Saturday, January 6, 2018

Primitivo and Pasta from Puglia #ItalianFWT #BudgetMeals

So last month I told you all about a new wine group that I joined, Italian Food Wine and Travel, and shared a recipe for Orecchiette with a Pork Ragu that I made in my Instant Pot.  I had not gotten to the store to pick up a bottle of Italian wine with which to pair it so I paired it with a California wine.

Little did I know, when I wrote that first post, that this month we were exploring the area of Puglia.

See the source image

As you can see the Puglia area is located in the heel of the boot and is surrounded by water.  Cuisine plays an important role in this area.  Indeed, as it does throughout all of Italy.  This area is known for growing olive oil, artichokes, eggplant and tomatoes.  It is also where the "little ear" pasta, orecchiette, was developed.

Half of Italy's olive oil comes from this area but it also is becoming known for it's wine making, as it's location, surrounded by water, makes the perfect location for vineyards.  

I learned that most wine from this region is red, full bodied and pairs wonderfully with any number of dishes.  The most popular of these wines are Salice Salentino and Primitivo according to the article by Wine Folly.

I live in a pretty rural area and my local grocer does carry some decent wines but the selection is not huge and is pretty much limited to the popular labels that are well known by all.

We do, however, have a wonderful Italian Marketplace about an hour's drive into the City.  We were heading to my brother in law's on New Year's Day and left a few minutes early so we would have time to stop and see if they carried a wine from this area.

Imagine my delight when I found a bottle of Primitivo from Layer Cake for less than $15.  Primitivo is known here in the USA as the varietal, Zinfandel.  This made me very happy because I love Zinfandels that I find are normally peppery and dry.  I couldn't wait to try this one.

I was not disappointed.  It is dry and fruity with hints of pepper and chocolate.  I enjoyed a glass while preparing dinner.

I love that this wine is, according to the label, "One hundred percent hand crafted".  I also loved this tribute to Jayson Woodbridge's grandfather;
"My old grandfather made and enjoyed wine for 80 years.  He told me the soil in which the vines lived were a layer cake.  He said the wine, if properly made, was like a great layer cake, fruit, mocha, and chocolate, hints of spice and rich, always rich.  'Never pass up a layer cake', he would say.  I have always loved those words."

Of course, being the pasta lovers we are....I was going to go with the Oreccehiette even though I had just posted a recipe with it for this group.  Pasta is so versatile and wonderful that we can all use more recipes.

This recipe I am sharing today is adapted from one I found on my friend Sarah's blog over at Fantastical Sharing of Recipes.  I don't know how authentic it is to one you would find in Puglia but it does contain tomatoes, olive oil and orecchiette so I went with it.

And I am so glad that I did because it is not only scrumptious but it paired wonderfully with the wine.  That, my friends, is a very good start to this New Year.

This month's theme was chosen by Katarina of Grapevine Adventures.  You can read her preview post here.  Please join us for twitter chat today at 11 am ET following #ItalianFWT.

We are also sharing Budget Meals today in our Festive Foodies group.  This pasta dish is perfect for those on a budget.  You can feed an entire family for less than $10 (less than $30 if you include the wine)!

Orecchiette with Roasted Tomato Sauce
adapted from Fantastical Sharing of Recipes

1 pt. cherry tomatoes
1 t. olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
12 oz. orecchiette pasta, cooked per package directions, 1/2 cup cooking water retained
2 T. olive oil
8 oz. Italian Sausage, casings removed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
1/4 c. dry red wine
1/2 c. chicken broth
2-3 oz. field greens
1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese + more for serving

Toss cherry tomatoes with 1 t. olive oil and salt and pepper.  Place onto a baking pan lined with a silicone mat and roast in a preheated 400* oven for 10-12 minutes, until they burst.

While tomatoes are roasting, heat the 2 T. of oil in a large skillet over med high heat.  Add the sausage, and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon until crumbled and brown.  Add the onions and garlic.  Cook and stir until fragrant and softened.  Add the wine.  Cook and stir, scraping up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan, for 3-4 minutes, until the wine evaporates and pan is deglazed.  Add the chicken broth, roasted tomatoes and field greens.  Cook and stir until greens are wilted and tomatoes are heated through.  Stir in the cheese and the cooked pasta.  Cook and stir until pasta is warmed and coated with the sauce, adding the reserved pasta cooking water, if needed.  Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, as needed.

Serve with additional cheese for sprinkling.  Print Recipe

More Wining and Dining in Puglia

More Budget Friendly Meals

Enjoy these tasty, easy on your budget meal ideas from Festive Foodies!


  1. I'm so glad you found a wine from Puglia!! And, truth be told, I'd seen that and didn't realize it was Italian. Whoops. I had no idea Primitivo was the same as Zinfandel. That makes so much sense as far as the resulting wine. Thanks for teaching me something this morning. And you will have to try to make the orechiette. It's a snap.

    1. Yes, handmade orecchiette is definitely on my to do list after reading your article Cam.

  2. Pasta and sausage go so well together. LOVE it!

  3. Oh, this calls to me, especially on these cold winter days!

  4. This sounds good. I love using cherry tomatoes in my pasta!

  5. YUM! Love your take on it, Wendy :)

  6. Looks delicious Wendy! And perfect for the cold weather that's enveloping most of the country right now. Thanks for sharing!

  7. mmm...thanks for sharing the recipe and looks like it was a nice pair with Primitivo!

    1. I was very pleased with the pairing but I think that Primitivo is very food friendly.

  8. Roasted tomato sauce sounds divine right now. From one cold Midwesterner to another - this meal sounds beautifully warming!


  9. That's great you found this wine Wendy! Enjoyable article and your pasta dish... yum!


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