Ok, so I am doing it. Trying it. Ok, starting it anyway. I eat healthy. I exercise (sometimes more vigorously than others). And I can’t drop the last ten from my now 3-year-old “baby.” My sister has been eating the anti-inflammatory way since she discovered it, for the most part. She was motivated by arthritis but the weight loss is a welcome “side effect” so I am going to try. Which means no dairy, gluten, sugar, booze, etc. Which means that I won’t be 100% long-term, but I can be strict for a while and then do some figuring out what works for me.
So I went shopping yesterday for some new supplies but when I got home I realized I had one “last supper.” I should have planned ahead and made it more exciting, but I did want it to include wheat and dairy with a dash of decadence. So I did a play on Pasta Carbonara and popped open a wine I’ve been waiting to try all summer, Dane Cellars 2009 Chenin Blanc. I met the winemaker, Bart Hansen, at SXSW last spring and he sent me a few samples. I was trying to wait for other wine writers to taste them with me but summer schedules have not permitted any get-togethers. I got tired of waiting.
In typical fashion, I popped the cork while I was cooking to taste while my palate was clear. And just because. I think of Chenin as a summer wine, but last night I tasted early fall. Growing up near MacIntosh apple country, I have a weak spot for a crisp, slightly tart apple. That is exactly what I tasted when I tried the wine. Clean, tart early harvest MacIntosh apples. Add a touch of acid and floral and there you have it. The recipe I used suggested Sauvignon Blanc but this pairing worked well too. Basically what you want with Carbonara is some acid to cut the richness of the pancetta and cheese. The Chenin had that in spades. And at around $15, it nearly qualifies as a Monday wine.
I also didn’t have pancetta since this was on-the-fly gluttony, so I used olive oil and a touch of bacon grease I had in the freezer. While the pasta was cooking (no spaghetti, just wheat gemelli), I sautéed the garlic and thin ham strips until the garlic was soft and the ham was crisp. While that was happening I grated about a cup of parmesan cheese and mixed that in with two whisked eggs. When the pasta was just out of the water, I tossed it in the pan and added the egg/cheese mixture. (If you want to thin the sauce,add some pasta water). At the very end I added about a tablespoon of thinly sliced green onion, a touch I adopted from La Traviata.
It wasn’t fancy, but everyone loved it and it paired really well with the wine. The hubs even ate anything that was left on the kids’ plates. I’ll make it again, I think? Or if you know of a good vegan gluten-free version, let me know. (Or any other favorite adaptations).
So I won’t have a lot of new wines to share in the next couple weeks, or maybe I’ll have time to write about ones I’ve already had. What’s the worst that can happen? Either I lose that stubborn ten or I get to go back to Pasta Carbonara. I call that Win-Win.