In honour of the summer of riesling, I matched up a good, young Australian riesling with some Italian cooking tonight. A simple risotto: sweat some proscuitto crudo off in olive oil and butter until starting to colour, add arborio rice and give it five minutes in the fat, stirring. Hit the base with some white wine (Tahbilk 2010 riesling from Nagambie Lakes in Victoria) and when taken up, start adding chicken stock with a small zucchini coarsely grated. Keep it just moist, stirring in more stock as you go. When the rice has nearly lost its chalky centre, take it off the heat, add a second grated zucchini, stir in some cubes of cold butter and grated cheese (a bit of pecorino tonight), touch up the seasoning and let the creamy, oozing rice rest for a few minutes. Serve with a bit more cheese and seasoning if it needs it, and a crisp dry white wine (like the 2010 Tahbilk riesling).
Much as we think about wines like riesling having different textures and qualities over phases of their lives, this dish gives you two cuts of zucchini. One cooks all the way out, losing colour and texture into the background of the rice. The second add barely cooks, giving youth, colour and freshness. And there is something about the taste and sweetness of just-picked young zucchini flesh and skin that works so well with the crisp and cut of young, dry Australian riesling.