Long Table Dinner at Miradoro, Tinhorn Creek (and Penne with cabbage and kale recipe)
What do you make for a quick dinner? For me it’s pasta hands down. It goes with just about anything and I can almost make it with my eyes closed. You know where the pot is and you just need to scoop a piece to taste if it’s al dente, right? For this dish I combined red pepper penne with sautéed onion, cabbage and kale, a little white wine and then some mascarpone to round it up. It’s a nice vegetarian dinner that can be prepared in minutes. That’s all I had to say about the recipe so I’ll tell you about recent dinner at a winery.
We started going to local wineries dinners this week beginning with a long table dinner at Miradoro at Tinhorn Creek in Osoyoos. It’s at least one and a half hour drive from here and the three of us women of a certain age thought nothing of it. Most of the guests looked at us foodies with admiration: you mean you drove from Kelowna for the dinner? you must be adventurous. We accepted the accolades with aplomb, we are foodies after all, we’d drive anywhere for a special dinner. On the way of course we stopped for picture taking, the cherry trees are blossoming in a profusion of hot pink that takes your breath away.
We were among the last to arrive and were seated at the end of the long table set in the restaurant from front to back. The chef came out with his kitchen crew and explained what we were about to enjoy for dinner. Unfortunately I could barely hear him from our side of the room but I am sure he had some good storied to tell. Dinner started with a Madeira style onion soup with raisins and soft poached egg. Next came a crisp salad composed of Aldergrove grown Belgian endive with apples, harrison springs hazelnuts, Naramatha King Cole and pear Kerner Icewine vinaigrette. The main course was served family style: Piri-Piri chicken, baby potatoes and roasted carrots in large white serving dishes set in front of us on the table. This is always fun and makes it feel like we are dining with friends. Dessert was ambitious – a warm wild strawberry souflé straight from the oven. My soufle was nice and puffed but the last few to come out of the kitchen were beginning to sink. They offered different wines for each course but I declined (I was driving) and only had the main course pairing of Syrah Oldfield Series 2010 which turned out to be full of flavour with cherry, blackberry and plum offset by peppery notes and moderate acidity. I could have a second glass by didn’t.
We met a few interesting people at the table, something I always look forward to at these long table dinners. One of the new acquaintances was a fourty somethin’ couple from Osoyoos who love living and raising a family the smaller community. They arrived in the valley when the wine industry was just emerging and were instrumental in promoting local wines. Early on they opened Toasted Oak, a restaurant serving food paired with only local wines and later a VQA wine shop representing all the local producers. They opened their restaurant in the days before wineries were licensed to serve food and it became the place for wineries to show their wines and hold their events. Local wines flowed at the Toasted Oak and Christina said they developed what is known locally as a “valley palate”, able to identify the wine maker just by tasting their wines. I was curious about living in smaller community. I think they are many things I would miss about living in a larger metropolitan centre, such as the arts, restaurants, shopping etc. Christina’s description of life in Osoyyos was so enticing that by the end of the evening I was almost sold. She would make a great ambassador for the valley. I am looking forward to more events and the new people we meet at each one.
On to the recipe:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, halved, then sliced thinly
1 garlic clove, sliced thinly
1/2 small cabbage, thinly sliced
1 small bunch black kale (not the curly kind), trimmed and sliced into horizontal ribbons
1/2 cup white wine (optional)
1/3 cup mascarpone
1/2 cupo grated parmesan
8 oz pasta, penne or shells
For the pasta:
Bring a large pot of water to a boil
Add a big pinch of salt and drip the pasta into the water.
Cook until the pasta is almost al dente. It will continue to cook with the v]cabbage in the skillet.
For the cabbage:
Heat the oil in a large skillet.
Add onion and garlic and cook until just softened and fragrant.
Add the cabbage and stir until wilted and softened.
Add the kale and stir with wooden spoon or with kitchen tongs, tossing everything together for a few minutes. Do’t over cook.
Add the wine if using and let it reduce and cook away.
Add the mascarpone and mix with the cabbage and kale.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Keep on very low heat or turn the heat off.
When the pasta is ready drain, reserving about 1 cup pasta cooking liquid.
Add he pasta to the skillet with the cabbage and toss over medium heat.
Add some of the pasta cooking liquid to add some moisture to the dish.
When everything is nicely combined and hot remove from heat.
Add the grated cheese and mix.
Spoon into serving bowls, shred a little more cheese over each bowl and top with a spoonful of mascarpone if you’d like.