We love this spicy beef ravioli

How about a wine that’s perfect for a spicy beef ravioli?  Soon after Renato Mekolli emmigrated to Athens at the age of 10, he started working as a dishwasher to help his family. One day, he accidentally broke some of the dishes that he was cleaning. Assuming he was fired, Mekolli became upset and left the restaurant. However, the chef at the restaurant had recognized Mekolli’s natural culinary talents, sought him out and encouraged him to go to culinary school. Now, many years later, Mekolli is an award-winning chef at Vassilenas, an historic Greek restaurant in Athens.

One of Mekolli’s signature dishes is fresh homemade ravioli stuffed with beef and spicy red sauce. The recipe is as simple as it is delicious: shells made from flour, eggs, olive oil, salt and pepper, and an oxtail filling with carrots, onions, garlic, tomatoes, red wine and seasoning.

When pairing wine with beef ravioli and red sauce, Mekolli suggests a complex, acidic wine such as Xinomavro from Amyndeo, Naoussa, Goumenissa or Rapsani.

Homemade ravioli is always delicious, but when paired with Greek wine, it is divine. Be sure to check your local wine shop for Xinomavro to take your ravioli dinner to the next level.

Find the recipe here.

The sublime wonders of Diane Kochilas’ spanakopita lasagna

If you’ve never heard of Diane Kochilas, you just haven’t been watching enough television.

The queen of healthy Greek cuisine, Diane is a chef who has been on “The Today Show,” “Martha Stewart,” the Food Network, CNN and more – in addition to starring in Greece’s number one cooking show, “What’s Cooking Today, Mom?” – preaching the wonders of her authentic, seasonal, delicious Greek food.

She’s won awards for her cookbooks, she regularly consults on Ivy League school menus, and she and her husband host a yearly food retreat on the idyllic Greek island of Ikaria, where people basically never age – so when Diane says she has a favorite recipe, we sit up and listen.

Spanakopita and lasagna aren’t often said in the same breath, but this better-together recipe gave us one of those a-ha moments – we can’t believe we didn’t think of it first!

A traditional filling of spinach, onions, feta and other Greek cheeses gets layered with lasagna noodles, then smothered with creamy Béchamel sauce. A little nutmeg sprinkled to taste, and we’re goners for this cross-cultural twist on an old favorite.

Check out the full recipe at Diane’s website, and don’t forget to sign up for her email list for more authentically amazing Greek recipes like this one.

Aglaia’s Moussaka

There are many versions of Moussaka that come from the countries that historically were part of the Ottoman Empire but Greece is best known for this dish and for good reason.  Chef and author, Aglaia Kremezi has provided a recipe that was handed down to her from her mother.  We all know that moms usually know best and with the weather getting cooler, Moussaka is a great dish to serve to friends and family. Continue reading Aglaia’s Moussaka

Try This Lamb Burger from Chef Michael Psilakis

If you’ve seen Chef Michael Psilakis on TV or eaten in one of his restaurants, you’ll want to try this scrumptious lamb burger. It’s a Greek hamburger with the flavors of Cypriot cuisine. If you want to grill burgers this Memorial Day with great taste, this has your name all over it. Try it with a glass of Agioritiko or Xinomavro (think spicier cabs). Continue reading Try This Lamb Burger from Chef Michael Psilakis