Saturday, February 3, 2018

Celebrating Love~~ Pork Filet Mignon and Valtellina Wine #RecipesforTwo #ItalianFTW

A Valentine Recipe for 2 paired with a wine from the Valtellina region of Italy, a romantic quiet dinner, what could be easier.

I chose the recipe right away.  A lightened up version of Filet Mignon, made with pork instead of beef, to help cut down on calories while still giving you that rich lovely feel.  Especially when you top it with an amazing savory pan sauce and serve an earthy mushroom barley on the side.

I researched the Valtellina, discovering that it is found in the mountainous region of Lombardy and made primarily with Nebbiolo grapes, specifically Chiavannasca.  All this to say that it is a light red wine that pairs well with many foods.

I wrote down my ideas and patted myself on the back, happy that I was going to take care of two blogging events, that were due on the same day, with one post.

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The first event is from our Festive Foodies group and is being hosted by Liz of Books n Cooks who asked us to share Recipes for Two that our readers could make for their Valentine this year.  I want to thank you Liz, for hosting and for choosing an easy topic.

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The second event is from our Italian Food Wine and Travel group and is being hosted by Susannah of Avvinare .  Susannah asked us, innocently enough, to buy a bottle of wine from Valtellina, Italy and review it for our readers.

I had my menu planned and I was ready to go.  Now, I live in a very small town, but we do get down to the city once in a while so I planned on going to a large wine shop on our next trip to pick up a bottle of wine from this area.

On January 19th, Frank and I were going to the city for a date night and stopped at the wine store prior to our dinner.  They did not have any wines from Valtellina but they assured us this would not be a problem, that they would order some for us.

On January 24th the store manager phoned and advised of the different bottles he had access to and recommended one in particular that he believed would pair well with my pork filet mignon.  He told me that it would not be delivered to his store until after 2pm on Tuesday, January 30th.

That was cutting it close but we go down to the city on Wednesdays anyway to take our granddaughter home and to help Aunt Irene bathe.  So we decided that while I helped Aunt Irene, Frank would run to the wine shop and then we could have our dinner/wine pairing on Thursday which would give me all day Friday to write up my recipe and review.

The best laid plans.........when Frank arrived at the wine store, the manager very apologetically informed him that the wine hadn't been delivered and he wouldn't be able to get it for me before today's deadline.

On Thursday, February 1st, we were going to a winery located near our State Capitol to meet with Deb and Don Burgdorf in preparation for our Wine Pairing Weekend event next Saturday showcasing women winemakers.  There is a large wine store, Dusty's Cellar, that we used to frequent when we would visit our daughter at Michigan State University.  We planned on lunching there and picking up the Valtellina wine from them.

It was a great trip and I'm anxious to share it with you so make sure you stop by on February 10th to learn all about this amazing woman and her winery.  Lunch at Dusty's was just as wonderful as we remembered, unfortunately they did not carry any wines from Valtellina either.

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Frank, was determined now and, insisting that there had to be a decent wine store closer to home than an hours drive, started researching.   He found one in the neighboring town, about a 30 minute drive. We phoned and alas, they also had no wines from this region...BUT they assured me they could have a bottle by 10 am the following morning.

Yes, I know that meant that I would have to prep, cook, taste, pair and write the post all in one evening.  I love a challenge.

Yesterday, we went to our newly found, much closer wine store.  I walked in and was absolutely thrilled!!  Who knew we had this little gem hidden in our neck of the woods.  There was a very nice selection of wines from all over the country and the world.  The owner, Gassan, was extremely friendly and knowledgeable.  He said that he was happy to put in special orders any time and was pleased that I had ordered wines for Valtellina.  Gassan ordered several bottles so that he could also try these wines from an area of which he was unfamiliar.  He actually thanked me for having him order it up.  I have a feeling we will be seeing a lot of Gassan.

The wine I purchased was a Quadrio by Nino Negri.  Nino Negri has vineyards throughout the Valtellina area and named this particular bottle after a fifteenth century castle that has undergone extensive restoration.  Made with grapes from the Valtellina Superiore Vineyards it is primarily Nebbiolo with a touch of Merlot.

The dinner was adapted from one found in my Cuisine at Home.  I love using pork tenderloin when I want a quick, delicious and healthy meal.  This tenderloin was cut into medallions and pan seared.  A pan sauce was finished while the filet mignon rested.

The mushroom barley is a wonderful accompaniment to the pork and paired very nicely with the wine.  It comes together in less than half an hour, using the quick cooking barley.  I am sharing that recipe with you as well today because they really go so well together.

We dined in front of the fireplace by candlelight and finished our dinner with individual cheesecakes that I will be sharing with you on February 12th with my Baking Bloggers group.  This was an early Valentine's Day dinner for us as we are going to be traveling home from California on Valentine's Day while fasting and abstaining as it is also Ash Wednesday this year.

The Valtellino wine poured russet in color and was light, smooth and fruity.  It paired amazingly well with the pork and barley.  When paired with the dinner the feel of the wine was deeper and the taste much richer.  I'm glad I went through the trouble of finding this wine.

The meal, itself, was truly awesome and one that I'm sure will be made time and again.  Frank loved it and it made for a very nice, romantic, dinner for two but I see myself, very proudly, serving this to guests at a future dinner party.

Make sure to stop by the links below for more great Recipes for Two ideas for this Valentine's Day.  Below those links you will find links offering more information on this wine from Valtellina that was worth all the effort to track it down.

Pork Filet Mignon with Mushroom Barley
adapted from Cuisine at Home, Issue #109

Pork Filet Mignon:

8 oz. pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2" filets
salt and pepper to taste
2 t. olive oil
2 T. mince Vidalia onion
1/4 c. dry white wine
1/2 c. chicken stock
1 t. Worcestershire sauce
1 t. Dijon mustard
1 t. lemon juice
dash of Tabasco sauce
1 t. butter

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Season the filets with salt and pepper.  When oil is shimmering, add the filets and cook for 5-6 minutes, without moving, until seared golden brown.  Flip the filets and cook for another 6-8 minutes until an internal temperature of 145* is reached.  Remove filets to a platter, tent with foil and set aside.

Add the onions to the same pan over medium heat.  Cook for a minute or two, until translucent.  Add the wine and stir, scraping up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.  Cook until reduced by half.  Add the chicken broth, Worcestershire, mustard, lemon and Tabasco.  Cook and stir for a few minutes until smooth and combined.  Turn off heat and stir in butter.  Pour over filets and serve.  Print Recipe

Mushroom Barley:

1/4 c. diced onion
1 carrot, scraped and diced
2 t. olive oil
4 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 c. dry white wine
1  1/4 c. chicken stock
3/4 c. quick cooking barley
1 bay leaf

Heat olive oil in a sauce pan over med high heat.  Add the onions and carrots and cook until onion softens, about 5 minutes.  Add the mushrooms and garlic.  Cook, stirring occasionally for another few minutes.

Add the wine, cook and stir, scraping up any bits stuck to the bottom, until reduced by half.  Add the stock, barley and bay leaf.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15-18 minutes, stirring occasionally, until liquid is absorbed and barley is tender but still toothsome.  Discard bay leaf and serve.  Print Recipe

More Romantic Recipes for Two



More Wines from Valtellina


  1. Oooo, that mushroom sauce. Yum!
    And I love the wine pairing. I need to experiment a bit more with the wines that I drink.

    1. Well, I hope you have an easier time locating it than I LOL.

  2. Hats off to you and Frank. You were determined! I'll bet that mushroom barley was great with the wine.

    1. It really was. The entire meal came together nicely Jeff. I was really concerned that I was going to go through all this trouble and then be disappointed LOL.

  3. Wendy, these pork filets look delicious and I love the mushroom barley too!

  4. You win the award for most persistent for sure! Way to find the wine...and meeting Gassan was even better. Can't wait to see you next weekend!

  5. Pork with that sauce and barley sounds like a tasty Valentine's or date night!

  6. I love pork medallions. They always work well for me in recipes,a nd mushrooms are great any day of the week. It's been awhile since I posted with WinePW, I should revisit!

    1. We would love to have you Sue. Next week we are celebrating Women in Wine.


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