WINE: Londono Graciano Rioja
FOOD: Span-ile-talian risotto
WHY? An intense wine with rich food.
After whiling away the day wandering around Portobello market, my guests were pretty ravenous come Saturday evening. As a result I decided to make a risotto – very filling, but an easy one-pot for me to minimise the washing up.
Risotto is an Italian classic, but this example came by way of Chile, with a big Spanish twist – phew! So what to pair with it?
Well considering the weight and richness of it, and the amount of flavour intensity I suspected it would have it needed something big and red.
My answer came in the form of a Rioja – but not just any Rioja. Usually the main grape variety used to make Rioja is Tempranillo, but this modern example is made from 100% Graciano, a grape variety often relied heavily upon to make the big daddy of Riojas: the Gran Reserva.
The Londono had a big hit of vanilla, with dried fruit character such as dried cherries and prunes that really stood up to the strong flavours of this dish. It was smooth and weighty enough to square up to the risotto, but had enough freshness that the dish never felt too heavy. Perfetto!
If you can’t get hold of the Londono, then any decent Rioja will do – look for a Crianza or a Reserva ideally.
What better way to start a Saturday night. Ole!
Chorizo, artichoke and sun-dried tomato risotto
Stolen from Alex Ossa
Serves 4 – generously
1 small onion, finely chopped
250g Arborio rice
175ml white wine (as the saying goes – if you wouldn’t drink it then don’t cook with it)
1 litre of hot chicken stock
Half a chorizo ring, chopped into small chunks
4 tinned artichoke hearts
10 sundried tomatoes, chopped
100g grated parmesan
Salt and pepper to taste
- Make sure all your ingredients are chopped and prepared as listed. Once you get your risotto going it’s quite needy.
- Add some oil to a deep saucepan. Soften the chopped onion over a low heat until it becomes translucent – roughly 5 minutes.
- Add in the rice, and cook for another few minutes stirring continuously.
- Keep stirring and add in your chorizo bits and cook through until the chorizo starts to leach its colour. At this point you want to add in the white wine.
- Once the rice has absorbed the majority of the liquid start slowly adding in the chicken stock, stirring continuously. Once all of the liquid has been absorbed add in a little more stock. Repeat until you have used all the stock.
- At this point check the risotto by having a nibble on a grain of rice. It should feel firm in the centre, but not crisp. If it is still a little hard then add in either some more chicken stock if you have some, or simply some water. Keep stirring until when you eat a grain of rice it is fully cooked the whole way through.
- Now add in the artichoke hearts and sundried tomato. You want to try to break but the artichoke hearts a little bit so they are distributed evenly throughout the risotto.
- Take off the heat and stir through the parmesan. Season to taste (although it usually needs very little, if any, seasoning).
- Cover and leave to stand and become gooey and unctuous for 5 minutes.
- Serve with something green on the side to balance the richness of the dish. I cooked some purple sprouting broccoli (pictured).