Roast Brined Chicken with Raisin and Pine Nut Agrodolce
"Brining isn’t imperative," says Michael Chiarello, "but it adds juiciness." Before roasting, he rubs the brined birds with a spice mix and brushes them with butter; the flavors are even better at room temperature, making this a stellar picnic dish.
Calabrese Mustard Greens
Just a little red wine vinegar transforms this otherwise familiar bowl of garlicky greens.
Chilled Chardonnay-Braised Calamari Pasta
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."
Chickpeas with Tomatoes and Carrots
Starting with dried chickpeas instead of canned ones makes all the difference in this citrusy side dish. Although soaking and cooking the chickpeas takes a bit more time, the effort is minimal.
Roasted Artichokes and Prosciutto
Artichokes are notorious for making wine taste bitter. To prevent that, Michael Chiarello slow-roasts artichoke hearts in extra-virgin olive oil to bring out their sweetness, then serves them with prosciutto, an ingredient that matches particularly well with wine.
Raisin and Pine Nut Agrodolce
Agrodolce is the term for any Italian sweet-and-sour sauce made with vinegar and sugar. This superchunky version with golden raisins, red grapes and toasted pine nuts is more like a compote and is fantastic with the spice-roasted chicken.