During these uncertain times we all need our dose of comfort food and for me its Risotto. This classic Italian rice dish can be composed with multiple ingredients such as mushrooms, seafood and even Rapini. Hand by hand, Risotto and wine pairings make a perfect match.
The best way to choose a wine to drink with risotto is to consider the main ingredient used in it. Following this line of thought, when having a seafood risotto go for a dry white wine such as a Carricante, Grenache Blanc or Roussanne. When serving a meat based risotto choose a younger medium-structured red such as a Gamay or Barbera.For vegetarian risotto dishes aromatic white varietals such as Arneis should pair nicely.
Fiddleheads are sweet like asparagus, grassy and snappy reminiscent of green beans, with a taste nuance of broccoli. Though not quite as challenging to pair with wine, the similarity to asparagus means fiddlehead ferns are better served along with a white wine. This spring vegetable is in season and just loves to make risotto with it.
There is a very important criteria to know about fiddleheads: you could get sick if you eat them raw. In order to eliminate the toxins in the ferns, boil them for minimum five minutes before eating or continue to cook.
Before boiling the ferns, however, you’ll want to clean them, which you can do by simply putting them in a bowl of cold water, and scrubbing them with your hands. Then trim the ends, and you’re good to go.
Here is a great fiddlehead risotto recipe that I borrowed from Quincailleire Dante. It should be perfect for your family weeknight meal.
- 50g butter
- 2 tbsp Olive oil
- 300g arborio rice
- ½ white onion, diced
- 1 ½ litre vegetable stock
- ½ glass of white wine
- 200g fiddleheads
- 100g mascarpone
- 50 g parmesan
Fiddleheads: 2 times blanch in salted boiled water. Put them immediately in ice water for stopping heat. Sauté with butter, olive oil, salt and pepper.
In a saucepan, heat the butter and oil. Sauté onions until transparent. Add the rice and mix it with butter and onions. Deglaze with white wine until it evaporates. Add broth a ladle at a time. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes. Taste the rice and when al-dente, add the fiddleheads. At the end of cooking, add the mascarpone and parmesan. (It should yield 4 portions)
Risotto and wine pairings
A blue chip Gamay from the Loire that never deceives vintage after vintage. It has a beautiful nose reminiscent of fieldberries ( cherry and raspberry come to mind) with nuances of violets and black pepper. Medium body and earthy with slight chalky tannins. Pairing well with risotto with mushrooms.
An amazing white for the price. It has a beautiful nose bringing to mind citrus and flower undertones reminiscent of grapefruit, lemons and white camomille. Easy going on the palate with a subdued minerality on the palate. Very long and cleansing finale. Will pair amazingly with shrimp risotto.
Classic and solid drinking from Portugal Douro Valley. Plenty of red fruits and spice on the nose. On the palate, the wine is savoury with medium tannins. Try it with a risotto with sausage and tomatoes.
Cinsault Martin Texier Vigne du Masson 2018. ( Private Import, Oenopole, 12 pack case. $29.80)
Fragrant violet and black berries nuances with touches of black pepper and garrigue. On the palate, extremely fragrant with a delightful mouthfeel and suave tannins. It is pure pleasure drinking this wine. Very floral aftertaste reminiscent of lavender incense. Could pair well with prosecco risotto with lavender leaves.