My comfort food & wine: Porcini Risotto & aged Chianti Classico

Sometimes I just crave comfort food and wine. Of course this can mean different things for different people. For some it might be a burger and a beer. For me, it is definately Porcini Risotto (cooked by my wife Kathryn) and a bottle of aged Chianti Classico.

Tonight is the perfect weather for it. Whilst it has been a hot summer so far in Melbourne, today is cooler, and just perfect for some heartier food. I have cellared a lot of Felsina and Isole O Elena Chianti Classico over the last decade. I have also put aside each vintage of Castello Monsanto Chianti Classico which I import and distribute around Australia. These three wineries, make up the bulk of Chianti in my cellar. For me, they are also three of the best producers of the style that are imported here.

In Australia, the current vintage of Castello Monanto Chianti Classico is 2008. However, if you can always try and drink Chianti Classico with a bit of age. Even a year or two makes a big difference. Today at lunch I will go home and decant a bottle of 2006 Castello Monsanto Chianti Classo. This wine was a brute when it was young. A massive wall of tannin’s kept the fruit hidden for days. However like all things, age has mellowed it, with the tannin’s dropping and revealing a beautiful core of dark savory fruits. It is now entering it’s drinking window. I expect it to hold this line and length for many years to come.

Hopefully I will have a little bit of Risotto and Chianti left over for a tasting note tomorrow.

Most of the time we use the Jamie Oliver recipe and subsitute the butter for olive oil.

Ingredients
25 g dried porcini mushrooms
200g Arborio rice
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
half an onion, finely chopped
4 tbsp white wine
1 pint chicken stock
30g freshly grated parmesan cheese
2-3 knobs of butter
salt and black pepper
Method

1.Soak the mushrooms in warm water for 30 minutes, drain and squeeze out any excess water. Reserve the drained water.
2.Heat the chicken stock in a pan to a very gentle simmer.
3.Heat the olive oil in a large pan. Fry the garlic and onion over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes.
4.Add the rice and coat with the olive oil, garlic and onion mix. Cook for 2 minutes.
5.Add the white wine and cook until the liquid is absorbed. Once absorbed, add a ladle of the simmering stock and cook until absorbed. Continue until all of the stock is absorbed.
6.Cook until the rice is just under âal denteâ, and then add a ladle of the reserved mushroom water, along with the porcini mushrooms, the knobs of butter and half of the parmesan cheese.
7.Cook until the liquid is absorbed and the risotto is cooked âal denteâ. Season with salt and pepper.
8.Serve with a sprinkle of parmesan.

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