Thursday, September 19, 2019

Perfect Pair: Sweet Corn and Jalapeno Risotto

Today, I'm craving risotto.  My end of summer risotto pairs perfectly with two white wines. Check out my recommendations below.

The recipe:  Sweet Corn and Jalapeno Risotto

3 cobs of local sweet corn, husked 5 cups chicken stock
1 cup milk
5 Fermin Iberico Smoked Panceta, diced (found at Wagshal's)

1 small sweet onion, diced
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups Rice Select arborio rice with Jalapeno
2/3 cup white wine
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil

Remove the kernels from the corn cobs and reserve. Snap the corn cobs in half and add them to a medium saucepan along with the stock and milk. Bring to a simmer then reduce the heat to low.

In a small stockpot over medium heat, brown the panceta. Once it starts to get crispy, add the onion and saute until translucent. Add the garlic and the rice and toast until the rice is golden and smells nutty. De-glaze with the wine.

Stir the risotto occasionally with a wooden spoon as it cooks over medium heat.   Continuously add ladle-fulls of stock as each previous ladle of liquid gets absorbed into the risotto.  Continue stirring and adding stock for about 20 minutes, then add the reserved corn kernels and continue as before.  When the risotto gets creamy, add the cream and cook until done (should be 1-2 minutes at this point).

Finish the risotto by melting in the Parmesan cheese.  Add salt and pepper to taste  Toss in tomatoes and herbs and serve.  I like to serve with cheesy garlic bread on the side.

The Pairings:

White wines with dynamic character will pair wonderfully with sweet corn and jalapeno risotto. Since there's a diverse array of flavors going on in the dish, it's all about personal preference in bringing out the sweet, spicy, and savory elements.
A light and affable option would be Verdejo from the Rueda region of Spain. The region is known for its food-friendly, easy drinking whites with strong character and quality, especially the Verdjeo grape, which is fast rising in popularity in the US as an affordable alternative to Sauvignon Blanc. Gorgorito Verdejo (SRP: $7) from the Bodega Copaboca winery is refreshing, clean and crisp with citrus and fennel notes, perfect for mellowing out the spice of the garlic and jalepeno while contrasting with the sweet corn. A healthy acidity and length will cut through the creamy, salty rice. (twitter: @RuedaWines)

For a heartier pairing, try Mulderbosch Chenin Blanc (SRP: $13.99) from South Africa. The acidity will balance out the fat of the Panceta while complementing the spice, and the tropical fruity notes will offset the savoriness. Five months aged in Hungarian and French oak barrels, the wine yields a slightly oaked, creamy mouthfeel, which will pair well with the creamy rice. (twitter: @MulderboschV)

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