Saturday, November 22, 2008
Last March, Joe and I took a weekend trip to Fredericksburg, TX where we stayed in a wonderful little B&B and spent most of Saturday going to nearby wineries on the Texas Wine Trail. Now, neither Joe nor I are big wine snobs, but I was prepared to be slightly underwhelmed and that was not the case at all. We had a wonderful time and fell in love with several wines, but none could compare to the Becker Vineyards Viognier. This is even more notable because both Joe and I prefer red wines. Above is a picture of the tasting room at Becker Vineyards. They also have a B&B on the property. We sat out on the porch with our glasses of wine, enjoyed the gorgeous weather, and listened to the live music they had.
When we returned to Houston after our trip, we were pleased to discover that the Viognier could be found in our grocery store, and so we took its presence for granted. Then we moved to Tennessee, where the Baptists have instituted arcane liquor laws and "sin taxes" (sign up at Red White and Food to lobby to change this), and discovered that, not only was our marvelous Viognier nowhere to be found, but we couldn't even have any shipped to us. So, when Joe's friend came to visit us last month from Houston, our sole request was to have her bring us some Becker Vineyards Viognier.
We've had it sitting in our hot little hands for over a month, and I wanted to drink it on a special night and make a dinner to go with it so we could really savor all of the flavors. I decided on spaghetti carbonara with steamed broccoli and focaccia. Sure enough, after blessing the food and clinking glasses, the first thing Joe and I did was stick our noses in our wineglasses and then take a big sip of the viognier. Oh, and the pasta was really good too. Joe said, "Why even bother to go out when we can eat like this at home and have wonderful wine?" I'm highly inclined to agree.
(source: The Pioneer Woman Cooks)
1 lb spaghetti or other thin pasta
1 lb bacon
1 1/2 cups parmesan cheese
8-12 cloves of garlic, sliced or chopped (Mine were enormous, so I only used 4.)
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup white wine (I didn't want to cook with our precious viognier, so I used 1/2 cup chicken stock and 1/2 cup dry vermouth.)
1/2 stick of butter
1 handful of parsley
1-2 tbsp fresh ground black pepper
First, slice up the bacon in to pieces about an inch thick. Then toss them into a heated stainless steel pan (I used my cast iron pan since all the others are non-stick.) Cook until browned and crisp.
While the bacon cooks, put on water to boil for the pasta and add the pasta once the water has reached a rolling boil and cook to al dente. When the bacon is cooked, remove from the pan with a slotted spoon, leaving the renderings. Cook the chopped onion in the renderings for a few minutes and then add the garlic.
Once the onion and garlic have cooked for a few minutes, remove from the pan with a slotted spoon. Discard the leftover renderings. Place the pan back on high heat until it starts to smoke a little. Then pour in the white wine and deglaze the pan. Add one cup of chicken stock. Return bacon, onion, and garlic to the pan and let simmer over medium heat.
Crack four eggs into a large bowl. Chop up most of the parsley and add it to the bowl along with most of the parmesan cheese. Mix well with a fork.
Drain the water from the pasta and add the very hot pasta to the egg mixture. The heat from the pasta will partially cook the eggs. Then add the bacon mixture and toss to combine. Finally, throw a 1/2 stick of butter in. Pepper to taste. Garnish with parsley and parmesan cheese and serve immediately.
Viognier and Spaghetti Carbonara