Shrimp & Fennel Risotto with Roero Arneis #WinePW

#SummerofArneis
Our Wine Pairing Weekend June session is dedicated to exploring food pairings with Arneis.  We have more entries than you can shake a stick at, so go find a bottle at your local wine shop and try one of our suggestions! At the bottom of this post, you can link to a dozen other great ideas from my partners in our #WinePW group.

Arneis is a lovely white wine from Piemonte and pairs beautifully with lots of Piemonte inspired dishes

Arneis is a lovely white wine from Piemonte and pairs beautifully with lots of Piemonte inspired dishes

Roero and Arneis
The Roero is a sub-region of Piemonte in northwestern Italy.  It’s the red-headed stepchild of the region, seemingly condemned to live in the shadow of more famous Barolo and Barbaresco. The region lies on the “wrong” side of the Tanaro river compared to its famous neighbors.  Arneis is a white wine grape and is one of the better known dry wines from the region.  Arneis is grown very few places outside of Piemonte, and the best Arneis examples come from the Roero.  Arneis wines balance nice aromatics with medium to full body for a white wine, yet they retain acidity; a very nice combination indeed.

Roero Wines of Matteo Corregia
For an Italian wine enthusiast, an underdog region means one thing: amazing wine at excellent values.  Case in point: Matteo Correggia.  I’ve had Matteo Correggia Arneis, Barbera, and Roero (Nebbiolo) wines and they have all been entirely enjoyable, good examples of their type, and accessible for people unfamiliar with Piemonte wines.  Available at retail at or under $20/bottle, they are still affordable on a restaurant wine list as well!

Matteo Correggia
The Correggia family were long time grape growers in the Roero, known for producing high quality grapes. In 1985, Matteo took over the family vineyard at the ripe old age of 23. Encouraged by some of the great Barolo producers to pursue making their own wine, Matteo proceeded to do so..  He is credited with personally spearheading the effort to successfully gain DOCG status for Roero wines.  Sadly, he was killed in a tractor accident in 2001. His wife, Ornella, carried on in his place and today the winery continues to be a leader in the Roero.

Shrimp simply wouldn't be on the menu in Piemonte, but fennel infused risotto definitely would.

Shrimp simply wouldn’t be on the menu in Piemonte, but fennel infused risotto definitely would.

Foods for Arneis
With medium body, moderate acid and little use of oak, Arneis pairs with a wide variety of foods.  We love the cuisine of the Piemonte so much, we almost always choose a food from the region, although you shouldn’t feel limited.  Risotto is a classic primo course, and a fennel flavored risotto is something you might have around now if you would be visiting the Roero.  Shrimp? Never. I just had a taste for shrimp the day we were fixing the risotto, and I like to add protein done in a very simple, quick way.  At the finish, my attention is on the risotto!

Matteo Correggia Arneis

Matteo Correggia Roero Arneis, DOCG

Matteo Correggia Roero Arneis DOCG 2012 ($18 Solo Vino Wines in St. Paul)
Eye: clear medium yellow with greenish hints
Nose: Floral nose with some rich fruit, underripe pears.
Mouth: Medium body, medium acidity, strong fruit.
Possibly higher acidity than some Arneis I’ve had.  Nice!

Join the Wine Pairing Weekend Twitter Chat
Join us after the posts go live on Saturday, June 13 for a Twitter chat on Arneis food pairing. Follow the hashtag #WinePW at 10:00 am CDT. Feel free to join in the chat, even if you’re not one of the blog participants, we love more discussion! We will have some Piedmont locals tweeting along, so please leave a note with your burning Arneis wine questions. Surely you have them!

Wine Pairing Weekend #SummerOfArneis Topics:

Other Great #SummerofArneis Ideas!
Here’s a photo gallery of other Arneis dishes I’ve tried, links are in the photo captions (click on any photo to view as a slide show).

Shrimp and Fennel Risotto

My favorite risotto recipe is adapted from an excellent book on Piedmont cuisine: “A Passion for Piedmont” by Matt Kramer (of Wine Spectator).  Matt spends several pages going into the history and geography of Po Valley rice and risotto, as well as discussing the importance of the dish in the area.  By the time you start cooking, you’re already a risotto expert.

Risotto is easy to make, but judging when it’s done takes a little practice.  Nothing like the present, get busy!

Risotto Advice (from “A Passion for Piedmont)

  • Risotto is a simple dish, the key to success is to use the highest quality ingredients possible.  The stock is important, if you don’t make your own, use the highest quality stock you can find.
  • Use Carnaroli or Arborio rice, hopefully from the Po Valley (in the Piedmont)
  • Ratio: 1 ounce (weight) of raw rice to 1/2 cup of liquid

Ingredients (for 4 servings, or 2 servings plus leftovers for Risotto Fritto!)

Fennel Puree

  • 1 small fennel bulb, tops removed and reserved for garnish, bulb cut in half.
  • 5 cloves of garlic, skin-on
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • Pinch of cumin seeds
  • 4 oz. water

Risotto

  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 8 oz. of Arborio rice
  • 32 oz. chicken stock
  • 2 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano (use the real thing!) cheese, grated
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Shrimp

  • 16 oz. peeled, deveined raw shrimp

Instructions

Fennel Puree

  • At least 1 hour in advance (can be done ahead of time and puree refrigerated)
  • Warm the olive oil in a skillet with a tight fitting lid over medium heat.
  • Add the fennel bulb halves, cut side down.  Brown the fennel well.
  • Add the garlic cloves and cumin seeds, saute briefly
  • Add water, reduce heat to a gentle simmer, cover, and braise for 1 hour
  • Drain off liquid, roughly chop the fennel, squeeze the garlic out of their skins, and puree the fennel, garlic and cumin seeds in a blender or food processor.

Risotto

  • Start by bringing the stock up to a simmer, just under boiling.
  • Melt the butter in a pot large enough to hold your finished risotto, add the onions and cook until they are translucent, just a few minutes.
  • Add the rice and continue cooking until the rice becomes slightly glossy and translucent.  It will still be white in its center.  This will only take 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the first ladleful of stock.  Adjust the heat to keep the liquid at a gentle boil. Wait until the liquid is absorbed.
  • Add a ladle of stock to the rice and stir.  You don’t need to stir constantly.  Some good advice: stir every time you take a sip of wine!  It’s not necessary to stir constantly.
  • Continue to add stock, 1 ladle at a time, allowing the liquid to be absorbed before adding another ladle.
  • After 15-20 minutes, taste the rice to assess progress and adjust salt and pepper. You want the rice to be soft with just a touch of firmness or crunch when finished.
  • Add the fennel puree when you are nearly done.
  • Fold in the fennel puree, heat through for just a minute or two
  • Add the grated cheese, mix in and serve!

Shrimp

  • Just before finishing the risotto
  • Dry shrimp with a paper towel.
  • Preheat a non-stick skillet on medium-high heat
  • Quickly cook the shrimp for 1-2 minutes, no more.  Oil is not necessary, just keep the shrimp moving
  • Plate the risotto, top with shrimp, garnish with fennel fronds.

risotto_shrimp_arneis_winepw 20150606 101

Comments
22 Responses to “Shrimp & Fennel Risotto with Roero Arneis #WinePW”
  1. orna2013 says:

    Lovely! And excellent foodie photos.

  2. Valeriekq says:

    Il Marito would love this! He introduced me to cooking with fennel and we do it all the time. Definitely trying this one at home. I still haven’t tasted Matteo Correggia anything! I need to get an appointment scheduled there. Il Marito is even friends with them! On the list – both the wine AND the recipe. We may even do it next week. Cin cin!

  3. Your pairing sounds delicious. I also enjoyed your previous pairings with Arneis. Such a lovely wine and perfect for summer!

  4. I love your definition of underdog region. Very clever! The fennel risotto sounds amazing!

  5. Oh my gosh….that fennel puree has my mouth watering and I am sure it paired nicely with the Arneis.

  6. Your fennel risotto sounds amazing! I bet it was wonderful with the Arneis!

  7. culinarycam says:

    Those flavors together…oh, my! And with the Arneis? I’ll bet it was heavenly.

  8. Diana says:

    The red-headed stepchild, from the wrong side of the river, and the underdog? Definitely sounds like a “little rascal”! You’ve painted quite a personality for Arneis, I like it.

    I’m a huge risotto fan! I’ll have to try this fennel puree, it sounds amazing.

  9. What a great looking recipe Jeff! And you know I’m a fan of your photography. I didn’t realized Idlewild has an Arneis! I’ll have to look for it! Great post!

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