We are pleased to be involved in another Wine Pairing Weekend! Or #WinePW to the trendy Twitter crowd.
This month’s theme:
“For the December Wine Pairing Weekend event, we’d like to expand our wine pairing horizons with a bit of bubbly and a creative recipe. Our theme for the month is “Sparkling Wine and Festive Holiday Dishes” and we invite any blogger interested in the topic to share a post. The goal is to try a favorite or new-to-you sparkling wine and pair it with a festive recipe that will be perfect for holiday entertaining or cozy nights in front of the fireplace. Choose a bottle of Cava, Cremant d’Alsace, Prosecco, Moscato, Lambrusco, Sekt, or Champagne (and more) and let your creative juices flow with a delectable recipe that will complement those bubbles.”
Well, count us in!
First a few facts.
Roero Arneis Spumante is a DOCG wine found only in the region of Roero, Piedmont. The wine must be 100% made from Arneis and although many are made using the traditional method, this is not required. However, each wine must possess the following characteristics:
- Foam: fine and persistent;
- Color: more or less intense straw-yellow;
- Odor: delicate, fruity, fresh, with overtones reminiscent of yeast, bread crust and vanilla;
- Taste: of brut nature to sweet; elegant and harmonious;
- Minimum total quantity of alcohol: 11.50 % vol;
- Minimum total acidity: 5 g/l;
- Minimum non-reducing extract: 15 g/l
So now that we have that covered…. on to the food!
Roero Arneis Spumante is unique is that it is not a wine used for sparkling wine anywhere else in the world. The Arneis grape, in general, is delicate and fresh with medium acidity and notes of salinity, citrus, and stone fruits. Make that into bubbly form and it is certainly a crowd pleaser!
Because of its unique nature, we thought it was best to stick with something also unique, but that would celebrate the nature of the grape. And so we chose this recipe for Lobster Risotto Arancini by Giada De Laurentiis, which is to say we also spent many hours in the kitchen… but for a holiday celebration, it’s the perfect treat!
The recipe is as follows:
2 tablespoons butter
1 large shallot, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1 cup white wine, such as pinot grigio
3 cups chicken broth or lobster stock, at room temperature
2/3 cup grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon freshly chopped parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Nonstick cooking spray
2 cups panko
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan
2 eggs, beaten
8 ounces lobster tail meat, chopped into 1/2-inch cubes
Vegetable oil, for frying
For the risotto:
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.
- Add the shallot and cook until they are softened, about 3 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.
- Add the rice and stir with a wooden spoon to combine the onion mixture with the rice.
- Add the wine and simmer until the liquid is evaporated.
- Add 1/2 cup of the stock and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes.
- Continue adding the stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition of stock to absorb before adding the next. You may need to add an additional cup of water.
- Cook until the rice is tender but still firm, about 20 minutes.
- Remove from the heat.
- Stir in the Parmesan, lemon juice, parsley, salt and pepper.
- Spray a baking sheet with the nonstick cooking spray and spread the risotto out on the sheet to cool to room temperature, about 15 minutes.
For the arancini:
- In a large bowl combine the risotto, 1/2 cup of the panko, the Parmesan and the eggs.
- With damp hands, use about 2 tablespoons of the risotto mixture to form 1 3/4-inch diameter balls.
- Make an indentation in the center of each ball and insert a cube of lobster.
- Cover up the hole to completely enclose the lobster and roll the balls in the remaining 1 1/2 cups panko to coat.
- In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, pour in enough oil to so that it is 3-inches deep. Heat over medium heat until a deep-frying thermometer inserted in the oil reaches 350 degrees F. (If you don’t have a thermometer, a cube of bread will brown in about 2 minutes.
- In batches, fry the rice balls, turning occasionally, until golden, about 4 to 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels and serve.
What we found was a perfect recipe pairing! The lobster in the arancini provided a touch of savoriness to the dish and the saltiness of the fried crust paired perfect with the salinity in the wine. The bubbles helped to wash away the oil and refresh our palates for the next bite and the creaminess of the risotta matched that of the texture of the wine.
We are pleased to be a part of the #WinePW again this month and hope that you find this pairing a success this year!
Note: Due to the nature of the Roero Consorzio, we speak generically and cannot mention brand names with regard to wines sampled.