Montepulciano d’Abruzzo: Highly Popular but Little Known

It’s time to dig in. In the Northeast, the cold and dark of winter are arriving, made even chillier by the unrelenting Covid-19 pandemic. The holidays, at least, will be festive in 2020’s own peculiar way.

I don’t know about you, but I am grateful for the new set of ingredients that comes with the colder weather, at least for relieving me of the tedium of my own cooking. I am excited for the possibilities of old favorites that have been on seasonal hiatus during the warmer months.

For me, that means stews, roasts, pots of beans and hearty pasta dishes. I am especially looking forward to preparing a big tray of lasagna, in what has become a New Year’s Eve tradition for my wife and me once we decided that late-night parties were more burden than joy.

Regina Schrambling’s recipe, published almost 20 years ago, has never steered me wrong. It’s time-consuming, however. Plan it for a day when several hours in the kitchen is exactly what you want, preferably with some good music and maybe a glass of wine.

The lasagna goes beautifully with sangiovese wines like Chianti Classico. It’s great with Etna Rossos and good barberas. But this year I’m imagining it with Montepulciano d’Abruzzo.