France and Italy serve up two of the world’s most celebrated cuisines. This autumn menu borrows a little from both. It's rustic fare and surprisingly simple--a modern fusion of the best the Old World has to offer.
Serve with creamy polenta and open a bottle of sprightly Italian wine for a comforting meal to take the chill off an autumn evening.
It's white with chicken, right? Well, maybe not with this one. Coq au vin is a chicken dish made with (and for) red wine. Burgundy (Pinot Noir) is a classic companion, but this recipe's slight Italian accent means you wouldn't go wrong with Barbera from the Piedmont region of Northwest Italy. Zinfandel would be another good choice. Whatever you choose, pick up a couple of bottles--one for the pot, one for the table.
The Menu, Recipe-by-Recipe
Coq au Vin alla Italiana
Get things going with a real crowd-pleaser.
"Voila, a classic gourmet chicken dinner in under an hour!”
-- Richard, recipe submitter
Rave Review: "This recipe is delicious. It's relatively simple to follow and produces impressive, gourmet-tasting results. Thanks, Richard."
Instead of mashed potatoes, try an Italian staple--polenta--brightened up with sharp Cheddar cheese.
"The trick is to slowly add the cornmeal and whisk constantly to avoid lumps."
--momsosmart, recipe submitter
Rave Review: "I've never made polenta before and this was so easy. I garnished the top with some extra Cheddar, and it was super yummy."
Green Beans with Walnuts
Fresh-cut green beans get the double walnut treatment--they're tossed in walnut oil, then topped with toasted nuts.
"Super yummy dish that can be prepared in advance, and tossed with hot oil just before the dinner is served."
--Tina, recipe submitter
Rave Review: "These were the best green beans I have ever had and I really do not care for green beans. Excellent and I will definitely make again."
-- Shannon W
Fresh Fig Cake
This scone-like cake contains chopped fresh figs and is served with a sweet cooked fig sauce.
"A moist cake made with fresh figs."
--Karin Christian, recipe submitter
Rave Review: "Everyone in my family LOVED this cake! Great use for fresh figs."