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Jul 23, 2013
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Wine With…Pork and Leek Ravioli

Little pockets of tender dough filled with savory meat and leeks and topped with a drizzle of good olive oil and dusting of Parmesan may not be haute cuisine, but few dishes are as deeply satisfying, simple to prepare, and compatible with so many different types of wine. A relatively recent spin in the standard home-cooked ravioli repertoire calls for using prepared won ton or egg roll wrappers instead of a traditional pasta preparation. This is an especially attractive option during hot weather as it takes very little time to prepare it, and because it yields a significantly lighter, more delicate dish.

Pork and Leek Ravioli

Serves 4-6

The most efficient way to clean leeks is to discard most of the outside leaves and tough green upper parts, using the white section and only an inch or so of the palest green. Then slice the leek in half lengthwise and rinse under running water. Mince the leek and place it in a large container filled with water. Pour the contents into a fine-mesh strainer, repeating the process several times if the leeks are exceptionally gritty or muddy.

2 leeks, finely minced
About 1/3 cup olive oil (divided use)
1/2 pound ground pork
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon (or more) cayenne, Aleppo pepper or red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons minced parsley
2 tablespoon plus ½ cup grated Parmesan (plus more to pass at the table if desired)
1 package egg roll wraps

Cook the minced leeks in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat, stirring frequently, until they begin to soften. Add the pork and continue stirring to break up any lumps. Add the garlic and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the pork is cooked through and the leeks are very soft. Add the seasonings and parsley and cook for another minute or two. Adjust seasoning if needed. Remove from heat and stir in 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or until mixture is very cool.

To assemble the ravioli, lay two of the wraps on a large cutting board or other work surface. Using a teaspoon, place four dollops of the pork mixture on the first wrapper, two on the first row and two on the second, spaced about an inch apart, taking care not to get them too close to the edges. With a basting brush, brush the surface of the second square with a thin film of cold water. Place this second wrapper on top of the first, damp side down, pressing all around each dollop of filling. Press the edges together firmly to form a tight seal (use a fork, or ravioli roller or stamp, to secure a leak-proof edge). Arrange the ravioli in single layers on baking sheets and refrigerate until ready to use. For best results, so this an hour or two before cooking.

It’s best to cook the ravioli in batches to prevent them from clumping together as they simmer. Bring one or two large pots of salted water to a boil. Ease a few ravioli into the water and simmer for about 2-3 minutes. Using a spider strainer, remove the cooked ravioli and transfer to a bowl, tenting with foil to keep warm. Continue this process until all the ravioli are cooked. Divide them among serving plates, drizzle with oil and sprinkle with cheese. Serve immediately.

* * *

This is a fairly delicate but at the same time rich dish, a combination that allows for exceptional versatility when choosing a wine to pair with it. We found that reds and whites work equally well with it, and that medium-weight examples are likely to match best. The one thing that did not work was overt oak flavor from barrel aging, as the wine, regardless of color, turned the dish slightly bitter. Better to stick with fresh-tasting wines with subtle oak influences if any at all.


Selection

Approx. Price

Comments

Clarksburg Wine Company, Clarksburg (California) Chenin Blanc / Viognier 2011

$16

A ripe white, tasting of autumn fruits with a slightly floral bouquet, this wine brings out the subtle nuances in the dish while being able to fold its own with the meaty filling and cheesy richness.

Etude, Carneros (California) Pinot Gris 2012

$24

Marked by pear-scented fruit with a jolt of acidity that gains force in the finish, this wine cuts through the ravioli’s richness, making the dish seem lighter and fresher than it does otherwise.

Gainey, Sta. Rita Hills (California) Pinot Noir 2010

$30

A delicious because not super ripe Pinot, this wine gives the filling of the ravioli an extra boost, so imparts depth and weight to the dish.

Kenwood, California “Vintage White Wine” 2012

$8

A complete surprise, this inexpensive blend has plenty of refreshing acidity and fairly deep, bold flavors. That combination is what enabled it to work so well with the ravioli. The wine is not especially complex, but very satisfying – and of course a steal for the money.

Marchesi di Barolo, Barbera d’Alba (Italy) “Ruvei” 2009

(Imported by Frederick Wildman)

$19

The most substantial wine we are recommending, “Ruvei” has an earthy, almost gamey undertone, something that accentuates the meaty essence of the filling and makes for a very enjoyable match.