A friend asked Michele to donate a cooking class or similar item to a silent auction to raise funds for Cancer Care, an organization with a long history of providing support for cancer victims. Michele agreed and to make it more interesting, decided to offer a Soprano’s Family Dinner for four based on the recipes she wrote for the two Soprano’s cookbooks, accompanied by wines of my choosing, and copies of the books. (In one of the books, I was named as the wine consultant for the fictional Vesuvio Restaurant, presided over by the fictional Chef Artie Bucco.) Even though it ended 20 years ago, the show is almost as popular now as it was back then and the dinner was a very popular auction item.
The Sopranos Family Cookbook
and Entertaining with the Sopranos.
Some time after the auction, Michele got a call from the woman who had the winning bid and they set a date for the dinner.
We started with an antipasto of prosciutto and melon, salami, mozzarella and tomatoes, and olives
Prosecco DOC Corvezzo (Veneto) made from 85% Glera and 15% permitted grapes. The growth system is Sylvoz and the harvest is mechanized. There is a soft cold crushing and pressing of the grapes. The second fermentation is for 60 days using the Charmat method. This is a dry Prosecco that has hints of apple and pear with floral notes and a touch of lemon. Alcohol 11.5%.
Homemade Manicotti with Ragu waiting to served, a Soprano’s family favorite.
On the plate
Monte di Grazie Rosso 2015 (Campania) The wine is made from 90% Tintore di Tramonti from very old ungrafted vines and 10% Piedirosso. The Tintore di Tramonti grows almost exclusively in the Monte Lattari Valley. The grape is harvested at the end of September, which makes it an early ripener for this area. This indigenous red grape variety belongs to the Tienturier family. Tienturier means dyed or stained in French. The flesh and the juice of these grapes are red in color. The anthocyanin pigments accumulate in the grape berry itself. The free run juice is therefore red. This is a complex wine with earthly aromas, red fruit and a slight hint of black pepper and spice with good acidity that makes it a very good food wine. It was the perfect combination wth the food.
The meat from the Ragu — meatballs, sweet and spice sausage, spare ribs and braciole.
On the plate with sauteed broccoli rabe and focaccia.
Irpinia Aglianico 2016 “Memini” Az. Ag. Guastaferro(Campania) made from 100% Aglianico. This wine bursts with sweet ripe fruit flavors of cherry, raspberry, strawberry and pomegranate. It has a wonderful fruit filled finish and a very long aftertaste. It was a very interesting Aglianico and I have never tasted one like this before. Daniele Cernilli (aka Doctor Wine) in his book The Essential Guide to Italian Wine 2020 states: “In 2002 Raffaele Guastaferro inherited 10 hectares from his grandfather with over 100 year old vines trained using the old starseto (pergola Avellinese) method…creating a very interesting style for the wines that were also based on tradition.”
Carmela’s Pineapple Ricotta Cheese Pie — This is the cake that Carmela made to bribe the judge into writing a favorable recommendation for Meadow to get into Georgetown University.
Brutti Ma Buoni — Hazelnut “Ugly But Good” Cookies
It was a wonderful dinner. We helped to raise funds for an organization that does great work for many people and made some new friends.