For this month’s food and wine pairing we traveled across the country to Portland, OR where we found Grüner, a delightful-looking restaurant that blends the pleasures of the Pacific Northwest and Central Europe together. Just look at the name… it’s perfect!

Grüner is owned and operated by award winning Chef and restaurateur Chris Israel. Chris takes diners on a trip down the Danube offering cuisine typical of Germany, Hungary, Romania and, you guessed it, Austria through the use of classic ingredients from this region. Don’t worry, the wine list pairs perfectly.

Chris chose something special for us, just in time for Valentines Day: Beef & Ricotta Dumplings and he paired it with a delicious, easy-drinking Zweigelt from Weingut Presinger.

The Recipe: Beet & Ricotta Dumplings

3 C whole milk ricotta, drained overnight in colander or sieve lined with cheesecloth

1 C parmesan

1.5 C cooked pureed beets, drained overnight in a colander lined with cheesecloth

with a small stack of plates or other heavy item to press down on puree

1 egg + 2 egg yolks, beaten

2.5 tsps salt

1/2 – 1 C AP flour + extra for rolling out dumplings


Combine cheeses and beets and mix well to incorporate. add eggs, salt and pepper and mix well. gently incorporate flour and let rest for 1/2 hr. refrigerated, covered,

When it’s chilled, roll out on a floured surface, use as much flour as needed to keep it from sticking to the surface and your hands. Gently roll and stretch to a thickness of 1.5” – 2 “.

Using a knife cut into approx 1.5 – 2’’ lengths and roll each segment into a football shaped dumpling. repeat with rest of dough.

Fill a shallow but wide pot with water and bring to a boil. gently deposit dumplings into water and turn down heat to med low.

Do not let the water boil again. they will rise to the surface and after a couple minutes roll them over by gently shaking the pan or using a plastic utensils as they are fragile in this state. Continue cooking for 2-3 more minutes, remove with a slotted spoon and serve immediately with lots of melted butter, poppy seeds, grated Parmesan and minced chives.

The Wine:

Weingut Preisinger is known for approachable red wines. Claus Preisinger, head winemaker of  Weingut Preisinger, practices biodynamic farming and focuses on crafting wines that showcase their fruit as well as their true character. Claus is also a member of the Pannobile group in Austria and is considered to be a “champion” or local grapes.