Solve the Amarone Pairing Dilemma: Risotto al Vino Rosso

Looking to channel your inner chef? Are you bored with your go-to recipes? We’re here to help and provide inspiration for new meals you can make at home with Vinous in the Kitchen. Led by Eric Guido, Vinous’ resident Italian wine critic and also a professionally trained chef, Vinous in the Kitchen is a series of delicious recipes you can easily prepare at home. Through his video tutorial and accompanying article, Eric will guide you through each recipe step-by-step, offering useful tips and techniques, as well as ideas on wine pairings. Find the bottles on Delectable, and make sure to share your own favorite pairings. Risotto al Vino Rosso is on the menu today. Buon appetito! ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ In my recent article, Valpolicella & Soave: The Times, They Are A Changin’ , I spent a good amount of time addressing the fact that Amarone can and should be brought to the dinner table. I’m not talking about the most hedonistic wines, bold reds that still find their best pairing with a plate of ripened cheeses, but rather the style of Amarone that has been gaining popularity, wines with lower residual sugar, more minerality and alcohol percentages that clock in below 16%. These wines are a perfect match for stews, braises and both meat and pasta dishes that incorporate rich sauces. However, whenever in a bind, a great option is to make a Risotto that uses the same (or similar) wine you are drinking, which works perfectly with Amarone. A simple Risotto al Vino Rosso made with Arborio rice, stock, wine, onion (or shallot), butter and cheese (Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano) will always save the day. However, why not take it to the next level? In the preparation below, we’re going to add a few simple ingredients and extra steps to the mix that will complement the complex flavors and aromas of Amarone, while also creating a stunning presentation that will win the heart of every foodie, from pro chef to your favorite Italian grandma. RED WINE RISOTTO WITH ROASTED RED GRAPES THE WINE PAIRINGS: 2016 Marion Valpolicella Superiore 2018 Brigaldara Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso 2016 Monte del Frà Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Lena di Mezzo Ingredients: 5 tbsp butter 1-½ quarts of chicken stock* 2 cups risotto rice (Arborio is fine, but Carnaroli is preferred) ½ red onion (small dice) 1 ¼ cups Amarone (or Valpolicella Ripasso) 3 tbsp of pancetta or thick-cut prosciutto (small dice) 1 carrot (fine dice) 1 cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano 2 tsp fresh chopped parsley Salt and pepper to taste 1 cup red seedless grapes THE PROCESS: 1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper, and spread out one cup of small, red seedless grapes. Place them in the oven and allow to roast for 1½ hours. When they are done, move to an area to cool completely. 2. Place the chicken stock in a pot over a low flame and allow it to come to a simmer. 3. In a sauté pan, add 3 tablespoons of butter, and place over a medium flame. Once the butter has melted, add the small dice of pancetta. Allow the pancetta to cook for five minutes, or until crispy, and then remove the pancetta and set on the side for later. 4. In the same sauté pan, add the diced carrot, and cook it in the butter and reduced fat from the pancetta. After about two minutes, add the onions. Allow the mixture to sweat in the butter until the onions become translucent. 5. Now add the Arborio or Carnaroli rice to the pan. Stir to assure that the rice is coated in the butter, and allow it to toast slightly, but do not allow it to take on any color. 6. Add the red wine to the pan and increase the flame to medium-high. Set a timer for 19 minutes as a guide. While stirring, allow the red wine to cook down until it has reduced by half. 7. Next, bring the flame back down to medium, and add a ladle of stock while constantly stirring. Each time the stock cooks down to the point where the rice begins to form trails in the pan as the spoon stirs it, add another ladle of stock. When there are about eight minutes left on the timer, sprinkle a small pinch of salt into the risotto. 8. Continue stirring and adding stock as needed until the timer reads three minutes remaining. Then add 2/3 of the cooked pancetta back into the pan and stir to combine. 9. It is at this time that you should also taste for seasoning and doneness. A proper al dente should have a very slight crunch to it at its core. Be careful, that you don’t add too much stock, but also keep in mind that the 19-minute timer is only a guide, taste will really tell you when it’s done. 10. When the risotto is al dente, remove it from the heat. Add the last 2 tablespoons of butter and the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, along with a few cracks of fresh pepper, and stir to combine. 11. Allow the risotto to rest for two minutes, and taste one last time for seasoning and consistency. If the risotto is too thick, a small amount of stock can be added to loosen it up. 12. Plate the risotto into small, heated bowls, then sprinkle with parsley, the remaining pancetta, and spread out some of the roasted grapes on top before serving. *A common fear people have is making their own stock, which really shouldn’t intimidate you at all. Making stock is actually one of the most simple preparations you can master, and it’s truly worth your time. However, when you make stock, do it in large quantities because it freezes well. For more details on making your own stock, check out our Stock Essentials episode from Vinous in the Kitchen. If you don’t want to make your own, don’t fret because stock and its health benefits have never been as popular as they are today, meaning that there’s an amazing selection of wholesome, often organic and extremely high-quality stock in the market. --Eric Guido, Solve the Amarone Pairing Dilemma: Risotto al Vino Rosso, March 2021 Check out previous Vinous in the Kitchen Recipes: C Is for COOKIES Welcome to the Dark Side: A Savory Chocolate Feast Some Like It Hot – Hot Wings, That Is The Sweet Heat of Cajun Dry-Rubbed Ribs Fire-Roasted Branzino with Swiss Chard Horta

Monte del Frá

Tenuta Lena di Mezzo Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Corvina Blend 2016

Delectable Wine

The 2016 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Lena di Mezzo mixes crushed blackberries with plum sauce, wild exotic spices and dark chocolate. It’s remarkably fresh for an Amarone, casting silky textures across a medium-bodied frame, but it’s supported by vibrant acidity and a mix of tart wild berry fruits and minerals that saturate the palate. Notes of spiced orange peel, medicinal cherry and sweet herbs linger long over a bed of rounded tannins. There’s just the slightest hint of heat here, but the balance is otherwise perfect. I’m loving the savory-over-sweet persona as well. (Eric Guido, Vinous, February 2021)
— 3 years ago

Yardstick Wines

Raised By Wolves La Colline Sémillon 2016

Big like a Chardonnay with some oak, but less acidity. Very nice with crispy mushroom, lemon and asparagus risotto. 14% abv — 3 years ago

matt liked this

Bacci Wines

Renieri Brunello di Montalcino Sangiovese 2015

Brunello di Montalcino (Sangiovese) and wild mushroom risotto. An earthy, savory, yummy pair. A delicious and comforting conclusion to a long week.

Renieri, Brunello di Montalcino, 2015, ABV 14.5%.
— 3 years ago

with Deked1
Deked1, Billy and 20 others liked this


Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore Corvina Blend 2018

Delectable Wine

The 2018 Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso is a force to be reckoned with. Here I’m finding an intense and savory display, as aromas of plum sauce and red currants give way to balsamic spice, smoky minerals and purple-tinged florals. It’s velvety with medium-bodied textures, ushering in ripe blackberry fruit, as cooling minerals and herbal tones add further lift. Hints of baker’s chocolate and medicinal cherry linger, along with residual acids that frame the expression perfectly. Only just shy of an Amarone in depth, the 2018 Ripasso is flat-out stunning. (Eric Guido, Vinous, February 2021)
— 3 years ago


Brunello di Montalcino Sangiovese 2015

Tenuta Fanti Brunello Di Montalcino DOCG 2015: Medium-bodied. Medium tannins. Bright aromas & taste. Cherry, floral and spice on the nose. Cherry, plum, earth, herbs & leather on the palate. Balanced acidity with a soft, attractive finish. All in all, drinking great now however huge potential; maturity will only benefit this wine as right now it’s checking all of the boxes. Simply said, this is elegance in a bottle! Additionally, what better way to enjoy this Tuscan beauty but with some shaved truffle & vegatable risotto! Cheers🍷 — 3 years ago

Trixie and Severn liked this


Lovely! Cheers🍷

Château Benoit

Arbalest Red Bordeaux Blend 2015

Medium ruby color. Aromas of black cherry, raspberry, cigar box and baking spices. Black tea flavors, tobacco, dark fruit and cedar finish.
Paired with Shiitake mushroom risotto- we managed to get rid of the kids tonight! 😀
— 3 years ago

Russ, Severn and 18 others liked this
Sharon B

Sharon B Influencer Badge

Just had that one, I really enjoyed it

Azienda Agricola Marion

Valpolicella Superiore Corvina Blend 2016

Delectable Wine

While bright ruby in color, the 2016 Valpolicella Superiore is a dark and serious wine that demands your attention. Rosy florals give way to crushed cherry, blackberry, wild herbs, hints of cinnamon and sweet white smoke. It’s silky-smooth and textural yet medium-bodied, coming across as elegant, refined but also lively and fresh, with tart red berries, minerals and a hint of espresso bean giving way to a coating of fine tannin toward the close. The balance here is on point, showing youthful structure and persistent primary fruit throughout the mouthwatering finale. As good as this is today, a few years of cellaring may reveal even further depth, though you really don’t need to wait. (Eric Guido, Vinous, February 2021)
— 3 years ago

Elio Sandri

Langhe Nebbiolo 2018

Foggy days call for one thing. A humongous bag of dried porcini about to become risotto. — 3 years ago

Alex, Severn and 14 others liked this
Peter van den Besselaar

Peter van den Besselaar Influencer Badge

You open a whole world in two sentences. I love it!

Domaine Faury

Côte-Rôtie Syrah 2018

The color. Wow. It looks gorgeous bright purple and then BOOM. Blueberry and strong fruit flavored nose that then after sipping gives way to great structure and northern rhone pepper back bone. This wine was really cool how it balanced both the fruit and underlying typical Syrah. Paired with steaks and risotto (leftover). Worked well. — 3 years ago

Keaton, Neil and 7 others liked this