As summer fades into fall, Napa Valley comes alive with the harvest of produce and crush of wine grapes. Our rustic meal makes the most of the bounty — read on to learn how to pull it off.
Impress guests with a first course of fresh pasta with almond pesto, served with perfectly ripe whole roasted tomatoes alongside. For the main course, we love this chicken braised in white wine, a lighter, more delicate dish than traditional Coq au Vin, which calls for red wine. Our recipe is heightened with piquant olives and capers — don’t forget crusty bread to soak up the savory juices.
On the side, serve crisp-tender green beans topped with chopped hazelnuts, along with aromatic herb-roasted potatoes. Finish the meal with this gorgeous fig crostata and a dollop of honeyed mascarpone cheese.
- 1 to 2 days ahead: Make the dough for the crostata and refrigerate. Braise the chicken, cool, and refrigerate overnight.
- Day of: Bake the crostata. Make the pasta and set aside on a tray dusted with semolina flour.
- Just before serving: Make the roasted potatoes and the green beans. Finish the pasta and reheat the chicken.
We asked Christina Machamer, the chef and wine educator at B Cellars Vineyard and Winery, for wine pairings to go with our harvest-themed menu. Here’s what she recommends for each course:
- Fresh Fettuccine with Almond Pesto & Roasted Tomatoes: “Sauvignon Blanc’s light body and crisp acidity is my go-to for green pesto.”
- Braised Chicken with Olives & Capers: “Sonoma Chardonnay has an acid structure that pairs well with briny capers and olives.”
- Green Beans with Toasted Hazelnuts & Lemon Zest: “Gruner Veltliner goes well with green vegetables.”
- Herb-Roasted Potatoes: “A full-bodied Syrah brings out a hint of smoke.”
- Fig Crostata: “A late-harvest Riesling enhances fruit’s natural sweetness.”
Decorate your table with earthenware plates that show the bounty of the season, featuring olive branches, artichokes, mushrooms and more. Layer them with rustic woven chargers for natural texture, and mix and match napkins in complementary colors. We love pairing these solid linens in rich hues with printed paisley napkins.
Instead of flowers, place glass hurricane candles down the center of the table, and line the bowls with branches of olives or bay leaves to evoke the harvest. Fill wooden bowls with artichokes and eggplants to celebrate the garden-fresh produce of late summer and fall.