There’s no better way to spend the evening than cooking your favorite recipe while sipping your favorite wine. Incorporating that wine into your recipe makes the experience even better. If you live in the North State, it’s easy to find good wines like those produced by Tehama Trail’s September Featured Farmer, Burnsini Vineyards & Winery in Cottonwood. Choose any of Burnsini’s seven handcrafted wines to drink and cook with and you’ll turn your meal into a memorable one.
Before you get started, here are a few tips from the Shasta-Cascade Regional Wine Cookbook, “Pleasures of the Vine,” to get you cooking with wine:
• Only cook with wine that you would drink.
• Always cook with fresh wines.
• Wine marinade will tenderize meat, add rich flavors and keep meat moist while it cooks.
• Sautéing vegetables in wine instead of butter or heavy oils will reduce calories, fat, cholesterol and salt intake.
• Instead of oil, try using white wine or dessert wine in your cake batter.
To make cooking with wine simple and savory, Shasta-Cascade Viticulture Association shares two recipes* using Burnsini Vineyards wines:
Burnsini Merlot Meatballs
1 bottle Burnsini Merlot
2-lb. bag frozen prepared meatballs
1 can whole cranberry sauce
1 bottle chili sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
Pour a glass of Burnsini Merlot for yourself and cooking partner. Next, place the meatballs into a slow cooker set on low. Mix the cranberry sauce, chili sauce and garlic together. Add in 1 cup of Burnsini Merlot. Mix thoroughly and pour over meatballs. Simmer in slow cooker on low for 4 to 6 hours. Add more Burnsini Merlot if the sauce becomes too thick. Serves 4 to 6.
Note: These meatballs are a favorite at our wine tastings!
Sweet Pepper Sauce with Italian Sausage
1 bottle Burnsini Vineyards Zinfandel
1 lb. bulk Italian sausage
2 T extra virgin olive oil (try Lucero Olive Oil)
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, chopped
1 small zucchini, sliced
1 8-12 oz. package sliced mushrooms
1 T dry basil
1 T dry parsley
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1 15 oz. can plum tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese for topping
Pour yourself and cooking partner a glass of Burnsini Zinfandel. Now brown the sausage in a medium skillet or sauté pan. Remove with a slotted spoon to a large saucepan. Add the olive oil, peppers, garlic, onion, zucchini, mushrooms, basil and parsley to the sausage skillet and sauté about 5 minutes. Add to the sausage in the large saucepan along with tomato sauce and plum tomatoes. Toss in at least a cup of Burnsini Zinfandel wine and simmer for about an hour. If sauce becomes too thick, thin it with vegetable broth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve over polenta, pasta or rice and top with Parmesan cheese. Serves 4 people.
Note: This dish pairs well with all Burnsini Vineyards wines. The sauce freezes nicely also if you want to double or triple the recipe.
Do you have a favorite recipe using Burnsini wine that you would like to share? We would love to hear from you in the comment section below.
To purchase Burnsini Vineyards wines or to schedule a private tasting, visit burnsini.com or call (530) 347-4765.
* Special thanks to Harold and Patti Cunningham, recipe authors, and Shasta-Cascade Viticulture association for sharing these must-try recipes.