André Tchelistcheff is Alive and Well!

It is quite rare that we are offered the opportunity to taste a wine from our birth year. Tonight I had that privilege, and what an honor it was!

The 1968 Beaulieu Vineyard (BV) Estate Bottled ‘Beaumont’ Pinot Noir from Napa Valley.
For those of you who are new to wine or new to tasting older vintages, wines are truly like people…The great ones really do get better with age!

First of all, this wine is a very rare bottle of BV Pinot Noir from the time when the Latour family still owned the winery and the great André Tchelistcheff still had his hand in the wine-making process; a man whom Robert Mondavi referred to as…”a fascinating man, brilliant, stimulating, creative – a catalyst for the world of wine.”…“I know of no one who has been more helpful to the industry.  His teachings and consultations internationally, without doubt, improved the quality of winemaking in our country. 

When we first opened the wine, I thought…”it’s dead…it’s done…past peak…what a shame”. But we decided to leave it in the glass to see what would happen. Well…she opened up and began to express herself in all her glory!

A truly elegant wine with notes of truffles, dark cherries and licorice. The sweet nose was addictive and the fruit showed surprisingly well for a wine this old. It had all the qualities that you would find in a great Barolo but without the tannic grip.

We enjoyed it with herb-roasted chicken, which always pairs well with older red wines.



Champagne Lallier Premier Cru Rosé Brut NV
Spicy Grilled Shrimp, White Beans & Smoked Bacon
Involtini of Eggplant, Ricotta & Pomodoro
Baked Clams

2004 Bouchard, Meursault Perriers
Fresh Linguine with Seafood, Garlic, Wine & Butter
Seafood Risotto

1968 Beaulieu Vineyard, ‘Beaumont’ Pinot Noir
1999 Luigi Einaudi, ‘Nei Cannubi’ Barolo

1998 Clinet, Pomerol
Herb Roasted Chicken, Rosemary Yukon Gold Potatoes



Sweet Potato Gnocchi in Sage-Butter

For the Gnocchi:
1 cup whole milk ricotta
1 cup sweet potato, peeled, roughly chopped and cooked
2 eggs
2 cups Parmigiano Reggiano
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1 teaspoon nutmeg

Making the Gnocchi:
See Recipe Here

For the Sauce:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
6 tablespoons chopped fresh sage leaves 
Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook until butter solids are brown and have a toasty aroma, swirling pan occasionally, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add chopped sage (careful, mixture will bubble up). Turn off heat. Season sage butter generously with salt and pepper.
Add the warm gnocchi and gently toss to coat.
Finish with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and serve!


© Giovanni Cucullo 2010

Anolini in Brodo

Anolini is a small and round stuffed pasta, sometimes with crimped edges. The pasta is typically 1 to 2 inches in diameter and may also be called tortelli.

This recipe is centuries old and comes from Italy’s gastronomic capital – Parma.

  • Beef, bones and vegetables are cooked very slowly in wine and stock for 8 to 10 hours (think overcooked pot roast). When the meat begins to fall apart push everything through a strainer, extracting as much juice as possible. Discard the meat since all its flavor is now in the cooking juices. Place the juice back into a small pot and boil for about 10 minutes. Allow the sauce to cool.
  • Combine the cooled sauce with toasted breadcrumbs, lots of Parmigiano-Reggiano and a touch of nutmeg. Taste for salt. Add a few eggs to bind, blend well and refrigerate. If you feel the urge to splurge, add some chopped black truffles to the mixture.
  • When you’re pasta dough is ready, dot the dough with a row of the filling and top with another sheet of dough.



Cut out the anolini shapes using a 1 to 2 inch round cutter and press all the air out. Spread them out on a baking sheet coated with flour and corn meal.

To serve:

Bring chicken stock to a boil, add the anolini and cook until tender. Cooking time will vary according to how dry your fresh pasta is. Ladle the pasta and broth into soup bowls and top with a generous amount of Parmigiano-Reggiano.


© Giovanni Cucullo 2010

Curried Pumpkin Gnocchi

Fall is full of culinary options and pumpkins provide endless cooking possibilities.  If I’m not experimenting with a new pumpkin soup, I’m most likely trying to find an exciting sauce to pair with my fluffy pumpkin gnocchi.

For the Gnocchi:
1 cup whole milk ricotta
1 cup pumpkin, peeled, roughly chopped and cooked
2 egg
2 cups Parmigiano Reggiano
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling

Making the Gnocchi:
See Recipe Here

For the Sauce:
I made this sauce spontaneously and never recorded my ingredients or recipe. The basic idea is to toast several Indian spices (think Garam Masala) in a pan, add some curry powder and turmeric, one minced hot chile pepper and some olive oil. Let this cook together to release all the aromas. Add vegetable or chicken stock, reduce, drop in the cooked gnocchi and finish with butter and salt.

Let me know what you did and how it turned out!