Why would I be having wine for breakfast?
A. Because I can
B. Because it’s the best beverage to pair with the dish I had for breakfast
C. Because it’s Wine Blogging Wednesday and that’s the theme
D. All of the above
The answer, of course, is D. All of the above. OK… so I did this over the weekend, so answer A only applied then. But, today is Wine Blogging Wednesday, a monthly event when wine bloggers around the world all write about a common theme and one lucky blogger (the host) get’s to summarize all the contributions. The host today is El Jefe at El Bloggo Torcido, and the theme he has chosen is Wine For Breakfast.
When I first read about the theme I thought it would be a challenge, but then I got thinking… I tend to have some fairly savory dishes for breakfast that would pair well with wine. I could try to pair a wine with pancakes, french toast or some other sweet breakfast food, but while that would be a challenge it’s not really what I like to eat. And so the first part of this challenge for me was to figure out what dish I wanted to have for breakfast. I decided to make an Italian Strata with Arugula Walnut Pesto. This is a baked egg and cheese dish with caramelized onions and mushrooms inside it and it’s topped with the pesto—the recipe is below. It’s a delicious dish and screams to be paired with wine.
My choice of a wine to pair with this dish was the 2007 Santi Sortesele Pinot Grigio. Yes, it’s an Italian white wine for an Italian breakfast dish.
The acidity in the wine was perfect to cut through the fat in the cheese, egg yolks and olive oil. The onion in the strata and the garlic in the pesto also have a tendency to hang on your palate, but the combination of the acidity, the floral aromas and the soft fruit of the Pinot Grigio leave you with a nice clean and bright palate.
There is a lot of rose / floral aroma on the nose of the Sortesele Pinot Grigio, along with a bit of apricot and some nutty aromas. On the palate it’s green apple, apricot and lime. It’s bright, clean and acidic. The finish is a little quick, but all told it’s a decent Pinot Grigio.
Wine: Santi Sortesele
Varietal: Pinot Grigio
Italian Strata with Arugula Walnut Pesto
Put the strata together the night before and refrigerate it, then you just have to pop it in the oven in the morning. You can easily make the pesto topping while the strata is baking. It makes a great breakfast or brunch, but really I’d enjoy it at any meal.
1 medium onion, sliced
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter (the real stuff)
5 cups Italian bread, in 1 inch cubes
2 cups shredded provolone
6 large eggs
1 3/4 cups milk
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
- Heat the oil and butter in a skillet
- Caramelize the onions over medium-low heat
- Add the mushrooms and saute until tender
- Put half of the bread cubes in the bottom of a lightly greased 2.5 quart casserole dish
- Top with half of the onion/mushroom mixture, then half the provolone; repeat layers
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, mustard, salt and pepper
- Pour the egg mixture over the strata
- Cover and refrigerate overnight
- Preheat the oven to 350°
- Bake uncovered for 45 minutes at 350° or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean
- Add pesto topping after plating individual servings
3 cups (packed) arugula leaves
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup fresh Parmesan cheese
1 garlic clove
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Toast the walnuts lightly in a dry pan, let cool to room temperature
- Add the arugula, walnuts, Parmesan cheese and garlic to a food processor and chop until fine
- With the food processor running, add olive oil until the pesto reaches the desired texture (it should be thick, but liquid enough to run off a spoon). To be honest, the 1/2 cup is a guess. I never measure, but just pour until it looks right.