Hosting family dinner – how to properly match food and wine? (w. recipes)
Sponsored. This post is made in collaboration with Hardys Wines.
As you have probably realized by now, I am such a foodie and there are few things that I enjoy more than a good meal – maybe except a good meal in good company with some good wine ;) I come from a family who are major foodies and wine lovers (on both sides of the family) and to me there is nothing better than when we get together and enjoy each others company over a good lunch or dinner. While most of my family are very fond of wine and know quite a bit about it, then I must admit that I am still a total wine novice. I only just learned to drink and truly enjoy white wine last year and my palate is still quite new to red wine. I am very eager to learn more about wine though, especially when it comes to matching meals with the right kind of wine, so when I was asked whether I would like to try two of Hardys Wines – the Hardys Stamp Sauvignon Blanc and Hardys Stamp Shiraz – where I would have to match the wines with suitable dishes, then I of course accepted the challenge! From my family I know the importance of good wine and matching it with the right kinds of foods and flavors, but even though I am often the one who cooks, then I usually never choose the wine, so this was an interesting challenge for me.
I invited my sister and two cousins over to my place for a little two course family get-together that I would create around the two wines mentioned above. I always do my grocery shopping online, so I picked up my laptop and looked though the virtual aisles to find inspiration for my dishes. I started with the white wine that I wanted to serve for the first course, based on the tasting notes it is a dry and light-bodied wine with tropical flavors of passion fruit and guava with grassy notes and a crunchy acid finish, which makes the wine ideal to be paired with seafood and chicken dishes. With that and my guests in mind I found the perfect starter, Norwegian lobster tails (jomfruhummerhaler), which is something that we often used to make together, but haven’t had in ages. I wanted to keep the dish quite simple, both to allow the flavors of the Norwegian lobster tails and wine to stand on their own, but also because that is how our parents used to make it.
Starter – Norwegian lobster tails
This dish brings back so many memories of the four of us and our parents enjoying this messy treat in the garden under the summer sun. It is definitely a favorite dish of mine, but when your hear the ingredients, then you will probably understand why I do not eat it very often – here’s a hint, lots and lots of butter ;)
I am very happy with my choice as the starter went down like a treat and so did the white wine, which nicely complemented the fairly simple dish. I really love how the simplicity of the dish allows the lobster tails to stand on their own, so the main focus is on them and the white wine just like I intended. As I am still quite new to drinking wine I never used to enjoy this meal with wine like my family did, but I must say that I am finally starting to understand the importance of matching a dish like this with the right bottle of wine. It truly takes the dish and the flavors to the next level.
To be honest I was actually a bit surprised by just how much we all enjoyed this wine as the four of us usually tend to go for the sweeter wines (haha yep the girlier wines, I am not even ashamed to admit it!) and this is a dry wine, but it was a big hit and there was not a drop left when we were done with the first course. This was definitely a bit of an eyeopener, I think I will have to expand my horizon when it comes to white wines, my palate seems to be changing – or should I say evolving?
The best thing about this dish (apart from being beyond delicious and such a treat!) is that it is incredibly easy to make and doesn’t really require a recipe. Simply add the cut and cleaned Norway lobster tails (jomfruhummerhaler) to an ovenproof dish along with lots of butter (it needs to at least cover the bottom of the tray), salt + pepper and a dash of curry. Add them to a pre-heated oven at 200 c / 400 f and bake them for about 15 minutes until they are tender – make sure to turn them over a couple of times to cover them in the butter.
Serve the lobster tails as they are straight out the oven. I served them with with bread on the side, if you are not affraid of a little butter then you can dip the bread in the butter from the lobster tails, haha I know it probably seems a bit gross, but it tastes absolutely amazing! I served the lobster tails with avocado and lemon slices as well and of course a bottle of Hardys Stamp Sauvignon Blanc.
My favorite tomato pasta dish – quick, simple and beyond delicious!
For the main course I had to make a dish that would go well with the Hardys Stamp Shiraz, it is a dry medium-bodied red wine with fruit intensity of raspberries and cherries with vanilla oak influence, which nicely pairs with rich tomato based pasta dishes. Haha and I only know that because I did my research, but it sounded cool right? ;) I knew right away that I wanted to serve the wine with my favorite tomato pasta dish, it is one of my go-to’s when I want to make something that is super quick and simple, but still oh so delicious. I actually used a splash of the red wine in the sauce and it just took the flavor to a whole new level! As I mentioned above I am still learning to drink red wine (and so is my sister), so I am a bit like a fish out of water here, but my cousins enjoyed the wine and agreed the it suited the pasta dish nicely + the added wine to the sauce helped the two complement each other perfectly. So all in all I am quite the happy camper, I am still a total novice when it comes to wine (Rome wasn’t built in a single day), but the dinner went perfectly, we had the best time and the girls thoroughly enjoyed both the food and the wine (+ the combinations I had chosen), so it was definitely a success! :)
You can find the recipe for my tomato pasta dish below ❤︎
Ingredients – 4 small servings:
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 small handful fresh basil, chopped
400 grams of mashed/crushed tomatoes
A splash of red wine – I used Hardys Stamp Shiraz
1-2 tablespoons finely grated parmesan cheese
1/2 – 1 dl (0.2 – 0.4 cup) cream
Sea salt + pepper
250 grams grams fresh pasta
Garnish: grated parmesan cheese and chopped fresh basil or parsley
I served the dish with focaccia bread and a simple green salad as well. You can find the directions below.
Oh and please keep in mind that the servings on this one are quite small since we were already pretty full from the starter + I served both courses with bread on the side. Feel free to double the recipe if you serve it on its own.
Start by by cooking the chopped onion in a little olive oil in a saucepan on medium heat for about 5 minutes until it is lightly golden. Then add in the crushed garlic and chopped basil. Cook it for another minute or two and then add the tomato and red wine as well. Season it with a little bit of sea salt and pepper and let it simmer for 10 minutes. Add the parmesan cheese and the cream (adjust amounts to your liking) and let it simmer for 5-10 more minutes. Boil the fresh pasta according to the instructions and serve it with the tomato sauce, garnish it with freshly grated parmesan and fresh basil or parsley, a crisp green salad and focaccia bread on the side and last, but not least, a nice bottle of red wine – I of course served it with the Hardys Stamp Shiraz. Enjoy!