One of the perks of blogging through Foodbuzz is that I’m a member of their Tastemakers program. This basically means that I get to try out free samples of new products from time to time from some of their sponsors. I’m required to disclose that so here it is – a few weeks ago I got a coupon in the mail for a free package of Biutoni fresh pasta! I decided to take them up on their offer and picked up a package of the Wild Mushroom Agnolotti. Honestly, I didn’t even know these were “agnolotti” until I re-read the package in the photo. I’ve been calling them ravioli all along.
Beacuse I do so much of it at home, with my friends in Eating About Beer and when I’m out eating in restaurants, I thought I should focus a little more on beer and food pairings here. The idea is usually either match flavors or contrast them but the ways in which beer can help elevate a meal or a dish are really varied. The flavor and carbonation levels of a beer can play with food in your mouth in ways wine can only dream of. The variety of possibilities is really endless.
Almost every time I make an Italian pasta dish it starts off with chopped fresh garlic and red chli flakes in olive oil. Sauteed just until it’s giving off some good aroma but before it starts to brown.
This was a super simple dish – after the garlic was good and smelly, I threw in the chopped broccolini and tossed it around in the garlic.
While that was working, I boiled the ravioli. For being packaged prepared food from the store, this pasta is really great. Lots of good flavor, awesome fresh pasta texture and really no complaints from me. Even though I love to make my own pasta pretty regularly, it’s really nice sometimes to have it fresh and not have to do anything but whip up some sauce.
After the broccolini sauteed for a few minutes, I threw in some Rogue Dead Guy Ale, the most flavorful beer I had on hand. To that I added some milk that I had warmed up in the microwave so it wouldn’t curdle when when it hit the hot sauce. Simmered that for a few minutes, salted to taste and done. Grana Padano cheese (very similar to Parmigiano Reggiano but cheaper) grated in and then poured the sauce over the pasta.
This sauce was totally inspired by a dish I had at Marvin in Washington, DC. The dish was a Belgian-style seafood stew called waterzooi and the base of the stew was an amazing creamy beery sauce. It was incredible. If you live in the DC area or are ever visiting… beer and food culture is totally blowing up right now in DC and there’s a lot of pretty exciting stuff going on.
Another healthy dusting of the Grana and voila!
Dead Guy is an Oregonian take on a Maibock. Maibock is a German style that is according to BeerAdvocate “lighter in color than other Bock beers and often has a significant hop character with a noticeable alcohol around the same as a traditional Bock.” It’s a rosy amber color and has a nice hoppiness. I’m not big on super hoppy beers but every once in a while I do enjoy them – especially when I’m eating something a little bit spicy. The hoppiness of the beer also added a little bit of floral flavor to the sauce.