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Roasted beet orzo with fennel and cheese makes a tasty and colorful side dish recipe. We served the orzo as a side dish with pan seared tuna, paired with Ca’Marcanda Promis red wine from Tuscany. Disclosure: wine provided as a complimentary sample as part of the #WineStudio program.
This month I am participating in the Wine Studio program focused on the Ca’ Marcanda winery. This is a special Tuscan winery started by Angelo Gaja, focused on growing international grape varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Syrah.
Before I go further, let me mention that you can join the Wine Studio conversation, too. Tune into the #WineStudio hashtag on Twitter at 9 p.m. ET Tuesdays. Tonight and next week we will continue to discuss Ca’Marcanda.
Given my focus on food and wine pairing, I wanted to create some good meals to go with the Ca’Marcanda wines we were sampling as part of #WineStudio.
Food Pairings for Ca’Marcanda Promis
The first wine we sampled for the March Wine Studio was the 2015 Ca’Marcanda Promis ($48, 13.5% ABV). The Promis is comprised of a blend of 55% Merlot, 35% Syrah and 10% Sangiovese.
Thinking about what food to pair with the Ca’Marcanda Promis, I first thought about the lead grape being Merlot, along with a significant amount of Syrah. During the first March #WineStudio chat, the Bolgheri winery’s proximity to the sea caught my attention. You can take a look at the map on the winery website for more detail.
I felt like I should make a substantial entree to match the Promis, but also thought seafood could be a good idea based on Ca’Marcanda’s location. I previously paired Garlic Thyme Crusted Tuna with a Merlot, so I decided to give the pan seared tuna a try with the Promis.
I also was looking to re-make our Roasted Beet Orzo so I could get down the recipe and share it here on Cooking Chat. Roasted beets pair nicely with Merlot. The dish also has roasted fennel, which gives the roasted beet orzo an Italian flavor that seemed suitable for a Ca’Marcanda wine.
Tasting Ca’Marcanda Promis with Roasted Beet Orzo
The first March Wine Studio program gave us the back story about Ca’Marcanda. We learned that the winery name means “house of endless negotiations”, a nod to the 18 trips it took for the Gaja family to secure this winery. From the wines I’ve tasted, those trips were well worth it.
After a week of background, I was eager to open the Promis and get tasting. I got sage brush on the nose of this red wine. I first tasted black cherry fruit, with firm tannins.
This 2015 Promis a powerful red wine, with aging potential. I thought decanting would facilitate the food pairing. Thirty minutes or so in the decanter helped the wine soften and open up.
Though the Promis is made primarily with international grape varieties, it tasted very much like an Italian wine to me. A bit of a rustic quality, and a style that makes it very much a food wine. I suspect that is a combination of the terroir and the acidity from the 10% Sangiovese coming through. As a result, I’d say the Promis paired a bit better with the roasted beet orzo side dish than the tuna; I’m sure the parmesan cheese in the roasted beet orzo didn’t hurt the pairing!
You could definitely try tuna with the Promis and let us know what you think. But I think meat might be the best bet with this big red wine. My wife opted for a pork chop with the roasted beet orzo, and gave the pairing a thumbs up. I forgot to ask for a sample to report directly…will have to try that with another bottle of Promis!Print
Roasted Beet Orzo
Roasted beet orzo with fennel and cheese makes a tasty and colorful side dish recipe. Add some beans to make it a vegetarian main. Pair with an Italian red wine.
- Prep Time: 5 mins
- Cook Time: 30 mins
- Total Time: 35 mins
- Yield: 5 servings 1x
- Category: side dish
- Method: roasting
- Cuisine: American
- 2 medium beets, peeled and chopped into bite sized pieces
- 1 fennel bulb, chopped into bite sized pieces (after removing stem and frond)
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 12 ozs orzo
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, plus extra for passing at the table
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Spread the beets and fennel in a roasting pan, and toss the vegetables with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, plus salt and pepper to taste.
- Place the vegetables in the oven and roast for approximately 30 minutes until tender. When done, the beets should be easily pierced with a fork. Remove the roasted beets and fennel from the oven when done and set aside briefly.
- After the beets have been roasting for about 15 minutes, begin boiling water and cooking the orzo according to package instructions.
- When the orzo is cooked, drain and toss immediately with the remaining tablespoon olive oil. Stir in the beets and fennel, followed by the parmesan cheese. Salt and pepper to taste, and serve the orzo.
- Add a can of drained chickpeas or white beans to the roasted beet orzo to make this a vegetarian main dish.
Want to try another recipe with roasted beets? Try our Roasted Beets and Butternut Squash!