Early Spring Pairing of Lilliano Chianti with Grilled Eggplant Rollatini
This is the kind of wine you would get, if you walked into a wine bar in Tuscany and asked to have something classic from a really good vintage.
Tenuta Lilliano, 2013, Chianti Classico
The Lilliano Chianti is made at a property that dates back to the middle ages, and once was owned by the Marquis of Tuscany. The estate is ideally situated in the village of Castellina about 15 kilometers south of Florence in Tuscany. The 2013 vintage for this area was classic to excellent. Made from a blend of 85% Sangiovese, 15% Colorino & Canaiolo. This wine was aged for at least one year in stainless steel & medium-sized barrels, then bottle aged for two to three years. Dark garnet in color this wine has expressive aromas of dark cherry, sweet tobacco and a touch of violet with a very subtle note of pinyon. Medium/light in body and very well balanced, fruit flavors of cherry & raspberry, commingle with supple spice, fine tannins and balanced acidy for a round mouth feel that leads you to a pleasant medium length finish. Decanter awarded this wine 90 point scores and said it was a lovely wine which should continue to surprise us with time.
Grilled Eggplant Rollatini
What you will need for the Marinara:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons freshly minced garlic (about 2 medium cloves)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Rollatini:
1 cup whole milk ricotta, cheese
1 cup grated fresh mozzarella, divided
1/3 cup grated sharp provolone,
2/3 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided,
1 large egg
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish
2 large eggplants, ends trimmed and cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground
How to make it, Marinara:
Place oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook until fragrant and bubbles start to form around garlic, 30-60 seconds. Stir in crushed tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until slightly thickened, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in basil. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
For the Rollatini:
Whisk together ricotta, 1/3 cup of mozzarella, provolone, 1/3 cup parmesan, egg, and 1/4 cup basil in a medium bowl. Set aside. Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange the coals on one side of the charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Brush eggplant slices with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill eggplant slices until browned on both sides, 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer to a large tray or cutting board. Place a heaping tablespoon of ricotta filling on wider end of eggplant slice and roll eggplant closed around filling. Repeat with remaining eggplant slices and filling.
Spread a thin layer of marinara sauce along the bottom of a large tray or shallow baking dish. Place eggplant rolls in dish and top with remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Place on cool side of the grill, cover with aluminum foil, and let cook until cheese has melted, about 15 minutes. Remove from grill, garnish with additional basil, and serve, with a green salad and crispy bread. Recipe adapted from seriouseats.com
The Wine Guys