From my RV kitchen
Truth be told, only sparkling wines from the French Champagne region may be called "champagne". Others properly go by "sparkling wine", in Spain they are Cavas, and in Italy you’ll enjoy Asti Spumanti. However, most of us use the term "champagne" to describe bubbly, a special occasion beverage that tickles our nose and tantalizes our taste buds. It’s said that the smaller the bubbles the finer the champagne but I’m not really sure how to determine that (the bubble size, that is!).
One of the most important things to consider when choosing champagne – or sparkling wine – is the sweetness or dryness you prefer. The labels can be misguiding. I like a very dry bubbly so one might think I’d choose the "Extra Dry" but alas, no, the "Brut" is for me. According to our friends at Wikipedia the amount of sugar added after the second fermentation and aging varies and will dictate the sweetness level of the champagne:
- Brut Natural or Brut Zéro (less than 3 grams of sugar per liter)
- Extra Brut (less than 6 grams of sugar per liter)
- Brut (less than 15 grams of sugar per liter)
- Extra Sec or Extra Dry (12 to 20 grams of sugar per liter)
- Sec (17 to 35 grams of sugar per liter)
- Demi-Sec (33 to 50 grams of sugar per liter)
- Doux (more than 50 grams of sugar per liter)
My personal favorite budget sparkling wine is Domaine Ste Michelle ($9-$12/bottle) out of Washington state. Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut from Sonoma is on most lists at around $20. Piper Heidsieck Brut is great at around $40/bottle. Pommery, approximately $55, is fabulous. Both Piper Heidsieck and Pommery are true champagnes from France. Of course there are many choices in every price range. Check out this "Top Sparkler and Champagne List" for more information.
8 oz angel hair pasta
2-3 T extra virgin olive oil
1 10oz package of pre-sliced fresh mushrooms
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, and butterflied if you can
11/2 c champagne
1/4 t salt
2 T minced shallots (1 medium shallot)
2 plum tomatoes, diced
1 c heavy cream - divided into 3/4 c and 1/4 c
salt and pepper to taste
3 T chopped fresh parsley
freshly grated parmesan cheese
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for pasta (later in the process).
Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large sauté pan. Cook mushrooms, stirring occasionally until tender. Remove mushrooms from pan and set aside.
Combine champagne, shrimp, and salt in the sauté pan and cook over high heat. Turn shrimp once during cooking process. When liquid just begins to boil remove shrimp from pan (in the same bowl as the reserved mushrooms).
Add shallots and tomatoes to champagne; boil until liquid is reduced to 1/2 cup, about 8 minutes.
Cook pasta until al dente (timing it to be done near the end of the step above). Drain. Toss hot, cooked pasta with remaining 1/4 cup cream and parsley (saving a little parsley to garnish with).
Stir in 3/4 cup cream; boil until slightly thick, about 1 to 2 minutes.
Add shrimp and mushrooms to sauce and heat through, being careful not to heat so much as to overcook the shrimp. Adjust seasonings to taste.
To serve spoon shrimp with sauce over pasta and top with parmesan cheese and parsley garnish.
When choosing a champagne for this recipe save money and purchase a bottle in the $10 range. Purchase something that you'll enjoy drinking - the recipe uses a little less than half a bottle.
Recipe compliments of my good friend Leanne. Thanks!
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