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Sep 3, 2019
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WINE WITH…Linguine with Almonds, Burrata, Mushrooms and Zucchini

In Paris this summer we enjoyed a lovely pasta dish at Les Minimes, a casual little restaurant on the rue de Turenne.  What made this an unusually tasty treat was its wealth of different flavors and textures, including crunch from almonds, a velvety creaminess from Burrata cheese, plus earthiness contributed by mushrooms and zucchini.  The comforting presence of linguine noodles along with a tangy cascade of Parmesan cheese miraculously linked all the varied components together.  We recently did our best to recreate the dish from memory, and while ours was perhaps not quite as extraordinary as the one we remembered, it was nonetheless pretty darn good.

An Italian specialty now also produced in America, the ball of cheese known as Burrata is a succulent blend of contrasting textures that includes a soft, creamy center wrapped in a firm but tender mozzarella pouch.  When the pouch is cut open, the soft interior, made from thick cream, slowly seeps out.  Best served at room temperature, Burrata is a uniquely mild and fresh tasting cheese.

Linguine with Almonds, Burrata, Mushrooms and Zucchini

Serves 2-4

Take the Burrata out of the refrigerator 30-60 minutes before serving to let it reach room temperature.

2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for serving
1 and ½ cup sliced mushrooms
1-2 small zucchini (add a couple more if they are no bigger than your longest finger)
1-2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon thyme
salt and pepper to taste
½ pound linguine
1-2 balls of Burrata
red pepper flakes (optional)
½ cup slivered almonds, toasted*
grated Parmesan cheese

Place the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Stir in the mushrooms and begin sautéing them.  Chop the zucchini into very small pieces (about ½ inches) and add to the mushrooms.  Cook, stirring frequently, over medium to high heat until the zucchini just starts to color.  Stir in the garlic and thyme and season to taste.  Continue to cook another few minutes, adjusting the temperature as needed, until the mushrooms and zucchini have very lightly browned. 

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions.  While it is cooking cut each ball of Burrata in half and put one of the halves, cut side up, on each serving plate or bowl.  Drain the pasta and return it to the pan; then stir in the mushroom mixture and the toasted almonds.  Divide the pasta among the serving bowls on top of the Burrata.  Drizzle in a little olive oil if desired, and sprinkle each serving with Parmesan.

*We toast our almonds in the toaster oven, which takes only a couple of minutes.  Stir them once or twice as they toast.  Alternatively, they may be toasted in a skillet over medium-high heat, taking care that they don’t burn.

*         *         *

Equally good with red or white wines, this pasta dish benefits from a smooth, silky pairing.  Avoid wines that are either aggressively acidic or boldly tannic.  Otherwise, you’ll likely be pleased with whatever you choose.  And since the dish is itself complex, there is no need to look for a multi-faceted and likely expensive wine.  Save some of your pennies for a different bottle at a different meal.

Selection

 

Approx. Price

Comments

 

Brucco dei Guazzi,

Gavi

(Italy)

2018

(Imported by Montcalm Wine Imports)

 

 

 

 

$20

 

Fresh and vibrant, this wine’s bouquet echoed the thyme and zucchini, while the burrata made it feel sexy and silky on the palate.

 

 

 

 

Cambria,

Santa Maria Valley

(California)

Pinot Noir

“Julia’s Vineyard”

2015

 

 

 

$25

 

Pinot Noirs, even sweet renditions like this one, have a special affinity for mushrooms.  The earthy fungi tame the wines, giving them a depth of flavor that they don’t have if sipped on their own.  That’s exactly what happened with this match. 

 

 

 

 

Dry Creek Vineyards,

Russian River Valley

(California)

Chardonnay

“Estate Block 10”

2017

 

 

 

 

$34

 

 

As long-time readers know, we find that many oak-aged Chardonnays clash with food.  This dish, however, benefited from being paired with a wine that had seen time in French oak barrels.  The wood gave it an extra layer of flavor and a somewhat creamy texture, which went perfectly with the burrata.

 

 

 

 

Lamarca,

Prosecco

(Italy)

NV

“Extra Dry”

(Imported by La Marca USA)

 

 

 

 

           $16

 

Much as with the Cambria Pinot Noir, this wine’s sweetness seemed reduced if not erased by the dish.  It felt sprightly and tasted firm, with little evidence of sugar in either the bouquet or on the palate.

 

 

 

Umani Ronchi,

Montepulciano d’Abruzzo

(Italy)

“Montipagano”

“Organic Wine”

2017

(Imported by Umani Ronchi Osimo)

 

 

 

 

$12

 

Dry and dusty, so a good match with the mushrooms, this wine softened and became smoother when paired with the pasta.  Perhaps the creamy burrata was responsible?