Recipe 1: Cabernet Braised Short Ribs with Ravioli — It’s in the Sauce!

Just a brief reminder, the idea behind this challenge is to test the recent food and wine pairing phenomenon and Theory-Induced Blindness.

Most of what I consume (95%) grows within an hour to two hour drive from where I live, thus all of my meals are seasonal. To stay healthy, eat tasty food samples, and support the local economy I roam through farmers markets on weekend mornings, where I buy locally sourced ingredients for my meals. I’m a bit of a freak when it comes to buying organic and natural (spray free) ingredients for two reasons: health and taste. I eat everything (well, almost!) and consume a lot more wine than I ever have, so not to worry, this blog is going to feature a wide variety of recipes designed for every palate and every occasion.

Technically it’s still winter (even in California), so for my first recipe, I chose Rutherford Hill Winery’s Cabernet Braised Short Ribs with Ravioli. Thinking of dear family and friends in Chicago, this comfort dish will force you to justify the extra calories needed to survive the ugly windy city winters. On the upside, the recipe is simply phenomenal and worth every bit of extra treadmill, elliptical, and other sweat-pouring cardio time.

Using Wine Folly’s food and wine pairing method chart and Rutherford Hills’ recommended Cabernet Sauvignon pairing, I purchased a $15 Cab for the sauce and chose to enjoy Foley Johnson’s 2012 Handmade Cabernet Sauvignon with the meal. Makes sense, right? You already opened a bottle of Cab to cook your meal. But would you add 2 cups or two-thirds of a $75 bottle of wine (the recipe is for a party of six) to make the sauce? I wouldn’t. Having made Anthony Bourdain’s boeuf bourguignon over and over again, using a $10 bottle of Pinot Noir or Burgundy, there’s no need to add more expensive wine to your sauce. I applied the same strategy for this recipe and it worked quite well.

It’s all about the Sauce!

The sauce is what made this dish stand out and I’m pretty sure it was the combination of Brandy and Cab. The reasonably priced One Hope 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon that I picked up at Whole Foods for the first time beautifully paired with the dish, and since I scaled the recipe to feed two people instead of six, I had more than enough wine left for the evening. Foley Johnson’s Cab will need to wait, but there’s absolutely no hurry, it’s not going to spoil overnight ;) Back to the sauce — its robust fruit aroma hits your nose with each bite. It’s as powerful as the flavor of the dish (which melts in your mouth) and feels like a perfectly synchronized wine and food dance. Yes, for real.

To test all the theories, I opened a bottle of Sebastiani’s 2014 Patrick’s Vineyard Chardonnay , then quickly corked it and set aside for the next day. The dish has overpowered my favorite Chard, proving too strong for my palate.

This must all sound so “jammy”, but let me assure you, I am not paid to write this blog. All the vendors and products mentioned here are personal preferences. The entire challenge is done out of pure passion for food and wine and because I like to torture myself from time to time by getting myself involved in activities, for which I have absolutely no time!

In summary:

  • I enjoyed beef with red wine more so than white wine. The dish overpowered the Chard despite its high alcohol content of 14.6% vs Cab’s 13.5%.
  • Theory-induced blindness proved that due to previous exposure to the Cab (sippin’ away while cooking) my senses (taste and smell) have adapted to it, thereby overpowering Chard.
  • The recipe rocked so if you’re suffering from a winter syndrome, set aside time to make this dish. It’s great for every occasion including a Tuesday night dinner in front of the TV while binge watching your favorite show or inviting company for the weekend.
  • It’s all about the sauce — make sure to check your meat every 30–45 min and freely add more wine (not water) if necessary.
  • Don’t worry if you don’t have any ravioli on hand. You can easily substitute with Israeli couscous or french baguette (that is if you have enough sauce to dip in the bread, I didn’t, but will make extra next time!).

Thanks for visiting my blog and ‘till next time lovers of wine!

Cabernet Braised Short Ribs with Ravioli