For dinner parties at his stunning apartment, Surajit Bomti Iyengar serves pantras (fried stuffed crêpes) as an appetizer. They're well worth the effort of making crêpes (which are surprisingly easy to prepare once you get the hang of it). Coating the crêpes with egg and bread crumbs makes them fantastically crispy when fried.
Milk-soaked bread helps make chef Massimiliano Alajmo's beef-and-pork meatballs incredibly light; bits of chopped olive make them extra-flavorful. The thick tomato sauce coats the meatballs nicely and doubles as an excellent pasta sauce.
Pairing: Spicy, cherry-scented Tuscan red blend: 2008 Tenuta di Ghizzano Il Ghizzano.
Influenced by his Turkish-American wife, Meltem, Scott Conant spices up his silky potato soup with Turkish red-pepper paste (biber salcasi), made from sweet and hot peppers. Look for the paste at Middle Eastern groceries, or use harissa instead.
Pairing: Silky white blend: 2009 Heartland Stickleback White.