We asked Al Hernandez, editor of the Vine Times and one of our expert tasters, to share a favorite wine-pairing recipe. "I love mushroom risotto with wine because of its versatility," he said. "Its texture and flavor lends itself to whites like sauvignon blanc and chardonnay but also works remarkably well with pinot noir, Sangiovese, and other medium-bodied reds."
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 pound mushrooms, finely sliced
1/4 teaspoon paprika
kosher salt to taste
fresh ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup Arborio rice
1 1/2 cups hot vegetable stock
1/4 cup dry white wine
grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (optional)
2 sprigs fresh thyme
In a pot, gently saute the garlic in the olive oil but do not allow it to brown. Add the mushrooms, paprika, salt, and pepper and saute for 1 minute. Add the rice, stirring until it's well coated, about 1 minute. Combine the vegetable stock and dry white wine. Add about a quarter of the stock-wine mixture to the rice (enough so the rice is covered) and simmer, stirring occasionally until the liquid is absorbed. Repeat with the remaining broth, using more or less as needed. Cook for 18 to 20 minutes on low heat, stirring regularly, until the risotto is creamy, thick, and al dente. Add Parmigiano-Reggiano if desired and sprinkle with thyme. Serves two.