Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Risotto, for dry white wine

I've been trying out some food combinations for the new 2011 Quarry Hill North Block dry white, which is a blend of savagnin and sauvignon blanc. This risotto worked really well - with the wine picking up the pea and pea pod characters in the dish.

Take enough fresh peas, in the pod, to produce about a cup of shelled peas. While shelling, soak a half-handful of dried porcini in hot water. Add the pea pods, the porcini and soaking water to some vegetable stock and simmer. While the stock is simmering, cut some pancetta into small pieces and sweat in olive oil until they have gone half-brown and a little crisp. Add rice (I used carnaroli, but arborio would be fine) and stir over heat for a few minutes until the rice has taken up the oil. Add dry white wine, bubble away and then start to ladle in stock, a ladle at a time, with a bit of stirring and shaking of the pan as you go.

When the rice is about 3/4 done, you'll have used most of the stock and can fish the porcini out and add to the risotto pot (keep the pods for the worm farm). Add the fresh peas for the last couple of minutes of the cooking time, remove from heat, stir in butter and grated parmesan, adjust the seasoning and let stand, covered, for five minutes. Stir and serve with a little more cheese and perhaps some flat-leaf parsley, and white wine.

This is a fairly robust risotto, with some brown colours from the porcini & cooking of the pancetta, that set off well against the green of the fresh peas. While a sangiovese could also pair up, a white wine with a bit of herb or grassy characters can pick up the peas and pea pods, as well as cut against the smooth, rich textures of the rice. A Soave, or other garganega based wine, would also be worth a try.

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