Perciatelli with Cacio e Pepe

With my mom out of town and my tasting room employees on spring break, I had a crazy-busy week among the feeding of the animals, the watering of the plants, and the extra hours at work. On Friday night, all I wanted to do was veg out and eat something comforting…sometimes, you just feel like a bowl of noodles.

Perciatelli is a thick spaghetti-like pasta shape that has a hole in the center – it’s like a spaghetti tube. Even when al dente, it doesn’t twirl because it’s so thick. I broke the noodles in half for this recipe, which made it a dantier dish. And of course, what’s a meal without the perfect wine and cheese pairing?

The other night, I had a bottle of Chronic Cellars (one of my FAVORITE wineries) 2007 La Muneca, which is 50% Roussanne and 50% Viogner, chilling in the fridge. I picked up a hunk of parmigiano reggiano from the cheese side of the operation (The operation being my place of work, Vivant Fine Cheese), headed home, and threw together this delicious dinner.

"The Doll"

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Butternut Squash Bisque with Gruyere Croutons

As many of you know, I manage the tasting room/bistro Vihuela, which is located in downtown Paso Robles (see the Media page for a press clipping about it!). In addition to being a tasting room, cheese shop, and bistro, we are also the North County pick-up spot for the Cal Poly Organic Farm CSA program! We are lucky enough to be able to use their delicious produce to make some of our menu items…including the soups we have been offering all winter!

To be honest, I didn’t even think I liked butternut squash soup or bisque, but I started making it because I knew it would be well-received. The versions I had tried in the past were always too heavy and rich. After trying a few different things, I decided this way of making the bisque is my favorite – it’s surprisingly light and fresh, and I grew to love it. All of our customers raved about this dish, it definitely became our most popular soup! So warming for winter! Enjoy!