Though Malbec is a French cultivar and one of the Bordeaux varieties, today it is most often associated with Argentina. There is no dispute that Argentine food captures the soul of Malbec, and few Argentine dishes are so flavorful and easy to prepare as empanadas. When exploring recipes for empanadas, I came across a copy of the Vatican Cookbook that the Swiss Guard published this year to raise money to help end world hunger. Here I found the recipe for empanadas provided by Pope Francis for his table. The pine nuts and raisins combine with the Malbec to create a truly spiritual meal.

Based on a recipe from the Vatican Cookbook – 500 Years of Classic Recipes published by the Pontifical Swiss Guard, 2016.


for the filling

½ pound ground Beef

¼ Cup pine nuts

¼ Cup chopped salt-cured black olives

¼ Cup raisins

2 eggs, beaten

for the pastry

1 egg yolk, beaten for glaze

1 sheet puff pastry dough


While the oven is heating to 375, brown the ground beef and drain off the fat. Transfer the beef to a bowl, and toast the pine nuts (no oil) at low heat for about 2 – 3 minutes. Add the pine nuts along with the chopped olives, raisins, and two eggs to the meat and mix. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Using a cookie cutter (about 3 inches diameter) cut out round disks. Place a tablespoon of the empanada mixture into the center of the dough and fold over, pressing the edges shut with a fork. Coat the empanadas with the egg yolk and place them into the oven to brown – about 10 minutes. I like to cover the bottom of a flat baking pan with parchment to prevent sticking.

Serve with the 2013 Occasio Heritage Collection Malbec.