Autumnal recipes: Three delicious seasonal dishes and their wine pairings

Three popular Australasian food bloggers have shared their favourite autumnal recipes and wine pairings to kickstart your seasonal kitchen.
Three popular Australasian food bloggers have shared their favourite autumnal recipes and wine pairings to kickstart your seasonal kitchen. Photo credit: Supplied

As we near the end of March, there's a certain chill to the air, condensation is beginning to cloud the windows and the grass is damp with dew in the morning. It's officially autumn, a time for our tastes to turn to nourishing, wholesome and heartier food that provides comfort on the cooler days. 

There's also no better time than the turn of the season to get creative in the kitchen with the colourful variety of produce now in-season. Asparagus, courgettes, parsnips, radishes, avocados, feijoas and passionfruit are among the delicious fruit and veg currently available.

Pairing your fresh ingredients with a glass of wine makes a great way to end the day, but it can be difficult to know where to start. To help, three popular Australasian food bloggers have shared their favourite autumnal recipes and wine pairings to kickstart your seasonal kitchen.

Amelia Ferrier's creamy balsamic mushroom, fennel and chicken pappardelle 

Amelia Ferrier, the talented baker behind Melie's Kitchen and a recipe developer at My Food Bag, has shared the recipe for her rich, comforting pappardelle dish.

Pappardelle is a variety of pasta which is large, broad and flat, similar to wide fettuccine, and originates from Tuscany, a region in central Italy famous for its fresh produce and hearty home-cooking.

Packed with fragrant thyme, mushrooms, creamy mascarpone and golden, juicy chicken, Amelia's meal is perfectly paired with a Villa Maria Reserve Pinot Noir, a bright and floral wine that complements the hearty, autumnal flavours.


Chicken and mushrooms:

  • 500g brown button mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 medium shallots, peeled and cut into quarters lengthwise
  • 4 fat cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme and extra sprigs for sprinkling
  • 1.5 tsp fennel seeds
  • 3-4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (or about 600g skinless, boneless chicken thighs)
  • 0.5 cup white wine
  • 0.75 cup chicken stock
  • 200g mascarpone
  • 40g parmesan, finely grated
  • 1.5 tbsp balsamic vinegar.

To serve:

  • 0.25 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 400g dried pappardelle pasta
  • Italian parsley, for garnishing.


Preheat your oven to 180C.

1. Prep chicken and mushrooms

  • Prep mushrooms, shallots, garlic and thyme and set aside separately. Crush fennel seeds in a mortar and pestle (or place seeds onto a chopping board and crush with the base of a heavy fry pan). 
  • Season chicken well with salt and pepper. Sprinkle roughly three quarters of the thyme and crushed fennel seeds over chicken (reserve remaining thyme and fennel for later). Use your fingertips to press thyme and fennel into chicken to help it stick. Set aside.

2. Cook chicken and mushrooms

  • Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a medium, oven-proof fry pan or skillet on medium-high heat. Cook chicken, skin side down, for six to seven minutes, until golden and crispy. Flip and cook chicken on the other side for a further five minutes, until browned (but not fully cooked through). Remove chicken from the pan and set aside on a plate.
  • Return pan to heat, add shallots and season with salt. Cook shallots for about five minutes, until softened and browned. Add mushrooms to the pan with shallots and season again with salt (it will feel like a lot of mushrooms in the pan, but they will wilt down). Cook for a further eight to 10 minutes, tossing often, until mushrooms are tender and any moisture has evaporated. Add garlic and remaining thyme and crushed fennel seeds to the pan. Cook for a further one to two minutes, stirring, until fragrant.
  • Add white wine and chicken stock to the pan, stir and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for a further two to three minutes, until liquid has reduced by about a third. Remove pan from heat and stir through mascarpone, parmesan and balsamic vinegar, until combined. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Nestle the browned chicken (skin-side up) into the sauce, then sprinkle over a few extra sprigs of thyme.
  • Bake chicken and mushrooms on the lower-middle oven rack for 15-20 minutes, until sauce is bubbling and chicken is cooked through (chicken juices should run clear).

3. Cook pappardelle

  • Meanwhile, cook pappardelle in a large pot of heavily salted boiling water, until tender.
  • Drain and return to the pot with a drizzle of olive oil to prevent the pasta from sticking.

4. Serve

  • Sprinkle pine nuts and parsley over chicken and mushrooms. Serve with the pappardelle.

Tip: If you don't have an oven-proof fry-pan, transfer mushroom sauce to a medium baking dish instead, then nestle in the chicken and bake as per instructions.

Autumnal recipes: Three delicious seasonal dishes and their wine pairings
Photo credit: Supplied

Tabitha Lorck's seasonal salads

In the mood for an al fresco lunch? Auckland-based food blogger Tabitha Lorck, the creator of FatTab, has curated the perfect autumnal salads to share with family and friends.

For a delicious spread, perhaps pair the salads with a starter of baked cheese and finish off with a tasty roast chicken and a side of roasted seasonal veggies. To easily elevate the dishes, consider pairing with a Villa Maria Cellar Selection Chardonnay - a fresh and fragrant drop that allows each element to shine in all its glory.

Whipped feta, roast zucchini and pumpkin salad


  • Make a feta whip by blending feta, lemon juice and garlic. Layer it onto a serving platter. You can also add some Greek yoghurt to the mix to make the whip go further. 
  • Top the feta whip with honey-roasted pumpkin, roasted zucchini, fresh pomegranate and rosemary.

Tomato salad with a honey dressing


  • Variety of tomatoes
  • 1 part honey
  • 1 part extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 part white wine vinegar.


  • Slice a variety of tomatoes and layer them on a plate.
  • Mix the honey, olive oil and white wine vinegar together by shaking the ingredients in a jar. 
  • Pour the dressing over the tomatoes then top with lots of salt and pepper, fresh basil, and pickled red onion. Burrata or stracciatella cheese is also a great addition.
Autumnal recipes: Three delicious seasonal dishes and their wine pairings
Photo credit: Supplied

Nicola Easterby's ricotta gnudi with brown butter, sage and hazelnuts

If you're a vegetarian or looking to reduce your meat intake, this vegetable-based dish is a great bet. Nicola Easterby, a photographer and blogger behind the popular food and travel blog, Polkadot Passport, has shared her steps for the perfect gnudi.

For the uninitiated, gnudi are gnocchi-like dumplings made with semolina and ricotta cheese instead of potato. The result is a lighter, 'pillowy' creation, unlike the often denser, chewier gnocchi. 

The perfect recipe for those cooler autumn nights, consider pairing the dish with a glass of Villa Maria's Earth Garden Sauvignon Blanc to bring out the creaminess of the ricotta - a match made in heaven.


Serve 2 as a main or 4 as an entrée

  • 350g ricotta 
  • 0.5 cup parmesan, finely grated (plus more to serve)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 0.25 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 0.25 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup semolina flour
  • 80g butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 14 sage leaves
  • 0.25 cup hazelnuts, lightly toasted.


  • Line a sieve with a nut milk bag or piece of muslin. Place ricotta inside and secure tightly with a rubber band. Leave inside the fridge for at least 1 hour to drain. Before using, lightly squeeze out as much moisture as possible before placing ricotta into a large bowl.
  • Stir in parmesan cheese, egg yolk, nutmeg, salt and pepper and mix until well combined.
  • Place semolina flour into a large container. Take 1 tablespoon of ricotta mixture at a time and roll into a ball with your palms. Roll the gnudi ball in semolina flour until completely covered. Roll again in the palm of your hands until a smooth ball has formed, then place the ball back so it is sitting in the semolina. Repeat with remaining mixture.
  • Cover the gnudi loosely with baking paper and place into the fridge for at least six hours.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Turn down to a simmer, then lower in as many gnudi will fit without overcrowding the pan. Cook for two to three minutes or until the gnudi floats to the top. Remove gnudi from the water with a slotted spoon and place into a sieve to drain off additional water.
  • In a large frying pan, melt butter over medium heat. Once beginning to bubble, add garlic and sage leaves. Cook for a minute. Add gnudi to the pan, gently tossing to cover in sauce. Cook for two to three minutes, turning gnudi every so often so they get an even colour on each side.
  • Transfer gnudi, butter sauce and sage onto plates. Top with additional grated parmesan cheese, toasted hazelnuts and salt and pepper and serve immediately.
Autumnal recipes: Three delicious seasonal dishes and their wine pairings
Photo credit: Supplied

Villa Maria's wines are available at most New Zealand supermarkets, but the recommended pairings can easily be substituted for other drops that take your fancy. For more affordable alternatives, Nikau Point, Shingle Peak and Makaraka Estate offer a Reserve Pinot Noir, while Spinyback also has a Cellar Selection Chardonnay at a similar price point.