Cook with Susie and Oliver!

Scented meatballs with Irsai wine – video recipe

Susie is Zsuzsi in Hungarian, Zsuzsanna Babarczi from the best family winery of Pannonhalma wine region. They produce reductive white wines from their own 65 hectares, but this year they created their first premium red wine as well from Kékfrankos grape. Now Zsuzsi is cooking scented meatballs and penne with mushrooms and leeks in Irsai Oliver sauce.

Watch the video, try to understand Hungarian, but under the recipe you will find the instructions in English.


For the beatballs mix 450 g minced beef with 1 egg, 1 tbs balsamic vinegar, 1 tbs chopped sage, 1 tbs chopped lemongrass and half teaspoon of the following: ground white pepper, garlic powder, ground choriander (seed), ground Roman cumin, lemon pepper, worchester sauce, dijon mustard, and 1 teaspoon of salt and olive oil. Mix the minced meat with the spices thoroughly and form little balls. Fry them in a pan with a little preheated oil.

Penne with wine sauce

Cook the penne in ample water. Fry a little olive oil and some butter in a pan. Add the chopped leeks, fry them, then add the sliced mushrooms (5-6 larger champion mushrooms). After a few minutes add 10 cl Irsai Olivér wine, then 10 cl cream and some ground nutmeg. When the pasta is readly, add it to the sauce, sprinkle it with chopped parsley and grated parmiggiano cheese. Serve the pasta with the meatballs and of course pair the dish with a glass (or more) chilled Irsai Olivér.

Babarczi Irsai Olivér

This Babarczi wine is definitely one of the best Irsai wines in the country. The variety is aromatic, therefore it is crucial to find the balance, and not to be too intrusive, but elegant and gracious. „Pale golden in colour with a floral bouquet of elderberry with hints of white flowers as well as citrus notes. Gentle acidity gives definition and refreshment, combining a light body with a balanced palate of spices and citrus aromas. A characteristically crisp, elegant light wine.”

More about Irsai Olivér variety

Region: Planted widely in Hungary due to its popularity. Wonderful examples of the grape are produced in Kunság region, where the best winemakers can hold in check the aromatic character of the variety. Also popular in Mátra, Balaton, Etyek–Buda, Neszmély, Sopron.

Character: Ripening early, it gives a very aromatic, intense wine with grapey aromas, delicate spices. Easy drinking wine with medium-low acidity and alcohol, almost always vinified reductively for instant consumption.

Story: Irsai Olivér is a crossing between Pozsonyi Fehér and Csabagyöngye created by Pál Kocsis in 1930. There are several legends of the naming of the grape, one says that Kocsis was a passionate gambler and he gave away the name of the crossing due to his massive debt, but the truth is likely to be much simpler: Irsai Olivér was of the son of a respected wine merchant friend of Kocsis. The grandson of Irsi Olivér is a university student now in Szeged.

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