“You broke my heart” (al) Fredo

So goes one of the more memorable lines of The Godfather trilogy. Michael Corleone delivers the kiss of death to his brother, Fredo. You can jog the old memory here:

I always think of that line when I hear or read or cook alfredo sauce. Obviously, it’s because the sauce and the character have the same name. But on a different level, it’s because I still remember tasting my mom’s alfredo sauce for the first time. And every time since. Originally her mother’s recipe, the family “alfredo” had a secret ingredient that’s really hard to put your finger on. And when I tried it for the first time it was soooo good it broke my heart. Still does.

So this past weekend, I popped open the freezer to find a not-so-discreetly hidden bag of homemade Swiss Chard Ravioli. It seems my son’s nonnie had popped them in there during a recent visit. Swiss chard ravioli are really the best; wholesome, simple and with the right sauce – magic! All that was left to do was slowly boil the pasta and attempt to replicate the family “sauce.”
Most alfredo sauces are truly quite simple with perhaps a half dozen ingredients at best. Nonna Louisa’s follows the book in that regard; butter, cream cheese, cream, more cream, the obligatory S & P, cream, etc. Seems the difference was ingenuously in the slow, constant stirring of the sauce. Yeah right!
Still, the net result was the same…. cheesy, greeny, pasta goodness. Voila!

Served family style with some grilled red and yellow bells and zucchini, the alfredo and swiss chard ravioli went well with a nice bottle of Orvieto by Sergio Mottura. A blend of indigenous Procanico and Grechetto grapes, the Mottura Orvieto is a minerally and citrus infused Italian white with a palate cleansing finish. Its prickly acidity helps cut through all the heavy cream of the alfredo while still complimenting the freshness of the green filling. And there’s no secret ingredient involved.

New whites both eclectic and exciting

An extravagant white blend like the newly arrived Seven Daughters might pose a bit of a conundrum when trying to guess what it will taste like. After reading through the litany of white grapes (that include French Columbard, Chardonnay, Riesling, Orange Muscat, Gewurztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc and something called Symphony), you might accurately surmise that this new white blend has something for everyone. And it does!

Seven Daughters has the body of a light, unoaked Chardonnay with the steely zing of a nice Gewurztraminer. At times it rings true with notes of orange peel and coriander while at others revealing a bit of a spritzer quality without the fizz. This new California creation is sure to span the aesthetic judgment of a multi-dimensional crowd and leave first-time tasters with a streak of cat-like curiosity.

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