On Oscar Day we cooked a ribollita from the recently released Williams-Sonoma Cookbook: The Essential gratuitous image of Penelope Cruz Recipe Collection for Today’s Home Cook (Free Press, $34.95), a terrific cookbook with lots of pictures. Ribolitta is a purely vegetarian Italian soup whose broth, in this recipe, is made from cannellini beans that are simmered with garlic and sage and then pureed. The vegetables are onions, carrots, celery, potatoes, Savoy cabbage, Swiss chard and lacinato kale and crushed tomatoes. You toast or grill slices of rustic bread, place them in the bottoms of wide bowls and ladle the soup over the bread. Yikes, this is seriously good, a really hearty winter dish, or end of winter.

We ate this marvelous concoction while we watched the Oscar ceremonies, a rather depressing, even degrading display of chutzpah, sentimentality, bad writing and cloying spectacle, but there we were. We had seen few of the contending movies — we wait for DVDs and pizza night — but you read so much about these matters in The New York Times and other newspapers and magazines that you might as well have seen them.
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Anyway, the true point here is the wine we drank with the ribollita, the Nieto Senetiner Reserva Torrontes 2008, from Argentina’s Mendoza region; the winery was founded in 1888. I’ll go out on a limb and assert that this is the best example of torrontes I have tasted, and not because it’s pumped up with oak — the way poor gruner veltliners are now in Austria, so they feel like bad chardonnays and cost $50 — ; no, this all stainless steel torrontes is allowed to express itself eloquently without the bolstering of wood. Aromas of green grapes, orange zest, roasted lemon and jasmine tantalize the nose. In the mouth, the wine offers lovely balance between bright acidity and an almost lush texture; to the citrus element is added a note of peach, a hint of pineapple and a touch, on the finish, of grapefruit and a smidgeon of bracing grapefruit bitterness. The finish also brings in a tide of minerality, a scintillating element that rounds everything off nicely. Very Good+. I paid $14 for the wine, but it can be found around the country as low as $10.

Imported by Winebow, Inc., New York.

Gratuitous images of Penelope Cruz from cinenaisdope.com.