with marinated portobello mushrooms, it makes a fine accompaniment to a prized wine. If you don’t happen to have Brunello on hand, a good Chianti, Cabernet or Merlot will do the trick.
MARINATED PORTOBELLO MUSHROOMS WITH POLENTA
4 portobello mushrooms
1/2 cup olive oil plus 3 tablespoons
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons fresh chopped oregano, or 1 tablespoon dried
1 tablespoon fresh chopped tarragon or 1 teaspoon dried
4 slices of your favorite cheese—it could cheddar, Munster, Swiss, ext. (or even American cheese)
- Wash portobellos under running water and pat dry. Using as spoon, remove gills from underside of mushrooms and discard (or save for other use). Leave stems on. Set aside.
- Mix 1/2 cup olive, vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper, oregano, and tarragon in medium bowl. Add portobellos, and mix to combine. Cover and marinate for an hour or more.
- Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a medium saucepan or skillet over medium-high heat. Add portobellos, stem side down, and cook 4 minutes. Turn over, top with cheese slice, cover, and cook 3 minutes more or until cheese has melted. Serve with polenta (recipe given above)
Yield: 4 servings.