This week we travel to Verona, 45 minutes from the shores of Lake Garda. Our recipe and pairing this week will be a rice, a Veronese staple. In the area of Verona they also incorporate wild fowl, polenta, mushrooms and seafood. Some traditional Veronese meals also include gnocchi, olive oil, asparagus, chestnuts and truffles.
The area which borders Lake Garda also features some of Italy’s best wines. Below I will share my favorite wines for you to choose from. Remember, red will be best because it is in the risotto, but white will do as well!
Risotto with Red Wine, Mushrooms and Peas
3 tbsp, plus 2 tsp butter
1 ½ cups Arborio rice
2 cups red table wine
3/4 cup Monte Veronese cheese, grated
clear vegetable broth, as needed
sea salt, finely ground, to taste
2 cups Porcini mushrooms
3 cups peas
In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt 2 teaspoons of butter and toast the rice over a medium-low flame. In a separate saucepan, gently heat the wine and as soon as it reaches a bare simmer, add it to the rice. Continue cooking the rice, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until the wine is absorbed, about 16 to 18 minutes. Add a bit of vegetable broth as needed, towards the end of cooking and add the mushrooms and peas.
When the rice is cooked to an al dente consistency and the liquid has reduced to a creamy sauce, remove the risotto from the heat and add the remaining 3 tablespoons butter and the grated cheese. Stir until well combined. Season to taste with salt and serve immediately.
Pairing With Pratello
Just 40 minutes away from Verona on the sunny shores of Lake Garda we visited the Pratello Vineyard. My recommendation of a pairing is Pratello’s Mille 1 or their outstanding Torrazzo.
Torrazzo Valtènesi is a renowned wine of the vineyard. Produced from the Groppello and Marzemino grapes, it is clear ruby red in color, with a medium body. The bouquet is subtle but strong, with aromatic scents of the underbrush, with cherry scents rising upon swirling the glass. The taste is aggressively pleasant and wrapped in complexity with the flavors of plum, cherry and bitter raspberry. The level of acidity makes it fresh on the palate.
Each year Pratello releases wines with a different colored car on the label. The license plate reads REBO, which is the name of the grape – a hybrid that was developed by Rebo Rigotri in 1948. It is a cross between a Merlot and a Teroldego. Known for its rich nose with complex cheery notes, Pratello produces two to four of these special vintages each year. Since the United States is one of the prime export markets for Pratello, we strongly encourage our readers to enjoy bottles of the different wines they produce.
Pratello is situated on an ancient farm, founded in 1860. It has kept strong ties with tradition and the territory, combining them with professionalism and modernity developing over time. The wines of the farm are drunk around the world, benefiting from prestigious awards. The Pratello farm is located in Padenghe, Garda, less than a mile from Lake Garda and covers 250 acres, including 112 acres of vineyards, 20 acres of olive groves and lands ready to be sewn with vegetables, soft fruit and woods.