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.

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  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

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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

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Daniel Bellino with Cavalier Luigi Cappellini











Thursday, December 8, 2016

Drinking Brunello Barolo Barbaresco

Produttori Barbaresco
Argiano Brunello
Barolo "Cannubi" Damilano
Planeta Chardonnay
With Cousin Eddy
Dinner Brunello Barolo & Barbaresco
Williamsburg Brooklyn
Look for My New Book

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Caffe Reggio

screen-shot-2016-11-19-at-1-06-37-pm Caffe Reggio is a New York City coffeehouse first opened in 1927 at 119 Macdougal Street in the heart of Manhattan's Greenwich Village. Italian cappuccino was introduced in America by the founder of Caffe Reggio, Domenico Parisi, in the early 1920s.[1] Inside the cafe, against the back wall, there is still the original espresso machine, made in 1902, that Domenico Parisi bought with his savings when he opened the cafe in 1927. The Caffe Reggio has been featured in many movies, including The Godfather Part II, Next Stop, Greenwich Village, The Kremlin Letter, Shaft, Serpico, The Next Man, In Good Company, Inside Llewyn Davis and others. Many celebrities have been spotted or photographed in this location. In 1959, presidential hopeful John F. Kennedy made a speech outside the coffee shop. In 2010, the cafe was honored with a Village Award[2] by the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation for its status as a beloved and essential part of the neighborhood. Caffe Reggio has a bench from a palazzo of the Florentine Medici family of Renaissance fame. The bench is not roped-off and guests can sit on it and admire a painting from an artist of the school of Caravaggio. screen-shot-2016-11-19-at-1-06-51-pm      
All photos by Daniel Bellino Zwicke
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Not in Caffe Reggio



SUNDAY SAUCE is AVAILABLE in Paperback on .. Click

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Bar Pitti & Rosso di Montalcino Good Times

If a good or great Rosso di Montalcino is any indication of how good the Brunello of the same Vintage to be released 3 years later will be, and it usually is, then we are in store for some great Brunello 2009 when they are release in January of 2014.
At the recent "Brunello Tasting" for the 2006 Vintage Brunello's, the 2009 Rosso di Montalcino's that were on hand, where absolutely wonderful and the big surprise of the tasting held at The New York Hilton. Rosso's where on hand by some but not all producers of Brunello, and most that I tasted were outstanding. Some were just about close to perfection, with wonderful balance of an abundance of Fruit, against just the right amount of acid content, and tannic backbone. Some of these wines were an absolute Joy to drink as with examples by; Argiano, Fattoria Barbi, Il Poggione, and the
Rosso di Montalcino from the Castel Giacondo Estate of the Noble Florentine Family, The Frescobaldi's.
      I really loved the Rosso from Argiano which reminded me of the year of 2008 when my friends the Rozner Brothers Dave and Michael found ourselves quite a number of times hanging at the highly popular and one of New York's best Trattoria's "Bar Pitti" having some good ole times drinking
Rosso di Montalcino "Argiano" 2006. This was a good year for Rosso from Montalcino and we must of had at least 50 bottles of the stuff that year. One day we were joined by friend Curtis Stone. We had a wonderful 2 1/2 hour lunch that day, eating Tripp, Prosciutto, and Pasta accompanied by 5 bottles of Argiano Rosso which we thoroughly enjoyed. And this is all of what wines should be along with the food that goes with them and the restaurants or homes we share our meals in; good Friends, tasty Food, and great wine. That's the good life or as we Italians would say La Dolce Vital, "The Sweet Life." Enjoy!
by Daniel Bellino Zwicke
"Yes we had many great times drinking this wine at BAR PITTI

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Tasting AMARONE & Italian Wines in New York


Went to the Moon Light Wine Tasting at Panebianco Wines the other night and it was one of my most enjoyable wine-tastings in quite some time. It was more like a wine tasting of friends that are not in the business of buying or selling wine than the many tastings I go to that are more businesslike, though I always make the tastings I go to somewhat of a social event, more so than business. When I go to these numerous tastings held for professionals in the business I always go to have a good time, taste, learn, and socialize. Well at Panebianco's Moon Light Tasting the other night I didn't need to try very hard to relax and enjoy it purely as a party, for that what it was and the evening was most enjoyable, starting out with a nice refreshing glass of Prosecco (actually two), moving on to some Greco di Tufo and Fiano d' Avelino before tasting the fine Pugnane Barolo and La Togato Brunello before moving on to the main event of a vertical tasting of some 8 vintages of Venturini Amarone which was hosted by M. Venturini of the Venturini Family of San Foriano, Italy in the heart of the Valpolicella Classico Wine Region of Italy, which is the zone that produces; Bardolino, Valpolicella, Recioto di Valpolicella, Amarone and other wines.


A bottle of Venturini AMARONE della VALPOLICELLA 2009

One of 8 wonderful offerings of Venturini Amarone we drank that night.

Just Yummy !!!

Our Host for the Evening M. VENTURINI telling us about her family's wines ..


Saturday, November 12, 2016

Super Bowl of Italian Wine

Bottega del Vino

aka Bottega Vini

One of the oldest and historical Osteria in Verona. Bottega del vinowas founded in 1890 and nowadays is one of the most renowned restaurant in town, especially for the huge wine selection it offers. More than 1500 labels and 40.000 bottles with rarities and exceptionally valuable vintages. A chance to taste and discover not only almost all the local Veronese, but also other Italian and world wines.
Antica Bottega delVino is an illustrious survivor of the hundred osterias that once dotted Verona, meeting places for guilds and corporations. This was where the local dialect poets hung out together with Berto Barbarani, the bard of Verona, joined by journalists from the L'Arena and Gazzettino newspapers. Painters such as Dall’Oca Bianca and Umberto Boccioni came here to down quinti and goti.Antica Bottega del Vino is the only restaurant in Verona to be officially recognised as a “historic establishment” and boasts one of the 10 best restaurant wine cellars in Italy.

Inside The Bottega del Vini


The Board at BOTTEGA del VINO

I first went onto the Bottega Vini on a trip I made to Italy in 1995 .. I fell in love with the place immediately. What Italian Wine lover wouldn't, for the Bottega del Vini iw without quetion Italy's single most famous WIne Bar of all. Some have coined it a Shrine to Wine, and I attend to agree. Over the years I've coined a number of terms myself that no one else had ever thought of until I myself, terms like Meatball Parm Mondays and others including one I thought up for the famed Bottega d' Vini of Verona, Italy ... The term I invented pertains to the Bottega Vini for just 5 days of the year. These 5 days are during the great Italian Wine Expostion held every April in Verona which is known as Vinitaly, which happens to be the largets wine exposition in the world incuding the great one they have in Bordeaux. 
Vinitaly for an Italian Wine Freak like me is one of the highlights of the year. I usually go to Veron and the fair the last three days of the event, to see and taste wine at Vinitaly with my many friends who have vineyards all over Italy. Friends like Nadi Zenato (Zenato Amarone), Sebastiano Rosa (winemaker of Sassicaia & Barua), famed wine-maker and owner of Podere Scalette in Greve Mr. Vittorio Fiore, Marchese Ferdinando Frescobaldi, Luigi Cappellini of Castello Verrazzano (Chianti), the Columbini's of Fattori Barbi (Brunello) Raffaela Bologna of Giacomo Bologna (Barbera), The King of Barbaresco my buddy Italo Stupino of Castel Neive and others.
I see all my friends who have vineyards all over Italy, we tatse their wines ; Brunello, Barolo, Chianti and ??? We chi-chat and I make plans with some to visit their vineyards for 5 days after Vinitaly has closed. I wake up, have breakfast, head to the fiar grounds and taste wine for about 6 hours before heading back to my hotel to freshen up, take a shower and a nap for a couple hours before going out for dinner at one of my favorite osteria or trattoria in Verona. We have a splendid meal each night with antipasti, pasta, Amarone, Valpolicella and what-not. After dinner it's off to Bottega Vini which is packed to the gills with Italians, Japanese, New Yorkers and others in the Italian Wine and or restuarant business along with some hardcore Italian Wine Geeks. The place is packed and for a New York Italian Wine Guy (formely Wine DIrector of; Barbetta, Bar Cichetti, and Bar Stuzzuchini) it's pure heaven. After the Italians the second highest number of peoples ahppens to be New York Italian Wine Guys such as myself. These New Yorkers are made up of people who sell wine on either the wholesale level (Wine Distributors and Importers) or the retail level (mostly at Italian Restaurants in NY or wine stores) ... Yes it's great to be in this shrine to Italian Wine in the beautiful little Italian city of Verona during the greatest Italian Wine EVent of all, Vinitaly. We're here at this historical wine bar with our Italian friends who make wine along with our friends and fellow New York Italian Wine Peeps and it's pure Bliss, and thus when describing it one day to a friend who wanted to know a little bit about it, I gave him a description and then just told him that being inside the Bottega Vini during Vinitaly was like the Super Bowl and for Italian Wine Guys it was quite literally The Super Bowl of Wine.

Priming a Grand Burgundy Glass

at Bottega Vini


This is the preferred Wine Glass to Drink Amarone

in Verona and its surrounding wine towns

Severino Barzan

longtime owner of Bottega Vini

has sold this famed Osteria 

to a consortium of Amarone producers

The Amarone Families

as They are Called

Who Now Own The Bottega Vini












Giampaolo Motta (owner La Massa ... Greve)

and Author Daniel Bellino Zwicke at Bottega Vini



One of The Top Producers




Author / Italian Wine-Guy DANIEL BELLINO







Joe Macari of Macari Vineyards Mattituk, New York

with Giovanni Folnari of Nozzole

Author Daniel Bellino Zwicke

and Anthony Bellino

Vinitaly 2003, Verona, Italy






Tasting at VinItaly