One of the joys of holidays is the wonderful affinity between the local food of a region and the wine produced there. Looking to bring a bit of this international flavour to our seasonal dinner table, I spoke to a few of the winemakers we work with, asking about their traditional festive fare. It's a perfect excuse to do a bit of virtual travelling via food and wine.
Roberto Di Filippo, from Umbria, gave me an unusual dish called Parmigiana di Gobbi. This particular vegetable, gobbi, or cardoon, isn't that common in Ireland, and is usually grown here for ornamental purposes. It is similar to celery, so I've substituted that in the recipe. Celery is a vegetable which rarely takes centre stage, but it works well in this dish and is perfect with the full-flavoured Grechetto from Di Filippo. The meat can just be left out if you want to make a veggie version of the dish. It's a traditional Umbrian dish and is eaten as a starter.
150 g of minced beef or a mix of pork and beef
1 carrot chopped
1 onion chopped
100 ml red wine
300 g of tomato puree
Extra virgin olive oil
1 head of celery
Grated Parmesan cheese
First, prepare the sauce.
In a saucepan, fry 2 tablespoons of oil with the chopped carrot and onion.
Add the meat and brown over low heat for 10 minutes, and add salt and pepper.
Deglaze with the wine and add the tomato puree and 1/2 glass of water, season with salt and simmer for about an hour.
In the meantime, prepare the celery. Cut the stalks in half and plunge them into plenty of boiling salted water; cook for 10 minutes.
Drain and let them cool.
Dip the stalks in the flour, then beaten egg, then fry in plenty of hot oil.
Drain and let them dry on absorbent paper.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
Take a baking dish and sprinkle with a little sauce; start with a layer of celery, the sauce, then Parmesan, more celery sauce and Parmesan.
Bake for about 30 minutes.
Remove from the oven and serve with a glass of Di Filippo Grechetto!