Cooling this skinny pasta, then tossing it with Chardonnay-braised squid in a light, tangy sauce, makes for a refreshing first course. Chef Michael Chiarello of Bottega in Napa Valley used the 2008 Whetstone El Pajaro Chardonnay because its acidity is "a trampoline for flavor".
Pairing: Zippy Chardonnay: 2008 Whetstone El Parajo.
Spaghetti squash gets its name because once it's cooked, you can use a fork to pull the flesh into long, thin strands. Jonathon Sawyer makes his own curry and cooks his own chickpeas for this vegetarian dish, but this simplified recipe calls for store-bought curry paste and canned chickpeas. Sawyer roasts the seeds from the squash and uses them as a garnish; pumpkin seeds from the supermarket are a fine substitute.
Pairing: Tropical fruitscented Chenin Blanc: 2009 Raats Family Original.
In Korea, cooks typically create stir-fries with just one kind of vegetablelotus root, say, or potatoes. David Chang decided to break with tradition and stir-fry an assortment of vegetables, including Jerusalem artichokes and parsnips. Also unconventional is the maple syrup he adds to the dish; there are maple trees all around South Korea but not much maple syrup.
Pairing: Dolcetto from Italy's Piedmont region: 2009 Poderi Luigi Einaudi or 2008 Flavio Roddolo Dolcetto.