Thursday, January 19, 2017

Daniel 's Homemade Minestrone Soup Recipe



Ingredients :

1/4 pound Cannellini or Borlotti (cranberry) beans, soaked overnight

3 tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil 1/2 cup chopped onion 2 leeks, washed and chopped, white part only 1 medium eggplant (1 pound), peeled and diced 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced 2 ribs celery, sliced 2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced 2 medium tomatoes, diced 2 cups hot chicken broth 4 cups hot water, plus extra if needed 1 cup chopped raw spinach 1 cup diced zucchini 1 cup shredded green cabbage 1/4 pound vermicelli or stelline pasta 3 tablespoons Basil Pesto Salt and pepper to taste


Drain the beans from the overnight soaking water, place them in a pot, cover with water, cook about 30 minutes or until still quite al dente, and set aside.

In a large pot, heat the oil. Add the onion, leeks, eggplant, carrots, celery and potatoes and sauté for about 8 minutes, or until the vegetables just begin to exude their juices.

Add the tomatoes, hot broth, hot water, beans and additional hot water to just cover the mixture. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, and cook covered for about 30 minutes.

Add the spinach, zucchini, cabbage and pasta and cook another 20 minutes or until the pasta is al dente. Stir in the pesto. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Screen Shot 2016-11-30 at 12.35.30 PM.png

  BASIL PESTO for MINESRONE GENOVESE and to Sauce the PASTA of Your Choice

Who doesn't Love Pesto ? Well I guess there may be some, but for the most part, just about everyone loves this wonderful no-cook Italian Sauce that highlights some of Italy's most iconic ingredients which include ; fresh garden Basil, Italian Olive Oil, garlic, Pignoli Nuts, and Parmigiano Reggiano . In Genoa and Liguria where Pesto was first born and is famous for there, there are primarily two ways to use this wonderful cold sauce, number one is to coat any one of a variety of pasta shapes to make a tasty pasta dish of Maccheroni & Pesto or pesto's second most important use is as the main flavor enhancer of Minestrone Genovese, the greatest vegetable soup of all.


  • 3/4 cup pine nuts (6 ounces)

  • 5 cups basil leaves, chilled and very dry

  • 6 small garlic cloves, quartered

  • 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice

  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for sealing

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

    1. Put the garlic in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Toss in the nuts, Parmesan, if using, pepper and salt and chop until the nuts are finely crushed, about 1 minute. Add the basil, oil and lemon juice and pulse for 1 minute more, until smooth. 

    2. To store, transfer the pesto to a sterilized jar with a tight-fitting lid. Pour a thin layer of olive oil on top of the pesto, seal and refrigerate up to 10 days or freeze up to 3 months.

  . .  

by Daniel Bellino Zwicke

Minestrone, Marinara, and More ...


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Tasting Chianti in New York

Screen Shot 2017-01-18 at 1.29.04 PM.png   

Castello Verrazzano

Chianti Classico

Greve , Italy 


The Italian Wine Masters met at the New York Hilton for their Annual Chianti Brunello Tasting on Tuesday, February 8th. Many fine wines where on hand, including a Prosecco Tasting with many producers on hand including from Conegliano Valdobbiadene Consorzio along with numerous Vino Nobile, Chianti, and Brunello estates on hand. The stars of the show were of course the wines of Brunello di Montalcino. Not to take anything away from the zones of Vino Nobile Di Montepulciano, Chianti, or Prosecco that wonderful refreshingly light bubbly from the Veneto and the Wine Bars of Venice, Prosecco.

I must say, as being a great lover of Chianti and one of its Biggest Advocates in all the United States as well as being one of the country's top authorities on the subject, I was a bit disappointed with the Chianti offerings on hand. Two of my favorites in Fontodi and Vignamaggio from Panzano and Greve respectively were present, such notables and top producers as : Villa Calcinaia, Monsanto, Badia Coltibuono, and Castello Verrazzano were not where in sight. Si La Vie.
Let's get to Brunello. The tasting was of the latest vintage on release. This being the 2006 vintage Brunello and 2004 and 2005 Brunello Riserva. There were some solid offerings with favorites of the tasting going to Fattoria Barbi, Frescobaldi, Col d'Orcia, Livio Sassetti, and Tenuta Greppone Mazzi.
Favorite of all were the normale Brunello 2006 by both Fattoria Barbi and Brunello Castelgiocondo from Marchese Frescobaldi of whom my good friend the Marchese Ferdinando Frescobaldi was on hand, and as always great to see. The Rosso di Montalcino of which the 2009 vintage were shown at the tasting were a wonderful surprise. Most were drinking beautifully, medium in body, full of flavor, and just pleasantly enjoyable drinking wines. I particularly loved the Barbi Rosso and Frescobaldi Rosso di Montalcino Campo ai Sasso 2009, of which I could have sat there drinking and chatting all day with the Marchese Frescobaldi. Quite a wonderful experience.
My favorite Brunello of the day was the Brunello Riserva 2005 from Fattoria Barbi. A awesome wine that was absolute perfection. And for overall the best table that just edged out Barbi by a hair was the table of the Noble Frescobaldi Family, with the lovely Rosso Campo ai Sasso, the Brunello 2006, and the Brunello Riserva 2005. The only disappointment on the table was the Brunello Luce della Vite 2006 Of Castelgiocondo of which was quite tannic and lacking in overall balance.
I pleasant surprise was from Castello Romitorio, who was showing a wonderful wine in the San'Antimo Ross 2006.

This wine was a real winner and a joy to drink. Made up
made up of 60% Sangiovese, 20% Canaiolo, and 20% Cabernet of Sauvignon, perfectly balance and a joy to drink.

by Daniel Bellino Zwicke

Screen Shot 2017-01-18 at 1.29.23 PM.png




Daniel Bellino with Cavalier Luigi Cappellini