One main ingredient, two delicious dishes: from simple (pork ribs, chocolate cream pie) to spectacular (harissa-crusted pork roast, chocolate soufflés).
Harissa-Crusted Pork Crown Roast
Crown roast is the most kingly of pork presentations, but with 15 ribs, it can feed the entire court. It deserves a wine as spicy and intense as its harissa crust. Try a Zinfandel from older vines, like the peppery 2005 Hendry Block 7 ($30).
Spice-Roasted Ribs with Apricot Glaze
A glaze of apricot preserves and smoked paprika makes these sticky-sweet ribs insanely delicious. They pair effortlessly with the fruitiness of a jammy Zinfandel, such as Cline Cellars's 2005 California Zinfandel ($11).
Veal Chops with Cognac Sauce
“Cognac, cream and truffle butter—how can you possibly go wrong?” Grace Parisi, F&W Test Kitchen Editor, asks. Here, she combines these three rich ingredients in a decadent sauce for juicy pan-roasted veal chops.
Fontina-Stuffed Veal Meatballs
Melissa Rubel hides a surprise inside each of her tender veal meatballs: a molten cheese center. She opted for Fontina, but you can substitute any cheese that melts easily.
Seafood Pan Roast
Exquisite seafood needs only a quick roast and a simple vinaigrette to bring out its sweet, briny flavors. A zesty Australian Riesling will highlight them even more: Try the minerally 2006 Henschke Julius Eden Valley Riesling ($30).
Fritto Misto with Fennel and Lemons
“Fried” can be fabulous when it's lightly battered seafood served with crispy lemons. This lively fritto misto needs a brightly acidic wine; try an affordable Australian Riesling like the citrusy 2006 Jacob's Creek ($9).
Porcini-Potato Cake with Green Salad
Dried porcini mushrooms—which cost about $50 a pound—and aged Gruyère cheese push an ordinary potato pancake into super-deluxe territory. “Sprinkle it with a bit of truffle salt, and it's off the charts,” Grace Parisi says.
These overstuffed potatoes prompted a debate in the F&W Test Kitchen: Should they be eaten as a main course (they’re certainly big enough) or as a side dish (juicy steak comes to mind)? “Either,” Melissa Rubel says. “If you want to make it a side dish, just use a smaller potato and adjust the filling acordingly.”
Chocolate Soufflés with Crème Anglais
Top-quality chocolate like Valrhona or Callebaut gives these airy desserts a deep, almost smoky flavor. The bittersweet chocolate matches best with a vintage Port, such as the 2000 Sandeman Vau Vintage Porto ($40).
Chocolate Cream Pie
An ingenious crust made from chocolate wafers turns a simple chocolate pudding into an amazing pie. For an affordable dessert wine to pair with it, try Graham's velvety, super-reliable Six Grapes Reserve Port blend ($23).