A quick pan sauce can elevate an everyday protein and pasta to something restaurant level in just five minutes. This is my go-to trick for dinner parties or last minute date nights, and the easiest thing about it is that you just use the wine you’re already drinking, which in my case is Barefoot Wine Zinfandel. The technique is simple: cook your meat – any meat – in a pan until done, set it aside, and add the wine to the pan over high heat. The alcohol in the wine will evaporate, and the liquid will lift up all of those delicious brown bits stuck to the pan, creating a rich sauce. Just cook until it’s as thick as you like and drizzle over the final dish. For today, I chose to make meatballs and ziti, and elevated my meal by adding a delicious wine reduction sauce. Sautéed grapes add a bit of freshness and are really delicious with the savory meatballs.
2 pounds ground meat
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons chopped oregano, sage, thyme and Italian parsley all mixed
1/4 cup toasted breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated parmiggiano
2 cups grapes, halved
1 cup Barefoot Wine Zinfandel
8 ounces ziti, cooked
In a large bowl, mix together the meat and all of the ingredients, mixing the egg well to emulsify. Using the palms of your hands, roll the mixture into 1 1/2 inch diameter balls, and set aside. To cook plain, heat a saucepan over a medium flame with a little oil in the pan. Cook the meatballs (you will have to do this in two batches) and halved grapes over a medium to medium high flame for about 6-8 minutes for red meat until all of the sides are browned. Set aside meatballs and grapes on a serving platter. Turn the heat up to high, add about a cup of wine and let the wine cook off for about 5 minutes, scraping the browned bits on the pan with a wooden spoon, until thick and a bit syrupy. Drizzle the wine sauce over the meatballs, add your favorite pasta, like ziti, to make this a full meal. Enjoy!