Mark had some particularly tempting dishes in the Independent yesterday which would, as he suggests, make a fantastic dinner party menu. Personally though, I never attempt a whole menu of new dishes on guests and prefer to try them out one by one. Here’s what I would drink with them:
Roasted autumn squash with buffalo ricotta, chestnuts and vin cotto
Although ricotta might be the ingredient that stands out in this list it’s the other ingredients that point to the pairing so far as I'm concerned. Roast squash, earthy chestnuts, vin cotto and pumpkin seeds (not mentioned in the title) all suggest an Italian red to me - probably a Barbera or Chianti Classico.
Risotto with pancetta and autumn greens
Again this could easily be accompanied by an Italian red but with the dominant influence of the greens, which could be something like Cavalo Nero I’d be tempted to go for a full-flavoured white - probably a Sardinian Vermentino or a southern French blend of the classic white Rhone varietals Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier.
Veal Chop with borlotti beans and offal
Although this recipe includes white wine and the accompanying offal (liver, kidney and sweetbreads) is cooked only briefly and will therefore be quite delicate in flavour I’d still go for a red with this, most probably a Chianti Classico with some bottle age. Other possibilities would be a mature red Burgundy, red Bordeaux, Barolo or Rioja - this is a great dish for showing off a fine old red.
Chocolate mousse with hazelnuts
There are many possibilities with this. An Italian Vin Santo. A sweet oloroso sherry or madeira. A 20 year old tawny port or chilled shots of Frangelico, the delicious hazelnut-flavoured liqueur which comes bizarrely packaged in a bottle the shape of a monks’ habit. It would be fabulously good with espresso coffee too.