Castello di Cigognola’s Moratti Metodo Classico Cuvée More Pas Dosé paired with a coquilles and prawn gratin
THREE DAYS OF FEASTING
Though I didn’t really have much planned for Easter weekend, I knew that we were going to eat (and drink) quite well. Traditions are important, so it was a given that Sunday would include oeufs benedict for brunch and a festive gigot d’agneau for dinner, studded with plenty of garlic and rosemary, slowly roasted and served with petits pois à la Française. Saturday lunch was also taken care of: bouillabaisse and rosé by the harbor.
But how would we ring in the three-day weekend? Or better said, what would I cook for dinner on Friday evening to do the bottle of sparkling wine I had in the fridge justice?
MORATTI METODO CLASSICO CUVÉE MORE PAS DOSÉ
Made from Pinot Noir, the queen that reigns over the vineyards of the Oltrepò Pavese region of southern Lombardy, Castello di Cigognola’s Moratti Metodo Classico Cuvée More Pas Dosé (zero sugar added after disgorgement) is a sparkling wine with all the character necessary to accompany an elegant meal. Sure, it would make a handsome apéritif to welcome guests with (add freshly-shucked oysters for bonus points), but this fine bubble is definitely worthy of sophisticated cuisine.
The wine – which could easily stand up to some of the better Champagnes – opens with enticingly round aromas of brioche and roasted almonds, giving way to a perfectly balanced crisp, bone-dry minerality with expressive notes of citrus fruit, tart green apple and a delicate whisper of white blossoms. One of the best food pairings, in my opinion, would be rich seafood dishes that mirror its complexity.
COQUILLES & PRAWN GRATIN
A trip to the Friday morning market and the sumptuous coquilles at the seafood stall sealed the deal. I would sear the tender molluscs in butter, place them in an individual serving dish and add in a handful of pink prawns. The whole would be blanketed with a velvety bechamel seasoned with a squeeze of lemon and a hint of smoked paprika, then crowned with a crisp crust and a fine dusting of aged Dutch cheese. Sound enticing? One bite and I nearly wept with delight. Here’s the recipe:
Coquilles & prawn gratin
- 30g butter
- 6 coquilles (180g)
- 100g pink prawns
- 1 small shallot, finely chopped
- 30g flour
- 300 ml full-fat milk
- Fleur de sel & freshly cracked pepper
- ¼ tsp smoked paprika powder
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 2 tsps finely chopped chives
- 4 tbsps Grated aged Gouda
- 2 tbsps Panko breadcrumbs
- Finely chopped parsley
Preheat the oven to 200°C and butter two 18cm round-eared egg dishes. Melt the butter and quickly sear the coquilles (30 seconds per side). Place three in each dish. Lower the heat and add the shallot to the butter. Cook while stirring for 1 minute. Add the flour and cook while whisking for 1 minute. Slowly pour in the milk as you whisk. The mixture will thicken into a bechamel sauce. Cook for one minute, remove from the heat and season with salt, pepper, paprika powder, lemon juice and chives. Divide the prawns over the dishes and cover everything with the bechamel. Scatter with the Gouda and Panko. Bake for 25 minutes until browned and bubbling. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with a wedge of lemon.
ABOUT CASTELLO DI CIGOGNOLA
Dating to the 12th century and owned by the Moratti family, the historic Castello di Cigognola is surrounded by 36 hectares of sloping hillsides (of which 28 are planted with vines). The region, where Pinot Noir reaches its full expression, has produced sparkling wines since the second half of the 18th century. In addition to its traditionally produced sparkling wines, the estate also offers a selection of exceptional still wines such as the elegant DODICIDODICI, a robust Barbera replete with jammy blackberries, cherries, a hint of spice and dark chocolate. Highly recommended with a succulent duck breast in a sauce of red fruits. More information about Castello di Cigognola’s range can be found here: https://www.castellodicigognola.com/