As a chef, sometimes you have to think outside the box -- or else risk being nothing more than a cook.  I found myself in this position when working for a customer that was on a very special diet.  Little did I know that one of my creations would become a repeat favorite that is often requested and constantly praised: Fire Roasted Tomatoes and Squash Primavera over red quinoa (pronounced: KEEN-Wah). What started out as a recipe that may have resembled Pasta alla Norma became something much more because I needed to make the sauce into something so engaging, flavorful, and significant that it would please the senses, the palate, and the appetite, all on its own.  This dish is vegetarian and extremely healthy but if you let that deter you, or convince yourself that “healthy” may equal “boring,” then you will be missing out.

Castello di Monsanto

The Castello di Monsanto produces one of Chianti’s iconic wines: Chianti Classico Riserva Il Poggio. From the estate’s inception, in the early 1960’s, the goal of the Bianchi family was to produce the finest wines possible. Whether that required the clearing and planting of the ideally situated parcel of land that was to become the Il Poggio vineyard, or the forward thinking move (anticipating the changes of laws) of eliminating the white grapes that were a required...