Zinfandels from the Napa Valley

Cooking with Audrey and William

Now that I have a teenage boy to feed I thought a pasta dish would be a fantastic choice for In Our Kitchen. I had made a recipe from the February 2017 issue of Bon Appetite Magazine and we really enjoyed the dish. I enjoyed the flavors with a Sauvignon Blanc. (Yes, I enjoy wine other than Zinfandel)

Although I felt it would pair fine with Zinfandel, I put some thought into changes that would make it pair even better. With my ideas and a suggestion from my son on how he would improve the dish I cooked it again and opened a bottle D-cubed Napa Valley Zinfandel. I felt the wine really flowed with the dish and my son was happy with the changes.

Here is the link to the original recipe from their "Healthyish" tab:

The changes we made were to use bacon to add a hint of smokiness, also additions of crushed red pepper and some dried Italian herbs while cooking the garlic and Kale together and to finish with 1/3 cup cream. The addition of the red pepper flakes and Italian herbs added a hint of heat and herb flavors that helped it go with the spices of the Zinfandel. The addition of the cream (my son's idea) gave the pasta a little more richness which helped to balance with the body of the Zinfandel. I also increased the pasta from 12 ounces to 1 pound since I have a 13 year old boy to feed ;-)


4 Servings

  • Kosher salt
  • 3 large or 4 smaller bunches kale, any type (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 3 ounces bacon
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 t Crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 t Italian Seasoning
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 16 ounces spaghetti, thick spaghetti, bucatini, or other long strand pasta
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • Parmesan and crushed red pepper flakes (for serving)
  • Flaky sea salt

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, strip kale leaves from ribs and stems, then tear leaves crosswise into 2"-3" pieces. Cook kale in boiling water until bright green and slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Using tongs, transfer kale to a colander and rinse under cold water, tossing; squeeze out excess liquid from leaves. Keep water at a boil (you'll use it for the pasta).

Whack garlic with the side of a chef's knife to crush; peel off skins. Cook bacon in pan until crisp, remove bacon to paper towel for use later, use rendered oil for next step. Cook garlic, stirring occasionally, until sizzling, about 3 minutes. Season very generously with black pepper and cook, smashing with a wooden spoon, until cloves break into rough pieces, soften, and look golden. Add Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper flakes and kale to pot and cook, stirring often, until darkened in color and very tender, about 8 minutes (garlic will break into even smaller pieces). Season with kosher salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, cook pasta, stirring occasionally, until very al dente (2-3 minutes less than package directions).

Using tongs add pasta to kale; splash in about 1 cup pasta cooking liquid, 1/3 cup cream, and the crushed bacon from before. Cook, tossing and adding more pasta cooking liquid as needed, until sauce lightly coats pasta, about 2 minutes.

Serve pasta topped with Parmesan, red pepper flakes, sea salt, and more black pepper.

D-CUBED CELLARS - www.dcubedcellars.com
Post Office Box 694, St. Helena, CA 94574 - Tel 707.287.0236