Our favorite find in Solvang was the tasting room for Mandolina wines, a division of Lucas & Lewellen Vineyards. The tasting room itself is a wonderful shop full of Italian gourmet food products, cookbooks, gifts, art, ceramics and wine-related items. The wines are Italian varietals including Barbera, Pinot Grigio, Sangiovese, Nebbiolo, Moscato, and a "Super-Tuscan". We are even considering joining their wine club.
We had each sampled Mandolina wine with our dinner at Cafe Angelica. I enjoyed the Pinot Grigio, and Brad liked his Barbera. We bought a bottle of each to add to our Slow Bowl offerings. All cookbooks were 50% off, so I couldn't resist this one.
With the money I saved on the cookbook, I also brought home this "Cucina" sign for my kitchen.
The first recipe I tried from the cookbook was a real keeper! OMG, it is a perfect rustic pasta dish. Use the best olive oil and imported pasta you can find in this one!
I used Umbrian oil and this imported pasta called "Casarecce" from Costco.
1 bunch tender broccoli
3 T. extra virgin olive oil (plus another T. for drizzling)
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1/2 lb. sweet Italian sausage (I used hot)
1/2 c. water (I used white wine)
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 pound imported orchiette (I used Casarecce)
1/2 c. grated Pecorino Romano cheese (I used aged Parmigiano-Reggiano)
Trim and clean the broccoli, and cut into quarters. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and blanch broccoli for about two minutes, until tender, but still crisp. Drain and chop broccoli medium fine. Combine the garlic and olive oil in a large skillet. Cook over low heat for several minutes, until garlic releases aroma. Remove sausage from casings, and crumble into skillet with the garlic and oil. Cook until sausage looses its raw color. Add broccoli and toss. Add water/wine, salt, and pepper to taste.
Cook until broccoli begins to breaks down, and sausage is thoroughly cooked, pressing with back of wooden spoon.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in salted water until al dente. Drain pasta, drizzle with additional olive oil, and toss. Add broccoli-sausage mixture and grated cheese. Toss until cheese is integrated into the sauce. Oh it is SOOOOOOO good!