In collaboration with Landmark® Vineyards. Thank you for supporting the brands that support A Taste of Koko!
Photography by The Dani Creative
When people ask me what my favorite meal is, they’re always surprised to hear me say, “boxed spaghetti – you know the dry pasta that you can buy at the grocery store?” I dine out several times a week at fine-dining restaurants and while the food is delicious and beautifully plated, my favorite meal is just simple pasta noodles with sauce at home. Add a chocolate dessert and a glass of wine and I’m a happy camper!
SEE ALSO: Winter Baked Oatmeal Recipe
My go-to is usually just spaghetti noodles with Arrabbiata sauce but today I’m making a more elevated pasta, bucatini bolognese. Paired with silky, chocolatey pots de creme for dessert and a bottle of Landmark Vineyards 2016 Overlook Pinot Noir.
My number one tip when it comes to cooking is to start by pouring yourself a glass of wine. For this meal, I’m pairing the Landmark Vineyards 2016 Overlook Pinot Noir – a beautiful blend of handcrafted, quality wine produced from its own estate vineyards in the Russian River Valley. I love how medium-bodied this Pinot Noir is with flavors of red and black cherry, ripe raspberries and spice notes of cinnamon, vanilla, cedar, dried orange peel, leather, cocoa, and a hint of purple flowers!
Landmark Vineyards‘ of Sonoma County specializes in luxury Chardonnay and Pinot Noir sourced from California’s finest winegrowing regions. Whether you’re celebrating for the holidays coming up or enjoying a meal at home like myself, Landmark Vineyards wines make it an affordable treat for only $25! You can find Landmark Vineyards in Austin at H-E-B, Central Market, Twin Liquors, and Wheatsville. To see a full list of locations, click here.
BUCATINI BOLOGNESE RECIPE
Bucatini Bolognese Recipe
- Prep Time: 10
- Cook Time: 30
- Total Time: 40
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- 1 lb ground beef chuck (80-percent lean)
- 12 ounces bucatini dry pasta
- 2 medium carrots, finely chopped
- 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 cup mushrooms, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
- Unsalted butter
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
- Red pepper flakes
- Prep the chopped ingredients (you can do this the night before) – carrots, celery, onion, and garlic.
- In a large pot, heat 2 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat. Add chopped carrots, celery, onion, thyme, and garlic. Cook vegetables until they’re soft.
- Add beef chuck to the pot and break up the beef with a spoon. Cook meat and vegetables until the meat is browned.
- Season with salt and pepper and add in red pepper flakes (if desired).
- Add tomato paste and sauté for a couple of minutes.
- Deglaze the pan with the diced tomatoes and allow to simmer for 30 minutes.
- In another large pot, bring water to a boil and cook bucatini pasta until slightly al dente. Transfer cooked bucatini pasta to the Bolognese sauce. Add pasta water as necessary.
- Add a couple pats of unsalted butter to the pasta and toss.
- Plate bucatini bolognese and top with parmesan cheese, parsley, and more red pepper flakes (if desired).
What is bucatini you ask? Bucatini is a thick spaghetti pasta with a hollow center which means it gets filled with sauce and because there’s a hollow center, the pasta is chewier and more fun to eat. I had bucatini in Rome last year and was obsessed with it and was so happy when I found it at my local grocery store!
Make sure you cook the bucatini noodles a little bit before al dente because the noodles will cook in the bolognese sauce.
COOKING TIP: Add a couple of pats of butter to your pasta and toss to combine as it melts – the pasta becomes more creamy!
Serve bucatini bolognese with Parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes, and of course, a glass of Landmark Vineyards 2016 Overlook Pinot Noir!
CHOCOLATE POTS DE CREME RECIPE
And for dessert, chocolate pots de creme – I was so surprised how easy it was to make. Can’t believe I’ve been paying for this at the restaurants!
Chocolate Pots De Cream Recipe
- Prep Time: 10
- Cook Time: 35
- Total Time: 45
- Yield: 3 servings 1x
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 cup milk
- 4 oz bittersweet baking chocolate, chopped
- 4 egg yolks
- 3 tbsp white granulated sugar
- 1/8 tsp salt
- Whipped cream
- Preheat oven to 300°F degrees and set aside a baking pan that’s at least 2 inches high filled with water halfway.
- In a saucepan, bring heavy cream and milk to a boil. Make sure this doesn’t boil over!
- While that’s cooking on the stovetop, whisk together yolks, sugar, and salt in a separate glass bowl.
- Remove saucepan from heat and whisk in chopped chocolate until the mixture is smooth.
- Pour chocolate mixture into the yolk mixture slowly while whisking.
- Pour pots de creme mixture into baking ramekins.
- Place ramekins into the baking pan filled with water and carefully place into the oven and cover with foil. Poke holes into the foil to allow for ventilation.
- Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the pots de cream is jiggly.
- Remove ramekins from baking pan and transfer to a cool rack to fully cool before transporting into the refrigerator. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving. Add a dollop of whipped cream to each pots de creme.
POTS DE CREME TIP
This is what the baking pan filled with water should look like. This allows the pots de creme to steam in the oven. Make sure the water doesn’t spill into the mixture.