You may remember him as “Top Scallop” (I know I do), but Top Chef’s Fabio Viviani is much more than the charming, handsome Italian chef you remember from television. If you’re a Chicagoan, you know him as one of the guys behind Siena Tavern. And now, thanks to his new wine collection available exclusively at Chicagoland grocer Mariano’s, you can also know him as the guy that gets you drunk. (But don’t worry, non-Chicagoans — distribution will be expanded nationally in 2015.)
I had the pleasure of meeting Fabio a few weeks ago at the release party for his new wine collection at the Mariano’s store in Chicago’s West Loop. He discussed the inspiration behind his wine collection, its availability at Mariano’s stores, and the fact that he can never resist taking a selfie.
I took that as an invitation. Pretty good, huh?
The collection currently includes a 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon and a 2012 Chardonnay derived from California grapes, with more varietals planned for 2015. Price is a very reasonable $13 – $15 per bottle. Click through to this press release for more information.
Since Fabio is a chef, it makes sense that he’d create recipes featuring his wines. Recipe cards were handed out at the event, and my favorite was the Red Wine Bolognese Sauce — perfect on a cold, winter night.
As Fabio would say, buon appetito.
Fabio Viviani’s Red Wine Bolognese (serves 6 to 8)
What you need:
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 7 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups chopped white onion (approximately one large)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 1/4 cups chopped celery (approximately 4 stalks)
- 3/4 cup chopped carrot (approximately 2 carrots)
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
- 2 cups of Fabio Viviani’s Cabernet Sauvignon
- 3/4 cup tomato paste
- 2 cups crushed tomatoes
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- A large handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped
- For serving: a pound of pasta in the shape of your choice
How to do it:
- Heat the olive oil and butter in a large dutch oven until melted. Add onion, celery, carrot, garlic and rosemary, and cook until vegetables are softened — approximately 15 minutes.
- Add the ground beef, breaking it up with a spoon as you go, and cook until browned — approximately 12 minutes.
- Add the wine and scrape any browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Add the tomato paste and crushed tomatoes, stirring to combine. Bring sauce to a boil, then reduce to a simmer — stirring occasionally — and continue simmering for another hour.
- At the very end, add salt and pepper (to taste) and chopped parsley. Serve over pasta and alongside a glass of wine (of course).