White truffle and roasted artichoke risotto with Albarino

Creamy, hearty comfort food.

Creamy, hearty comfort food.

My belly has a new favorite comfort food. Yes, risotto has always been a top contender, but the discovery of this new recipe has just pushed it up to numero uno. Plus, it’s pretty damn simple! Following any basic risotto instruction, you’re only going to make two, well-calculated adjustments.

Spain's most exciting white wine!

Spain’s most exciting white wine!

When you first begin to cook down the finely diced onions it is critical to use butter in place of olive oil. And not just any butter. Substitute the normal tablespoon or two of butter with 3-4 ounces of white truffle butter (which is available at most specialty food stores). Second, after giving the arborio rice its initial pearly white gleam (and before ladling in any chicken stock) stir in some roasted artichokes. The fresher, the better. But prepackaged will do in a pinch.

The result is a classical, creamy risotto with some earthy, indulgent flavors. Several red wines like nebbiolo or grenache would make for a suitable pairing with this recipe. However, the white wine that I added during the cooking process still has me smitten. The Columna Albarino from Spain offers both exotic aromas and bags of fruit that added some freshness and balance to the risotto. Enjoy!

Basil Risotto & New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc

basil risotto

walnutblockI had to start this post with a small pic of the Risotto! Creamy with gobs of bright basil freshness, the risotto created a better mind frame than any rodent, err groundhog could manage to deliver. Delicate nutty flavors from the parmesano and pine nuts brought balance to the minty, pepperiness of the basil.

Normally I’m a purist when it comes to something like risotto and would be looking for an Arneis or Trebbiano to pair it up with. But tonight, I found myself enthralled by a 2012 New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc called Walnut Block. Bright and pleasantly acidic, with crisp citrus flavors of lemon and grapefruit, the Walnut Block has a herbaceous bouquet that went toe-to-toe with the basil risotto. With aromas like green pepper, asparagus and lemongrass, the Walnut Block (and the basil risotto) are a much needed and early prelude to the vine of spring.