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  • Writer's pictureCarlos Sarmiento

Penne alla Caprese & Vini Dei Signori Falanghina

(Photo by Carlos Sarmiento)


Not too long ago, I was invited to a dear friend of mine's birthday. Everyone there loves pasta. My friend's aunt Tia Flor, who by know is also family to me, made her signature caprese pasta dish.


Yes, a caprese pasta! Why should a salad have all the fun? Trust me, this is a sensationally simple dish to make that is as fresh and savory as it's traditional salad promises to be.


I decided to share a new wine that I had the pleasure of recently trying at an Italian wine industry dinner.


Enter the delightful Falanghina. Falanghina vine is cultivated mainly in the area of Sannio (Benevento, Italy). These unique white wines are known for their fruity zest, undeniably with essences of lemon, peach, honey and almonds. Just fantastic!


A mild pasta dish with a soft cheese and fresh basil goes lovely with a fun wine such as Falanghina.


Let‘s get cooking!


Menu: Penne alla caprese. Pasta tossed with fresh mozzarella, basil, tomatoes and garlic with extra Virgin olive oil and a light nut-free pesto sauce.


Wine pairing: Vini dei Signori Falanghina (Benevento, Italy)


Serves 6


Ingredients

  • 1 package of penne pasta

  • 2 cups of fresh mozzarella di bufala (cut in bite size pieces)

  • 6 small tomatoes (seeded and cut in small squares)

  • 2 cups of fresh basil leaves (hand torn)

  • 2 cups of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

  • 6 garlic cloves (3 of them finely minced)

  • 1 cup of extra Virgin olive oil

  • Salt and cracked pepper


Directions

Simple pesto:

  • Blend 3 garlic cloves, 1/2 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, 1 cup of fresh basil, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper until smooth. Set aside.


Pasta:

  • Cook penne pasta according to package instructions.

  • While pasta is cooking, place minced garlic in a small bowl and pour enough olive oil to cover the garlic.

  • Once pasta is cooked, drain and place pasta in extra large mixing bowl. Pour garlic-olive oil mixture and toss pasta. Pour pesto mixture and toss again.

  • Add fresh mozzarella and tomatoes and toss. Add fresh basil and gently mix.


Serve it up!

On each individual plate (ideally a large bowl) scoop a generous portion of the pasta.


Optional: drizzle a little more extra Virgin olive oil on top of pasta and some freshly grated Parmesan cheese, cracked pepper, and some freshly cut basil leaves.


Buon apetito! Enjoy!

(Photo by Carlos Sarmiento)



(Photo by Carlos Sarmiento)



(Photo by Carlos Sarmiento)


About the wine..

Vini dei Signori Falanghina (Benevento, Italy)

(Photo by Carlos Sarmiento)



(Photo by Carlos Sarmiento)



Tasting notes:

Wine has a straw yellow color with an intense aromatic, yet well-balanced nose with generous hints of pineapple and white peach.


On the palates it hits with good acidity and richness, with flavors of ripe tropical fruit.


Grapes:

100% Falanghina


Food pairing: Pairs beautifullly with grilled of fried seafood, seafood pasta and risotto, fish soup, soft/semi-soft cheese like Mozzarella, Gouda, and Feta.


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Thank you Tía Flor for the recipe!


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Special thanks to Giovanni Silvestri from So Good Marketing, representing Gambero Rosso Worldwide & Brand Ambassador for Casale del Giglio wines. Grazie Mille!


(Photo by Francesco Polese)



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