Pairing Magic with Ferzo Pecorino and Squash Risotto #ItalianFWT

Italian Food, Wine and Travel “Visits” Abruzzo
October brings our #ItalianFWT blogging group to Abruzzo in Central Italy. Take a look farther down in this post for a bunch of great ideas related to the foods and wines of Abruzzo. Earlier this year, I was introduced to the Pecorino grape, a native to the central Italy regions of Abruzzo and le Marche. This month, I had the opportunity to revisit the Pecorino grape with a version from the Ferzo winery in Abruzzo.

Ferzo Pecorino and squash risotto make a perfect pair; give it a try!

Lots of Wine-Food Pairings are Nice, Only a Few Are WOW!
The simple truth of wine and food pairing is that about 80% of wine/food combinations are pretty good. Drink wine you like with food you like and you’ll be pretty happy. Then, there are somewhere around 10% of the combinations where you’ll say “Wow, I’ll never do THAT again!” Finally, there are those few, 1 in 10 times (10%, right?) where the wine and food are better together than either alone. They make you sit up and take notice.

This particular Pecorino wine possessed a rich, creamy texture paired with plenty of acidity. That creamy texture matched the creaminess of the risotto perfectly, and the acidity effectively cleansed the palate between bites. The fresh flavors in the wine provided refreshment and nice contrast with the richer, earthier squash and bacon. This pairing simply made us take notice.

Disclosure: The Pecorino wine was provided as a sample. No other compensation was involved, all opinions are mine.

Ferzo Pecorino “Terre di Chieti” IGP

Ferzo Pecorino IGP “Terre di Chieti” 2017 (sample, SRP $26 or online here) 13.3% abv
Eye: Clear pale lemon
Nose: Clean, medium intensity. Aromas of fresh lemon peel, ripe green apple, pear, limestone, white gardenia.
Mouth: Dry, medium intensity flavor. Medium+ acidity, medium body, medium alcohol. Rich creamy mouth-coating texture. Flavors echo the aromas with lemon peel, green apple, pear. Medium finish with a very slight bitterness which is pleasant.

ItalianFWT Shares Abruzzo Ideas
Take a look below at all the great ideas for exploring the wines of Abruzzo in central Italy from our creative bloggers of Italian Food, Wine and Travel. If you see this soon enough, please join our chat on Twitter at #ItalianFWT on Saturday, Oct. 5 at 10am CDT.

Risotto can be adapted to countless different flavors depending on what you decide to add. Early fall? Add sage, roasted squash and bacon.

Acorn Squash Risotto

Risotto is a classic preparation, it can be adapted in countless ways, and it’s 100% doable in the home kitchen. If you haven’t mastered risotto yet, this is a perfect time to start! Give it a try. No homemade stock? Use store-bought. One you get the hang of it, you’ll have a dish you can cook almost anywhere in almost any kitchen with only a few ingredients. It will become your cooking secret weapon!

Risotto Advice

  • Risotto is a simple dish, so one of the keys to success is to use the highest quality ingredients possible.  The stock is key, if you don’t make your own, use the highest quality stock you can purchase.
  • Use Vialone Nano, 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. This translates to 8 oz. rice to about 1 quart of stock.

Ingredients (4 servings plus leftovers for Risotto Fritto!)

  • 8 oz. Arborio rice
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 32 oz. chicken stock
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped

at the finish

  • 1/2 acorn squash: peeled, cut into bite size pieces, roasted at 425F for about 30 minutes
  • 1-2 Tbsp chopped fresh sage
  • 4 slices of bacon: fried, cooled and chopped into bite size bits
  • 2 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano (use the real thing!) cheese, grated


  1. Start by bringing the stock up to a simmer, just under boiling.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a pot large enough to hold your finished risotto, add the onions and cook until they are translucent, just a few minutes.
  3. 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.
  4. Add the white wine and stir.  Adjust the heat to keep the liquid at high simmer, with occasional bubbles. Wait until the liquid is absorbed.
  5. After 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!
  6. Continue to add stock, 1 ladle at a time, allowing the liquid to be absorbed before adding another ladle.  All the stock will be absorbed in about 20-30 minutes, but you’ll want to judge by tasting the nearly finished rice.
  7. If necessary, you can add hot water a ladle at a time if more liquid is needed. Remember the rice should retain just a bit of chewiness.
  8. Note that this is the point you choose how dry your risotto will be. Let it remain a little more liquid if you’re serving it in a bowl and you like a more soupy style. Let it absorb all the liquid if you prefer a more firm style which holds its’ shape on the plate.
  9. Gently fold in the grated cheese, stir gently to allow the cheese to melt.
  10. Gently fold in the squash, bacon and half of the sage.  Sprinkle the remaining sage on top of the plated risotto.



4 Responses to “Pairing Magic with Ferzo Pecorino and Squash Risotto #ItalianFWT”
  1. Nicole Ruiz Hudson says:

    Those times you find the “WOW” pairings are so special. This looks so delicious and perfect for fall.

  2. Nice pairing, I haven’t had this Pecorino from Ferzo, but I will try it now when there’s an occasion to do so. The risotto sounds very yummy.

  3. Wendy Klik says:

    This pairing made me take notice too. I am going to have to get another bottle so I can try it for myself.

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] farmers selling their wares at Les Halles on Saturdays and Tuesdays. We made a nice fall themed risotto with the last of the local Chanterelle mushrooms and some lardon fumé (smoked pork belly bits). […]

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