What is it about pumpkin and how each time I serve it, it makes people swoon? Nostalgia.
Nostalgia is a powerful tool in the chef’s arsenal. It’s a direct line to the hearts and minds of your guests. It's that smell from mama’s kitchen. It's that flavor, which will always remind you of home. Or that memory of togetherness around a family table, the food you ate and the happy memories you shared. Would it surprise you to know that nostalgia is a topic taught in culinary school? Well it is, and for very good reason because with nostalgia you can create a dish that will not only taste divine, but also speaks to the diner’s soul. That’s how pumpkin risotto ended up on my menu.
Pumpkin risotto is an extremely versatile dish that combines sweet earthy flavors with rich, creamy textures and a salty, spicy snap at the end of each bite. The pumpkin adds a weight to the palate that takes this from being just another rice dish to becoming a centerpiece of the meal. It’s warming and speaks to that part of us that loves home cooking, yet it easily translates well into fine dining.
When it comes to a wine pairing, you could go with an earthy Italian white with brisk acidity, but I wanted something a little different and I’m glad I chose the route of exploration. The Masi Campofiorin played power against power, as rich spicy flavors complimented each other. However, what truly made this match was its beautiful structure and zesty acidity. Each bite of the pumpkin risotto was as good as the first, as the Campofiorin added depth to the risotto and then cleansed the palate for the following bite.
2007 Masi Campofiorin Ripasso Veronese IGT - The nose showed black cherry, dusty potpourri and sautéed mushroom with hints of cinnamon and clove. It was soft and enveloping on the palate with wild berries and spices, leading to a juicy sweet finish with red fruits and minerals lingering to the end. This was highly enjoyable and a pleasure to drink with the perfect amount of juicy acidity to make it a superb partner for a rich risotto.
Meet Chef Eric Guido
After working in the New York City restaurant scene, Eric Guido branched out, organizing private dining and tasting events centered around Italian cuisine and wine. Here he began to incorporate food photography and recipe development. His continuing work can be seen at www.theviptable.net. Eric’s passion for food and wine is fueled by the togetherness and satisfaction found at the table.
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