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


Beef Cheek Ravioli

Here is my version of the dish made famous by Babbo restaurant in NYC.
I made them a little bigger in size, so they can also be called raviolo.

4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 white onion, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
2 lb. beef cheeks or beef brisket, cubed
2 cups red wine
1/2 cup tomato sauce 
1 tsp. fresh chopped rosemary
Pasta dough (recipe here)
2 tbsp. Kosher salt
2 cups unsalted butter
1/4 cup chicken livers, diced
2 tbsp. black truffles, sliced
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/2 cup Pecorino-Romano cheese, grated



1. Heat olive oil in skillet; sauté onion and celery over low heat until soft but not brown. Increase heat and add beef and chicken livers; cook to brown. Add wine; bring to boil, then add tomatoes and rosemary. Place, covered, in 400F oven for 1 hour.
2. Cool, skim excess fat and purée meat in food processor. Fold in the chopped truffles. You could also add the truffles to the sauce just before serving.
3. Roll out dough using pasta machine on thinnest setting; make two very long sheets of pasta. Place 1 tbsp. dollops of meat filling on one pasta sheet, spaced 1 inch apart. Cover fillings with other pasta sheet. Shape and cut into ravioli.
4. Cook pasta in plenty of salted water.
5. In large sauté pan, heat butter over high heat. Add a few tablespoons pasta water or chicken stock to create an emulsion.
6. Add pasta to sauté pan with half of parsley and half of cheese and gently toss. Garnish with parsley and remaining cheese.

I also made smaller cuts of ravioli called raviolini.


© Giovanni Cucullo 2010

Marinated Eggplant – Melanzane Sott’ Olio

I picked all the eggplant from the garden and decided to make a famous Calabrese snack – Marinated Eggplant.

This recipe demonstrates how versatile eggplant really is, a perfect addition to antipasto or try a fork full on a sandwich!


6 medium eggplants
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
8 fresh basil leaves
6 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
2 teaspoon crushed red chile peppers
Coarse salt
Extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Trim the stems from the eggplants and peel them. Cut the eggplants in half crosswise, then into slices no thicker than ¼ inch. Cut each slice into ½ inch wide strips.
  2. Place the strips in a bowl, sprinkle with coarse salt and toss.
  3. Place the strips in a perforated pan or colander and allow them to drain at room temperature for no less than 4 hours. (My mother would cover the strips with a clean apron and then place a weight on top so the eggplant would drain thoroughly).
  4. Grab a handful of eggplant at a time and squeeze between the palms of your hands to remove excess moisture.
  5. Place the eggplant strips in a bowl and add the vinegar. Toss thoroughly and let rest for one hour.
  6. Select a Mason jar large enough to fit the eggplant strips.
  7. Layer the eggplant in the jar, evenly distributing the basil leaves, garlic slices, and red chile pepper. Press down on the eggplant and pour enough olive oil to cover. Close and refrigerate. The eggplant will absorb some of the oil with time so add more oil as needed. Let the eggplant marinate for several days before eating. Refrigerated they will keep for months.


Recipe taken from Ricette di Maria – Maria’s Recipes by Giovanni Cucullo

Cheese Plate with Fresh Fig Jam

Umbriaco, Sardinian Pepper, Devonshire, English Porter, Sopressata


My Fresh Fig Jam can be used in many ways. 
The jam is not too sweet and has a slight hint of bitter-orange which makes it the perfect accompaniment with a plate of artisanal cheese.


© Giovanni Cucullo 2010

Fresh Fettucine with Veal Ragu

One of my favorite pasta dishes because of the way the flavors slowly come together. This dish will taste unlike any meat sauce you may have ever tried and will surprise your palate with its use of cinnamon, and white wine instead of red wine. An elegant yet rich sauce; very aristocratic!

I had plenty of dandelion greens left, so I tossed them into the pasta at the last moment.




1 pound of your favorite pasta
8 ounces boneless veal shoulder, cut into strips
1 carrot, diced
1 large onion, diced
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups chardonnay
4 cups chicken broth
1 bay leaf
½ tablespoon cinnamon
½ tablespoon nutmeg
1-tablespoon coarse black pepper
1-cup Parmigiano-Reggiano

  1. In a large skillet heat some olive oil and cook the onions and carrots for 2 or 3 minutes.
  2. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper and bay leaf and cook until the onions soften.
  3. Add the veal and the remaining oil, stir briefly and cook until veal begins to brown.
  4. Add 1 cup of chardonnay and stir. Deglaze the pan by scraping all the meat from the bottom of the pan. Allow the wine to evaporate and let the veal brown again. Deglaze again with more wine and allow the wine to evaporate once again. Continue this process using the chicken broth one cup at a time until all has been used. After adding the last cup of broth, reduce heat and simmer for half hour.
  5. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Toss with pasta and Parmesan and serve.