Sunday, May 10, 2020

Show Love, Sip Mionetto Prosecco and Eat Chinese Noodles #SparkleatHome #WinePW

Mionetto Cartizze DOCG, Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG and Prosecco Organic Extra Dry with Chinese Noodles Cooked in Six Ways  

You like it or not…the global Covid-19 pandemic has established a new way for people to interact with others, foods and drinks in any occasions. When dining and drinking at your favorite restaurant with friends and families to celebrate was what you typically did in the recent past, celebrating in a home-bound style, drinking bubbles at home and cooking with a mindset of using what you have in the pantry may have become the new normalcy.  The bottom line is that the thoughts and love matter the most when we go above and beyond to bring joy to people during difficult times! 

Prosecco gains huge popularity in the sparkler market recently due to its refreshing and citrusy tastes and approachable price points. Of course, its Italian DNA has fizz and fun written all over it, making it the go-to celebratory wine for all walks of wine drinkers.

Prosecco DOCG vs Prosecco DOC

Prosecco is made in Veneto, the Northeastern of Italy. DOCG stands for the Controlled and Guaranteed Denomination of Origin that certifies the location and imposes quality controls to the production of wines, often becoming a selling point and status of the wines. The Prosecco di Valdobbiadene area along with the Conegliano, the hilly areas where the best quality of Prosecco are produced, acquired the DOCG status in 2010. The highest quality DOCG production remains in the historic “Superiore di Cartizze” micro-area, which is only 107 hectares in size but produces outstandingly opulent wines year after year.

Prosecco DOC - Controlled Denomination of Origin area was established in 2009 and comprises of five provinces of the Veneto region (Treviso, Venezia, Padova, Belluno and Rovigo) and four in the Friuli - Venezia Giulia one (Gorizia, Pordenone, Trieste and Udine). The soils of this much larger growing area are very diversified, from stony to clayey or sandy, yielding Prosecco that’s typically less intense and persistent than the DOCG’s.

Photo Credit: Mionetto

Mionetto was founded in 1887 by Francesco Mionetto in the small village of Valdobbiadene. In the heart of the Prosecco region where you see the rolling stretch of soft and sinuous hills, Mionetto produces exceptional wines with consistent national and international acclaim that equates for quality, tradition and innovation.

Photo Credit: Mionetto
The beauty of the hills takes in many physical forms. While some slopes roll gently towards the valley, others are much steeper. For protection from the prevailing cold alpine winds and icy rains from the North, vines are on Southern slopes. And southeast slopes are best. They face the morning sun, benefiting from the early sunlight and a morning jolt of CO2, needed for sugar production.

Why Mionetto Prosecco is perfect for Chinese Noodles?

When I say Chinese noodles, it means cooking noodle dishes with typical Chinese seasonings, condiments and Chinese cooking methods. The key concept in my cooking here is to use what you already have, improvise, innovate and cook to your own taste, “wow”ing yourself and your families with versatility and yumminess!

Mionetto’s Prosecco DOCG and DOC are really Asian food friendly in so many ways. These Proseccos, which are inherently light, crisp, fruity and aromatic, can deal with the complex tastes (e.g., savory, spicy, garlicky, salty, creamy) that come from the typical Chinese seasonings . While the fresh floral and tropical fruity notes and cleanliness are pleasure on the nose and palate, Mionetto Prosecco’s soft citrus and subtle nutty notes stimulate your appetite for more yummy noodles.

Cartizze DOCG Dry (SRP$35); Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Extra Dry (SRP$15.99); Mionetto Prosecco Organic Extra Dry (SRP$18.99)  

Cartizze DOCG Dry (Shop Here)

As the stand-out of Mionetto’s Luxury collection, this elegant Cartizze luminates golden highlights and releases impressions of apple and pear, alongside an undertone of citrus and glazed almond. On the palate it is creamy, well-balanced, quite structured for a Prosecco, and has lingering tiny bubbles. Its residual sugar is 24-26% g/l with an acidity of 5.8-6% g/l, qualifying as a dry Prosecco. I found Cartizze particularly delicious with the four Chinese noodles (see below) that are made from whole wheat pasta. The nuttiness and density of the noodles do play out well with the sugary almond and creamy notes of this wine.

Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Extra Dry (Shop Here) 

Another Prosecco in the Luxury collection, the Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Extra Dry Prosecco has long-lasting bead of pin-point bubbles. Its rich bouquet is reminiscent of rich floral bouquet and emphatic impressions of apple, white peach and sour mango, with a subtle touch of lemon. Its residual sugar is 17-19% g/l with an acidity of 5.6-6% g/l, qualifying as an extra dry Prosecco. The creamy mayo salmon cold noodle is to die for when pairing with this Prosecco. The wine’s acidity adds freshness to the salmon sauce and calms the spiciness coming from the Sriracha sauce.

Mionetto Prosecco Organic Extra Dry (Shop Here) 

This Prosecco is a delightful refresher with perfume of delicate elderflowers on the nose and an explosive of green apples on the palate. It’s crisp and floral that I found it a perfect accompaniment for the curry lamb noodle and the cold noodle in the ginger and scallion infused oil.

Six Chinese Noodles – Using Pantry Ingredients

During pandemic, the grocery shopping experience is not fun but rather stressful - social distancing, wearing a mask and being germaphobia. Using ingredients already available in the pantry to cook a meal and being creative and improvised becomes a status quo. However, by no means, we will shortchange the flavors of the dishes you put out there as daily meals or for any celebrations. The key prep for these noodle dishes is having the basic Chinese condiments and seasonings handy in your pantry.

The six Chinese noodles I am preparing are:

  • Stir-fried whole wheat spaghetti with minced garlic and oyster sauce;
  • Stir-fried whole wheat spaghetti with sliced garlic, white pepper and red chili flakes;
  • Whole wheat pasta tossed in sesame and soya sauce and topped with sliced cucumber and any cooked chicken;
  • Whole wheat spaghetti tossed in mayo, lemon and Sriracha sauce and mixed in canned salmon and blanched string beans;
  • Korean cold noodle mixed in salty ginger and scallion infused oil;
  • Stir-fried flat Chinese noodle in curry powder and thinly sliced or ground lamb. 

Six Chinese Noodles

Making ginger and scallion infused oil in a small sauce pan; adding fresh lemon juice to mayo,  Sriracha sauce and the canned salmon  

Ingredients (widely available in major grocers or Asian grocery stores):

·       Soya sauce

·       Oyster sauce

·       Sesame/Tahini sauce 

·       Sriracha sauce

·       Whole wheat spaghetti or any type of pasta

·       Korean cold noodle 

·       Chinese flat noodle 

·       Scallion

·       Ginger

·       Garlic cloves

·       Red Chili Pepper Flakes

·       Curry powder (turmeric powder, cumin powder, garam masala powder

·       White pepper

·       Mayo

·       Canned salmon

·       Lemon

·       Sliced lamb or slices of roast beef cold cut

·       Store bought roasted chicken

How to:

1. Garlic and oyster sauce noodle: if you are getting tired of cooking spaghetti with the same old tomato or Alfredo sauce, give this whole wheat spaghetti a try and no doubt it will become your favorite. Depending on how much you like garlic…the more the merrier in my case. Peel and mince at least five cloves for half a pound of spaghetti. Heat up olive oil in a frying pan and stir fry the garlic until golden brown. Toss into the pre-cooked (al dente) spaghetti, add 1 tbsp of oyster sauce for every half a pound of spaghetti you put in. Add the pasta water in the pan until the spaghetti is moist and the oyster is evenly dissolved. It’s perfect to serve it warm or at room temperature.

2. Garlic, white pepper and red chili pepper flake noodle: This is a spicy noodle dish. Pan-frying the spaghetti with sliced garlic and red chili pepper flakes in olive oil is very Italian. I add white pepper powder, which has more heat than black pepper, to kick up the spiciness. Prior to tossing the cooked noodle in the pan, use olive oil to fry up the garlic, white pepper and red chili flakes so the dried spices can release its aromas.  

 3. Cold spaghetti tossed in sesame and soya sauce and topped with sliced cucumber and any cooked chicken: Start with mixing 4 tbsp sesame/Tahini sauce, 1 tbsp soya sauce and 1 tbsp of sugar and 4 tbsp of hot water all together until the sauce can coat the back of a spoon. Adjust any of the condiments to the mixture to your liking. Hand shred the chicken and slice cucumber and put it atop the cooked spaghetti. Drizzle the sauce over the chicken, cucumber and noodle. This can be served at room temperature or cold. This is a great way to use up your store bought or left-over roasted chicken. Substituting with chicken or turkey cold cut is equally tasty too.

4. Spaghetti tossed in mayo, lemon and Sriracha sauce and mixed in canned salmon and blanched string beans: 
To talk about complementing Prosecco, this spaghetti salad is a no brainer. Mix a cup of mayo with a can of salmon (completely drain the liquid inside), juice of half a fresh lemon, 1 tbsp of Sriracha sauce (if you like spicy) and salt. While you are cooking the spaghetti, blanch a handful of string beans. Toss the spaghetti and string beans and the sauce into a large mixing bowl and  gently coat the noodles with the sauce. Oh man, this is so delicious and healthy. I have been making extra on this salmon sauce as I like it on a rustic toast too.

5. Korean cold noodle mixed in salty ginger and scallion infused oil: If you like Asian food, you may already have some sorts of dry noodles that can be used for cold noodle dishes in your pantry. These noodles are from Korea, Japan or Taiwan. The texture of these noodles are chewier then regular noodles when cooked and cooled, providing great mouthfeel. I like to heat up some sliced ginger, scallion and salt in olive oil and drizzle the oil on these cold noodles. It’s a vegan meal but with super big favor. This ginger and scallion infused oil is exceptionally good with grilled or steamed fish and seafood too. 

6. Stir-fried flat Chinese noodle in curry powder and thinly sliced lamb: This is a creation that incorporates a tad Muslim and Indian cooking. As you may also do when cooking in pandemic, you browse through your pantry and see what you have and what other seasonings you can use to cook. I see turmeric, cumin and garam masala powder…who knows when I got them but they are in fact killer seasonings with lamb. To “wake up” these pantry seasonings, add a bit olive oil and use low heat on the non-stick frying pan to toast the powder. Once you smell the aromas, quickly stir fry the thinly slice lamb and the pre-cooked flat noodles.  

Some people may be able to continue celebrating in person with their loved one in special occasions with wines and foods. Some can only drop off a gift bag (e.g., wines and masks) at their loved ones’ doorsteps and rely on technology to interact with them remotely, observing the stay-at-home guidelines and protecting their loved ones. Either way, it’s a show of love and care!

Disclosure: The wines in this post are samples. All opinions are my own.

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