Romantic Wine Pairings for the Holiday

Stumped for what to pair with your special evening’s meal? Our sommelier trained staff has the following selections for your special meal while cooking at home.

First, we selected a range of wines from our collection of boutique wineries in California and paired them with meals that match the quality of these wines. We hope you enjoy these as much as we did making them!

Recipe and Photo Credit to Food52
  • 1 pound stew beef, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • large bay leaf, fresh or dried
  • large garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • yellow onions, cut into half-inch slices
  • medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 8 ounces button mushrooms, cleaned
  • Red wine, enough to cover meat (see directions)
  1. Pat the beef dry and set aside. In a bowl, add the flour, salt, and pepper and stir to combine. Add the meat and toss to coat (it’s okay if it’s a little sticky).
  2. Turn the Instant Pot onto the medium Sauté setting and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. When the oil is hot, add a single layer of meat. Wait for it to brown on one side, and then turn over. When browned on both sides, remove and place on a plate. Repeat with the remaining meat until it is all browned. Set browned meat aside.
  3. Add butter to the Instant Pot. When it is melted and foaming, add bay leaf and fry until fragrant. Add the onions and stir until translucent. Stir in garlic and carrots and fry for about 3 minutes. When garlic is no longer raw, add tomato paste and mix with the vegetables. Fry for 1 minute. You can add a little bit of wine if things start to brown too quickly. Stir in the mushrooms and cook for about 2 minutes.
  4. Add thyme, meat and enough wine to just cover all the solids. Turn the Instant Pot off. Place the cover on the Instant Pot, making sure to turn the knob to the Pressure Cook setting. Cook on high pressure for 45 minutes.
  5. When finished cooking, release the pressure and uncover pot. Turn on the sauté setting to high and reduce until you reach the desired consistency (and to cook off any alcohol). Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with a baguette, egg noodles, or roasted potatoes. Recipe and Photo Credit to Food52
Recipe and Photo Credit to Food52

A salty, yolk-rich sauce clinging to long noodles, hiding crispy bits of something savory and smoky? Surely I could approximate that without the guanciale.

In this vegetarian recipe, the smokiness comes not from cured meat but from finely grated smoked mozzarella that gets whisked with the egg yolks, then softened with hot pasta water. The mozzarella won’t melt completely, which means you’ll get some strands of cheese in your final bowl of pasta. As long as those clumps aren’t pieces of scrambled egg, all is well.

As for the crispy bits (the “guanciale”), you’ll sauté mushrooms with garlic and chile flakes in a separate pan as the pasta boils. When I first made this recipe, I used somewhat-elusive black trumpet mushrooms, which are particularly smoky, but any type of wild mushroom (or even white button mushrooms) will do the trick. You’ll add the mushrooms—and the spicy oil they’ve cooked them in—to the pasta once it’s been coated in the eggy, cheesy sauce.

  • 8 ounces spaghetti
  • 2 ounces (1 small handful) wild mushrooms, preferably black trumpet, cleaned with woody stems removed
  • large egg + 2 large egg yolks
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup (4 1/2 ounces) finely grated smoked mozzarella
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red chile flakes
  • garlic clove, smashed and roughly chopped
  • 1 handful grated Parmesan, for serving
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt generously, then cook the pasta to al dente (a couple of minutes less than specified in the recipe instructions).
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and chile flakes in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, then sauté until the mushrooms are cooked through and starting to crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and stir until toasted and fragrant, 1 minute more. Set aside.
  3. Now whisk the egg, yolks, cheese, and a generous amount of salt and pepper in a large bowl that can fit over the pot you’re using to boil the pasta.
  4. When the pasta is nearly done, reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water in a liquid measuring glass. Use about 3 tablespoons (a bit less than 1/4 cup) to temper the egg mixture—pour it slowly into the eggs while you constantly whisk. This should also begin to melt the cheese. Then use tongs to transfer the pasta to the bowl (but don’t drain the water from the pot). Set the bowl back over the pot of boiling water—like a double boiler!—and use tongs to coat the pasta in the egg-cheese mixture, until eggs thicken and leave a trail in their wake. Add a bit more pasta water by the tablespoon if you need to. The cheese will stay a bit clumpy—don’t worry. Add the mushrooms and their oil and toss to combine.
  5. Serve immediately, topped with Parmesan cheese. Season with additional salt and pepper. Recipe and Photo Credit to Food52
Recipe and Photo Credit to Food52
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon coriander, toasted and ground
  • 1 teaspoon cumin, toasted and ground
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • lamb shanks
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • cloves garlic
  • large yellow onion, diced
  • carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • celery ribs, cut into chunks
  • 2 sprigs rosemary, de-stemmed and finely chopped
  • 2 sprigs thyme, de-stemmed and finely chopped
  • Zest of 1/2 a large orange
  • 1/2 cup good balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  1. Whisk flour, salt, black pepper, coriander, cumin, and cinnamon together. Roll the lamb shanks in the flour mixture until they are coated.
  2. Heat a small Dutch oven (3 to 6 quarts) over medium-high heat and sear the lamb shanks on all sides until a good crust forms — this will take 8 to 10 minutes total.
  3. Transfer lamb shanks to a plate and preheat your oven to 325° F.
  4. Scrape any crusty bits from the lamb-searing off the bottom of the Dutch oven (don’t discard, just scrape them up to loosen them and prevent them from burning).
  5. Place the Dutch oven over medium heat and add the garlic, onion, carrots, celery, rosemary, thyme, and orange zest. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and translucent, 10 to 15 minutes.
  6. Stir in the vinegar and cook until it has evaporated slightly and thickened further, about 10 to 12 minutes.
  7. Return the lamb shanks to the pot and pour the white wine and chicken stock over them. Season the broth with salt to taste, cover the pot, and place it in the oven until the meat is very tender and falling off the bones, about 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
  8. Remove the shanks from the pot, covering them with foil to keep them warm, and strain the liquid into a saucepan. Discard the solids.
  9. Cook the sauce over medium heat until it has reduced by half (it should yield about 1 1/2 cups). This should take 10 to 15 minutes.
  10. Season the sauce to taste and pour it over the lamb shanks. Recipe and Photo Credit to Food52

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