Honorary BB, Allison (aka Cooke), requested that we talk about pairing beer with Italian food. As we all know, the beer/pizza combo is one of God’s greatest gifts to mankind. He came up with that on the third day, I think. The go-to with pasta is usually wine though, partially because pasta dishes can be a bit heavy, and beer feels like too much to fit in your stomach on top of all those noodles.
For this reason, I wanted to come up with a pairing that was light-bodied and had a higher abv—a beer that featured some of the qualities of wine. Enter the Belgian Tripel, a style that masks its high alcohol content with a light, sometimes fizzy body, hints of spice, and slight sweetness. I spotted Victory Brewing Company’s Golden Monkey, a Tripel that I’ve had and enjoyed many times, at the local market, so I grabbed one from the fridge and called it a day. (Side note: something I love about New York is that the cashier doesn’t give you a weird look when you purchase just one beer.)
I threw my extremely simple pasta recipe together off the top of my head. While my noodles were cooking, I chopped two zucchini and sautéed them in olive oil and salt and pepper until they were tender. Next, I threw in a pint of cherry tomatoes and a teaspoon of garlic, and cooked the tomatoes for just a couple of minutes, until the skins started to split. I combined the veggies with my cooked pasta (whole wheat penne), and stirred in a few tablespoons of pesto. Voilà! A sprinkle of Parmesan and dinner was on the table in 25ish minutes. Look out Rachael Ray, there’s a new Rachel in town.
Unfortunately, this episode of Friday Food Pairing wasn’t as successful as Volume 1: Chickpea Potato Curry. The Golden Monkey was a bit boozier and heavier than I remembered, and it didn’t have the level of spiciness that I wanted to mesh with the pesto. It wasn’t a terrible combination by any means, but I think something more carbonated, like the Boulevard Long Strange Tripel or the Westmalle Tripel might have been better. Maddy and I talked it over, and we also think a tart, funky Gueuze, would have been nice.
Happy Friday, party people! I promise to restore Friday Food Pairing to its former glory next week.