Sweet Potato, Bacon and Leek Bread Pudding

We recommend pairing Frescobaldi Pomino Bianco DOC wine with this Sweet Potato, Bacon and Leek Bread Pudding recipe.

Serves 8-12


6 cups large cubed bread (Challah, Brioche or Sourdough)
2 fresh sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1? cubes
6 strips thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 tbsp butter
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 leeks, white part only, cleaned and sliced
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, minced
3 tbsp butter, melted
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 cup heavy cream
4 eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter a 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Fry the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat just until brown and cooked through. Remove the bacon from the pan and set aside. Add the butter, sweet potatoes and garlic and saut? until the potatoes begin to soften, about 8 minutes. Add the leeks to the potatoes and continue to cook until the leeks are softened, about another 4 minutes. Add the thyme, cooked bacon and season with salt and pepper.

In a large bowl whisk the cream and eggs together. Add the breadcrumbs and vegetable mixture, toss gently to coat. Spread the mixture in the prepared baking dish and rest for 15 minutes. Put the baking dish inside a larger baking dish and fill the outer dish with boiling water. Bake for 45-55 minutes; cook until a butter knife comes out clean. Remove the bread pudding from the oven and cover until ready to serve. Cut into squares, serve warm.

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Pomino Vinsanto DOC

The Vinsanto is produced from Chardonnay and Trebbiano grapes that are left on the vine before being removed by bunches to be hung and dried from rafters for at least 3 months. The grapes are matured and refined in large vats for 4 years, giving a wine of great fineness.

Tasting Notes
Rich, deep amber. The nose shows exceptional aromatic complexity, from sun-dried grapes and mixed nuts, to candied fruit, with intriguing notes of Asian spices. Impressive weight on the palate, but with magisterial balance; nicely crisp, with a tasty acidity that beautifully offsets the wine? considerable sweetness; a silky, almost endless finish leaves the mouth pleasantly clean.

Food Pairing Suggestions
Pre-eminently a ?editation,?or sipping, wine, it is also delicious with nuts and a wide range of sweets and desserts. Best served in large stemmed crystal.

Ratings & Reviews
2002 Vintage
88 points – Steve Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, August 2007


Luce wine from Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy

Luce was the first wine ever produced in Montalcino by blending Sangiovese and Merlot grapes.

Combining the roundness and suppleness of Merlot with the structure and elegance of Sangiovese seems an obvious idea, but it took progressive thinking of winemaker Lamberto Frescobaldi to do that in the land of the world renowned Brunello di Montalcino, a wine made strictly from 100% Sangiovese.

Tasting Notes – 2007 Vintage
A deep, almost opaque, ruby red greets the eye. The initial fragrances on the nose are clean-edged notes of dark fruit, such as wild blackberry and black cherry, which slowly make way for more pungent impressions of balsam and wild herbs. More evolved nuances of tanned leather and spice make for an impressive finale. The palate is notable for its magisterial structure, but at the same time for its warmth and velvety, rounded mouthfeel. Supple tannins and a supporting vibrant acidity contribute significantly to the wine? overall impressive balance and harmony, perfectly completed by a lengthy, long-lingering finish subtly edged with ripe fruit.

Food Pairing Suggestions
Roast pork, but also wild game such as stewed hare or boar. Wonderful with aged pecorino cheese.

Ratings & Reviews
2006 Vintage
94 points – Wine Spectator, October 15, 2009

2005 Vintage
93 points – Wine Spectator, October 15, 2008
87 points – Wine Advocate #177, June 2008

2004 Vintage
91 points – Wine Spectator, October 15, 2007
90 points – Wine & Spirits
86 points – Wine Advocate #177, June 2008

2003 Vintage
92 points – Wine Spectator, October 31, 2006
92 points / Cellar Selection – Wine Enthusiast, May 1, 2007
88 points – Wine Advocate #171, June 2007

2002 Vintage
87 points – Wine Spectator, October 31, 2005

2001 Vintage
92 points – Wine Spectator, October 31, 2004
92 points – Wine Enthusiast Magazine, September 1, 2006
93 points – Wine Advocate #164, April 2006

2000 Vintage
92 points – Wine Enthusiast Magazine, October 1, 2004
91 points – Wine Spectator, October 15, 2003
89 points – Wine Advocate #147, June 2003

1999 Vintage
93 points – Wine Spectator, October 31, 2002
90 points – Wine Enthusiast Magazine, September 1, 2002


The Benefizio Pomino Bianco DOC is the product of the Chardonnay grape variety harvested from the estate vineyard and fermented and matured in oak barriques for 10 months. This is an elegant, supremely distinctive cru that displays an unbelievably rich array of aromas and sensory impressions.

Tasting Notes – 2008
The eye is immediately drawn to the wine? deep, gold-flecked straw-yellow color, easily matched by a rich, multi-layered nose of striking length, which offers mimosa blossom, white peach, and ripe banana notes. The structure is as firm as one would want, while the silky texture and roundness of the palate are utterly seductive, qualities superbly enhanced by a crisp acidity, generous alcohol, and savory fruit. Ripe fruit, particularly ripe pineapple, marks the finish which concludes the wine on a note of great balance and elegance.

Food Pairing Suggestions
A wine for enjoying throughout a meal that begins with any fish, such as baked salmon fillet or caviar, and continues with veal or poultry. Or serve with vegetable soup or liver terrine (served a tad warmer than usual), ravioli with vegetables, seafood, or roast saddle of rabbit.

Browse our Italian recipe collection by wine pairing.

Ratings & Reviews
2007 Vintage
90 points – Wine Spectator, October 31, 2009

2006 Vintage
88 points – Wine Spectator, August 31, 2008
88 points – Wine Advocate, #177, June 2008

2005 Vintage
89 points – Wine Advocate, #171, June 2007
88 points – Wine Spectator, 2006
88 points – Steve Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, August 2007

Sottocenere al Tartufo

Truffles, truffles, truffles. How can we get enough of them? I’ve never reached satiation, because they’re an ultra expensive and a very rare delicacy. Rejoice! You can enjoy truffles in an affordable manner since flakes of this extraordinary fungus are imbedded in Sottocenere al Tartufo, a semi-soft cow’s milk cheese from Italy.

Ash mixed with zesty spices cover the cheese’s rind carrying on the ancient tradition of preserving the cheese while imparting flavors that work wonderfully with the truffles inside. Sottocenere actually means “under ash” in Italian. The rind is robust and the cheese at first tastes kind of mild and then it hits you. The pungent and fresh earthy mushroomy flavor of the black truffles is now melded in your mouth via the creaminess of the cheese. What a treat.

This cheese is beautiful on your table. Simply surround a nice hunk of Sottocenere al Tartufo with sliced crusty bread and that’s it. The cheese needs no condiments as it has it own inside and on the outside. I also love to serve it with pasta simply drizzled with olive oil and tossed with the grated cheese. A glass of red wine will complete this easy and deliciously rewarding dish.

The pairing of Sotecenere al Tartufo with Nipozzano Chianti R?na Riserva DOCG is one you’ll want add to your pairings log. The earthiness of the truffles in the cheese accentuates the wine? fruit and then the spice flavors begin to rise. These all mingle in your mouth for a really complex tasting experience. Try the cheese and a sip of wine without the rind first and experience the combination. Then, take a bit of the cheese with the rind, a sip of wine and have a blast as you ride down The Cheese Highway.

Pasta and Bean Soup

Recommended wine pairing: Nipozzano Chianti Rufina Riserva DOCG

Serves: 6-8 as first course
Chef: Donatella Zampoli

1 medium-sized onion- finely chopped
4 oz. extra virgin olive oil
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
4 oz. uncooked prosciutto – diced
1 lb, 2 oz. red borlotti beans (red kidney beans will do)
1 glass Remole Toscana red wine
9 oz. pasta (a short type is best)
Salt and pepper
2 cloves of garlic

Soak the beans overnight.

Saute the finely chopped onion in the olive oil with the rosemary and garlic cloves in a stock pot. Add the diced prosciutto. When softened, pour in the wine and let it reduce slowly.

Add the beans to the onion with about 3 1/2 pints of water. When the beans are cooked, puree half of them in a blender. Return the puree to the stock pot, and add more water if necessary, but not too much as the soup should remain quite thick. Remove the rosemary sprig and add the pasta. Simmer until the pasta is cooked.

Serve the soup with a drizzle of olive oil and freshly ground black pepper.

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Provolone (proh-voh-LOH-nee) is a semi-hard hazelnut colored cheese you?ve probably enjoyed on sandwiches like those fantastic Italian submarines. But have you paired this cheese with wine? Magnificent!

Provolone is made in a myriad of traditional shapes such as cylinders, pears, spheres, cones and even watermelons. You?ve likely seen them hanging from the ceiling at Italian gourmet and cheese stores. You must experience a true pleasure and try Provolone with Frescobaldi Nipozzano Chianti R?fina Riserva DOCG.

Classically made in Italy, Provolone is now easy to find and crafted from old family recipes by cheesemakers like Wisconsin?s BelGioioso. Provolone is a cow?s milk cheese that?s made in a similar manner to Mozzarella. The curds are pulled and stretched, finished into the shapes and hung up to dry. Dolce Provolone is aged 2-3 months and delivers a milder and even kind of sweet flavor. Piccante is aged from 6 months to even a full year. This is where the very big sharp flavor is found. Provolone also is available smoked. Smoked Provolone rocks with the Nipozzano Chianti and brings out the plummy-ness in this wine followed by a spicy finish.

I like creating a cheese plate that includes both the Dolce and Piccante Provolone and then take my friends for a trip down The Cheese Highway? to really different flavors pairing the wine and each cheese. You and your guests will have the enjoyment of tasting how the young Provolone works with the wine in its own way. And, how the aged Provolone works beautifully but differently with the wine. Each will take you on a different adventure. I love drizzling Provolone with a peppery Tuscan olive oil or an acacia honey for increased happiness. Cheers!

Cheese Salsa

2 cups Monterey Jack cheese – chopped
1/4-1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup mild salsa
1/4 cup chopped green peppers (optional)

Melt the cheese in a pot on the stove, keeping the heat on low. Add the milk a little at a time until you reach the consistency desired. Add the salsa and the chopped peppers, and serve warm.

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Ingredient Descriptions

Adobo: A sauce or paste made from a variety of ingredients that may include chiles, salt, vinegar, garlic, and herbs.

Aioli: A simple mixture of garlic and mayonnaise.

All-purpose flour: An all-around flour with a fine texture that comes either “bleached” or “unbleached”.

Allspice: Usually used in ground form, allspice has a flavor like a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Allspice is used in both savory and sweet dishes.

Anchovy: An oily fish, anchovy fillets often preserved in salt. Anchovy essence is also available. Both used as flavorings.

Anise: A licorice-flavored plant whose seeds and leaves are used to flavor a variety of dishes.

Baking Powder: A leavener that is used to cause breads and cakes to rise

Baking Soda: A leavener, that is used in breads and cakes. Baking soda can also be used to neutralize the acidity in certain dishes

Balsamic Vinegar: Dark brown vinegar from Italy, made from grape juice aged in wooden casks.

Basil: A member of the mint family, basil has a flavor similar to bay leaves and oregano, and somewhat minty. It can usually be found fresh or dried. Fresh basil is used to make pesto.

Bass: White fish with three types: sea, silver and striped.

Bay Leaves: An evergreen shrub, with aromatic leaves. used as a herb both fresh and dried.

Beignet: A deep-fried pastry, dusted with confectioner’s sugar.

Black Pepper: Whole peppercorns of varying colors used as a seasoning.

Brisket: A cut of beef from the belly, used for slow roasting, casseroles, stews or mincing.

Brown Sugar: Refined sugar with a thin coating of molasses, not to be confused with raw, unrefined sugar.

Buckwheat: A grain sometimes ground as flour.

Buttermilk: A sour milk that is made by adding microorganisms to whole milk.

Capers: Pickled flower buds that originate in the Mediterranean.

Castor Sugar: Superfine sugar.

Cayenne: A small, hot, chile pepper, usually used ground or in pepper sauces.

Celery Seeds: Dried celery seeds of, used in bread making, egg and fish dishes and Bloody Marys.

Chicon: A single bulb of chicory.

Chili Powder: A spicy blend of ground chile peppers and spices.

Chive: A relative of onion and garlic, chives have and a mild onion flavor. Available fresh and dried.

Chutney: A spicy relish, often preserved.

Cilantro: A pungent, leafy herb resembling flat-leaf parsley. Cilantro is sometimes called Chinese parsley, Coriander, or Mexican parsley. It is available fresh or dried.

Cinnamon: A sweet spice bark used as a flavoring.

Clarified Butter: Butter that has been heated and strained and all impurities removed, cooks at a higher temperature without burning.

Cloves: A sweet, pungent, spice used as a flavoring.

Coconut: The fruit of the coconut palm, used in both sweet and savory dishes.

Cod: A sea fish with flaky, white flesh.

Comino: Ground cumin seeds.

Coriander: Used in both seed and leaf forms for its unique flavoring. Also known as Cilantro.

Corn Syrup: Very sweet syrup similar to golden syrup.

Cornflour: A starch extract used to thicken sauces.

Court Bouillon: A savory bouillon made from fish stock. Court bouillon is used for poaching fish and as a base for fish sauces.

Cro?ns: Small cubes of crispy, fried bread used as a garnish.

Cumin: A spice frequently used in Latin American, Oriental, and Indian cooking. Cumin has a warm, salty-sweet flavor similar to caraway.

Curry Powder: A blend of up to 20 herbs and spices, curry powder is widely used in Indian cooking.

Dill: Also known as dill weed. Dill is an annual herb which grows to a height of about 3 feet. Fresh or dried, dill is used as a flavoring for a variety of dishes, including meat, vegetables, salads, and sauces.

Feta cheese: A creamy white Greek cheese made from ewe? and cow? milk and kept in brine to give a salty flavor.

Garlic: A bulb made up of sections of “cloves.” Garlic is closely related to the onion.

Garlic Salt: A mixture of salt and ground dehydrated garlic powder.

Gelatine: A setting agent, derived from animals, available as a powder or a sheet. Used to make jellies, mousses, etc.

Giblets: The heart, neck, liver, and gizzard of poultry.

Ginger: A root with a peppery, spicy flavor. Ginger is available in fresh root form, ground, crystallized, and candied.

Glucose: The natural sugar, found in fruit and other foods, which is easily absorbed by the body.

Gorgonzola: An Italian cow’s milk cheese, pale in color with blue veining.

Gumbo: A thick stew made with vegetables and meats that originated in New Orleans

Halibut: Flat sea fish with firm white flesh.

Hominy: Dried white or yellow corn.

Honey: Naturally sweet, syrupy liquid produced by bees.

Horn of Plenty: A woodland mushroom.

Horseradish: A root. used to make a hot sauce.

Hummus: A thick paste made from chickpeas and spices.

Italian Parsley: Also known as flat-leaf parsley, this plant has a stronger aroma and flavor than the curly-leafed variety.

Jamaican Jerk Spices: A concoction of spices that includes cinnamon, chiles, allspice, cloves, garlic, onions, and thyme.

Lard: Rendered and clarified, white pork fat, used for cooking.

Leek: Resembles a large scallion yet has a mild flavor. Used mainly in soups and stews.

Lemon Grass: A herb with a lemon flavor and odor, used as flavoring.

Mace: The outer skin of the nutmeg seed used for flavoring foods.

Maple Syrup: The sap of the maple tree, popular in the United States and Canada.

Marinade: A liquid sauce that is used to soften and flavor meats before cooking. Most marinades contain ingredients like vinegar, oil, lemon, wine, beer, herbs, and spices.

Marjoram: A green herb, used as flavoring.

Marsala: A fortified wine from Italy, Marsala is offered either sweet or dry.

Masala: A spice mixture used in Indian cooking that can include mace, coriander, and cardamom.

Mint: A green herb with a range of varieties, used as flavoring.

Molasses: A thick, dark, heavy sweet syrup.

Mozzarella: An Italian water-buffalo milk fresh or un-ripened cheese sold in whey.

Mustard: Mustard generally contains husked seed, plus wheat flour and turmeric. Water is added to produce a thick paste.

Mutton: The meat from mature sheep, dark red in color and rich in flavor.

Noodles: A type of pasta cut into thin flat strips.

Nutmeg: A spicey and aromatic seed that when grated is used to flavor both desserts and savory dishes.

Okra: Green pods mainly used in Southern U.S. dishes.

Olive Oil: The oil that is produced from ripened olives. The highest quality olive oil is Extra Virgin, which is the oil that is pulled from the very first press.

Olive: The small oval fruit of the olive tree, early olives are green, mature olives are black. It’s rich oil is used for frying, marinades, dressings and baking.

Oregano: An greenish herb used in a variety of Italian and Mexican dishes available in both in dried and fresh forms.

Oyster Mushroom: A grey or greyish-brown fungus that grows in clumps or clusters.

Paprika: A spice that is made from dried ground sweet red peppers.

Parmesan: Hard, cow’s-milk Italian cheese.

Parsley: A green herb used as flavoring, garnish or used as a vegetable.

Pasta: A dough made from durum-wheat semolina, water and sometimes eggs. Sold dried or fresh.

P?: A paste or spread made from meat or fish, can be of various textures from smooth to coarse.

Portobello Mushroom: A flat dark open mushroom.

Poussin: A small immature chicken, also called a spring chicken.

Prawn: Shellfish with several different varieties.

Rice Flour: An alternative to wheat flour also used as a thickening agent.

Rice Vinegar: A vinegar made from rice wine.

Ricotta: An un-ripened soft and creamy Italian ewe? milk curd.

Rock Salt: A salt derived from the seams of compacted underground sources.

Rosemary: An aromatic shrub with pungent leaves are used either fresh or dried as a flavoring.

Rump: Cut of beef from the lower back.

Saddle: The undivided loin from a meat carcass.

Saffron: An expensive spice that is pulled from purple crocus flower. It is used in a variety of dishes for its aromatic flavoring and deep coloring properties.

Sage: A aromatic herb used for flavoring.

Salt Pork: Similar to bacon but has a much higher fat content and is not smoked.

Scallop: A shellfish with firm and white flesh and an orange or pale red coral (roe).

Seasoned Flour: Flour with salt, pepper or spices added used to lightly coat meat or fish before stewing or frying.

Tamarind: A sweet and sour fruit that is used in Indian cooking as well as Worcestershire sauce.

Tarragon: A herb, often with an aniseed flavor, used as a flavoring.

Thyme: A grey-green aromatic leaves and small purple flowers, used as a flavoring.

Topside: Cut of beef from the rear of the animal.

Truffle: An underground rounded, irregular shaped fungus with a distinctive.

Vegetable Shortening: The vegetarian alternative to lard.

Vinaigrette: A simple mixture of oil and vinegar with the addition of herbs and spices.

Vinaigrette: A cold sauce made from a mixture of vinegar, oil, pepper, salt and flavorings used to dress green salads.

Whipping Cream: Cream with a fat content over 35 percent.

White Sauce: A basic bland smooth, thickened sauce used basis of many other sauces.

Worcestershire Sauce: Worcestershire Sauce is a spicy dark brown sauce, used as a flavoring or condiment.

Zest: The thin, brightly colored outer part of the rind of citrus fruits. It contains volatile oils, used as a flavoring.