Derived from the word fog because they bud early and ripen late to be harvested in late October amidst the autumn morning mist, the nebbiolo is a red grape with a strong personality.
Nebbiolo wines – Barbaresco, Barolo, Carema, Gattinara, Langhe Nebbiolo, Nebbiolo d’Alba, Roero – have a distinctive full-bodied structure with fruity and spicy aromas.
The vines are prominent in Piedmont and generally in north-eastern Italy where they are paired with appetisers, first and second courses. Among these are a condiment made with the wine and this enigmatic dish – one of the legendary rice dishes of the world.
- 1.5 ml beef broth
- 350 g carnaroli rice
- 1 shallot, chopped small
- 20 ml olive oil
- 15 g butter
- 5 g salt
- 750 ml Barbaresco red wine / Barolo red wine
- 4 pears, halved, cored
- 1 celery, cubed small
- 1 carrot, cubed small
- 1 shallot, cubed small
- 10 black peppercorns
- 10 juniper berries
- 5 cloves
- 1 bay leaf
Put the carrots, celery, shallots in a saucepan with the wine, add bay leaf, cloves, juniper berries and peppercorns.
Bring to the boil, continue until the liquid is reduced by half and the vegetables are soft.
Some versions call for a smooth sauce. If this is your choice leave the mixture to cool, then blend. Return to the saucepan, add the pears, simmer for 15 minutes.
As soon as the wine mixture begins to reduce start the risotto.
Sauté shallot in butter and oil over a low heat for ten minutes.
Increase heat, add rice, coat and toast for five minutes. Reduce heat to medium.
Pour in a ladleful of hot stock, cook until the stock is absorbed. Add a large pinch of salt.
Keep adding ladlefuls of stock one at a time allowing the rice to absorb the liquid, continuing until the rice is al dente, no more than 20 minutes. Taste for flavour and add more salt if necessary.
Finish with a ladle of stock, half of the cheese and some butter, cover, leave to rest for ten minutes.
Scatter the remaining grated cheese on the serving plates, arrange the risotto on one side and the pears and wine sauce on the other side of each plate.