It’s well established that asado barbecue and Malbec are two of the best-known aspects of Argentine culture across the world. However, the versatility of the iconic variety means that it goes beautifully with a range of dishes in Argentine cuisine, including pasta and milanesas. This is one of the themes of Malbec World Day 2023.
Of course, when it comes to choosing the right Malbec for the right dish, those in the know will tell you that it very much depends on the sauce on the pasta and whether the milanesa is served on its own or with toppings (such as the Napolitana version, which features tomato, ham and cheese, for instance).
And it’s a tip worth bearing in mind given the enormous variety of styles of Malbec produced across the vast country.
Here, by way of an example, and to keep the celebrations of Malbec World Day 2023 going, two very prestigious professional chefs share recipes for pasta and milanesas and choose the Malbec that will go best with each dish.
The first is Julieta Oriolo, one of Buenos Aires’ leading proponents of Italian cuisine, the owner of La Alacena Trattoria, and Christian Petersen, an expert in Argentine beef, the owner of several restaurants and two further meat-related enterprises (P_Milas, P_Hermanos).
Malbec World Day 2023: celebrate with pasta
A brilliant and original maker of artisanal pasta, Oriolo suggests Maccheroni al Ferretto, a traditional recipe from southern Italy, with pomodoro and ‘nduja sauce, the latter a Calabrese delicacy with a spicy, pepperoncino flavor.
“This pasta goes very well with a young, vibrant Malbec, the unoaked kind from a cool, high altitude region, or one made through carbonic maceration, whose freshness contrasts with the fat and spice of the ´nduja and the acidity of the tomato.”
Maccheroni al Ferretto
For the pasta
- 200 cc water
- 5 g salt
- 400 g coarse grained semolina
For the sauce
- ½ cup basil leaves
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 500 g pomodoro sauce
- 80 g ´nduja
- 1 cup of cooked haricot beans
Mix the semolina with the salt and make a crown on the table. Pour water in the dip in the middle and mix in the semolina from the edge. Knead for ten minutes until a smooth ball is formed. Cover with a cloth and let rest for half an hour.
Cut the dough into small portions and cover the rest to ensure it doesn’t dry out. Roll out into 5 mm thick lines. Cut into 5 cm long segments and spread across the table.
Place a thin metal cylinder in the middle of one of the segments, push down on the table, stretch the dough along the cylinder as far as possible. Carefully withdraw the cylinder and repeat the process for each segment. Let the maccheroni dry for 30 minutes on a tray dusted with semolina.
Pour the olive oil into a pan and sprinkle in the pieces of ‘nduja. Warm for a few minutes until they melt. Add the pomodoro sauce, mix well and cook for 10 minutes to integrate the flavors, add the beans and cook for a few minutes more.
Cook the maccheroni in a pot with plenty of boiling water and coarse salt for about six minutes. Strain and pour into the pan with the pomodoro. Add the basil leaves, mix and serve.
Milanesas and Malbec, a perfect pairing
Christian Petersen is a cook with long history in Argentine cuisine who has presented numerous television series. Argentine beef has always been one of his passions.
“Milanesas made with Argentine beef are perfection themselves. With quality eggs, a homemade breadcrumb mix, good seasoning and proper frying, they’re a delight. All Argentinians make milanesas, I like them thick. Remove all the fat and season them well. I like to make them with sirloin steak and accompany them with a fresh Malbec, not too potent but with good character to counteract the oil, complemented by a few drops of lemon juice.”
Sirloin steak milanesas
- 1 cut of sirloin steak
- 2 eggs
- Salt and pepper
- Chopped parsley, 1 tbsp mustard, garlic paste
Trim the fat from the steak. Slice into thick strips. Using a cooking hammer, beat the strips until they’re tender.
In a bowl, beat the eggs and mix in the salt, pepper, chopped parsley, mustard and garlic paste (bake a whole head of garlic with olive oil, wrapped in aluminum foil, on a low heat for about 40 minutes and enjoy the resulting garlic paste).
Dip the meat into the egg mix and then into the breadcrumbs. Once all the milanesas are coated, warm up a pan with plenty of oil (without burning it) and fry until golden. Remove and place on absorbent paper. Serve with recently sliced lemon.
As Malbec World Day 2023 comes around, what could be better than trying out different recipes to enjoy the wine in all its different incarnations?