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Palmina Challenge #2


Before our next Sunday food challenge starts in July, I am doing a self-imposed challenge - to prepare the suggested recipe from Palmina Winery along with one of their wine club selections. This time my challenge is Spring Meatballs & Spinach Potato Casserole with Barbera.

A little wine history from Palmina:

Barbera has often been called the "people's wine", vinified from a much-loved grape that grows easily, produces wines of great color, soft tannins and lively acidity that can be enjoyed relatively early in their life. In Italy, it is grown in the same regions as Nebbiolo, and is thought of as the good-natured counterpart to the finicky Barolos and Barbarescos. There is a saying in Piedmonte that Barbera is "what you drink while waiting for the Barolo". And what a delight it is! So beloved that in the 19th and 20th century, it was brought to California by the waves of Italian immigrants who settled here, but wanted a bit of the "old country" in their new home.

The challenge dishes turned out very well. I will definitely make them again. The wine pairing was wonderful too - we definitely loved the barbera!



Here is my previous post in the Palmina challenge series:

Palmina Challenge #1

Here is the link to the recipes and tasting notes for the Spring shipment - three wines and three recipes. The third one shown is:

Spring Meatballs & Spinach Potato Casserole with Barbera

Serves 6 people

Spring is a great time of year, the oven can still be used to bake, but dishes can start being a bit lighter. The lamb meatballs are lightly scented with mint, not needing any additional sauce, but for those who love having something to dip their meatballs in, feel free to make a simple tomato sauce to have with the meatballs. Enjoy!!

Spinach Potato Casserole
3 cups Spinach, rinsed and dried
1 Egg
1/2 cup Ricotta Cheese
1/4 cup Chopped Onion
1/4 cup Parmiggiano Cheese, grated
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 cup Breadcrumbs
4 Medium Potatoes, washed and thinly sliced
1/4 cup Chicken Broth
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 450.

1. Toss the spinach, egg, ricotta, onion and half of the Parmiggiano together.

2. Oil the bottom of a casserole dish and sprinkle it with the breadcrumbs. Add a layer of potato slices, then sprinkle lightly with Parmiggiano and a very little salt and pepper. Repeat for three layers of potato slices.

3. Add the chicken broth and top with the spinach mix and sprinkle with the remaining Parmiggiano. Cover with foil and bake 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 20 minutes or until top is lightly browned. Remove from oven, cover with foil and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Cut into even slices.

1 1/2 pounds Ground Lamb
1 Yellow Onion, finely chopped
2 Celery Stalks, finely chopped
2 Carrots, finely chopped
2 Eggs
1/2 cup Breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus some for the cookie sheet
3 tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
1/2 cup Ricotta Cheese
3 tablespoons mint, finely chopped
Salt and Pepper

Mix the ingredients, but not too long. Pinch off a small portion of meatball mixture and roll into 1/2" balls and place them 1/4" apart on an oiled cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Using a spatula, scrape the meatballs off the cookie sheet and turn over and cook for another 5-7 minutes until slightly browned.

Comments (2)

My vegetarian husband would love the potato casserole. It is not too hot to use the oven up here in the PNW. The lamb would be perfect for a wine tasting party.

I also love Barbera. It is such a food friendly red and a bit lighter than Cab or Syrahs. I wish I could find more here in Seattle. Not a wide selection. A few mostly from Italy. I'll have to check the California sections to see if there are more from CA.


I think there are quite a few Barberas being made in the Paso Robles area now.

Check when you come to Slow Bowl next year. Albertson's there has a wonderful wine selection.

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The previous post in this blog was Prosecco Shrimp ala Debbie.

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