Wines to impress at The Jugged Hare

Taxidermy, bone marrow, faggots, junket and traditional sherries from family producers… Yes, there are many traditional elements to The Jugged Hare, the latest addition to the ETM restaurant group. But new City pub also offers the group’s most ambitious wine list to date, so I was curious to give it a try.

Our visit, last Friday evening, got off to a good start. Having settled comfortably on a couple of bar stools in the lively bar area, we soon clapped eyes on a couple of sherries at the bottom of the wine list and a style to suit each of us. I chose the excellent bone dry Fino from Guitérrez Colosia (£3.30/75cl) while my partner, who prefers richer sherries, enjoyed the elegant, nutty ‘Gobernador Oloroso’ from Emilio Hidalgo (£4/75cl). Both were well chilled, just as these styles should be.

We moved through to the bistro-style dining area which features an eight-spit rotisserie for the preparation of many of the dishes on the menu; meat and game are sourced from rare breed and artisan producers while fish is selected daily from Billingsgate market.

After some deliberation – the menu is extensive – I chose a warm starter of Dorset crab claws (£12) while my partner opted for the air dried Welsh ham and celeriac (£8.50). Turning to the wine list, our waiter was keen for us to try a flight of German Rieslings featuring three different producers but somehow, after sherry, the moment wasn’t quite right. However, a glass of white from the northern Rhône – Domaine Courbis, Saint Joseph Blanc 2009 (£12) – was a mouth-watering prospect. A more complex and structured white such as this, which is a blend of the two Rhône grapes Marsanne and Roussanne, would be a good match for the crab, I hoped.

The buttery crab claws arrived piled high on a small cast iron plate and I got to work. They were meaty and delicious and the silky richness of the Domaine Courbis white complemented them perfectly – this was the most exciting food and wine match that I’d come across for some time. It was probably also the most indulgent and one glass was just right (thanks to the use of dispensing machines a selection of fine wines are available by the glass or carafe in prime condition).

Meanwhile my partner was also enjoying his ham and celeriac starter, with some envious glances my way.

For the main dish, meat seemed to be the way to go and the Chateaubriand steak, for two to share, had tempted us both (600g/£55).

A bottle of Pinot Noir, Sokol Blosser, Delinea 300, 2009 (£38), which hails from Oregon in the USA, was our choice for the main. A medium-bodied red, it proved to be a good choice for a warm evening and for the generous slices of meat, cooked slightly pink as requested with béarnaise sauce or rotisserie gravy to accompany it.

Dessert was tempting, but the two courses we chose were more than sufficient. I would have been tempted by the sea-buckthorn junket and a dessert wine. There’s plenty more to look forward to next time.

The Jugged Hare, 49 Chiswell Street, London EC1Y 4SA

020 7614 0134;  www.thejuggedhare.com

ETM Group: www.etmgroup.co.uk

Diego Jacquet’s beef empanadas

On visits to Argentina and Chile I’ve enjoyed empanadas – small savoury pasties – during visits to wine producers; they have often been offered as a welcome mid morning snack or before a meal. Indeed nothing beats a glass of well chilled Argentinian Torrontés wine and freshly baked empanada as you gather round waiting for the ‘parrillada’ grill or barbecue.

There could be several different ones served: beef, chicken and cheese are the most usual and sweet corn is often one of the ingredients.

South American empanadas are typically much smaller and more dainty compared to the Cornish pasty while the equivalent in Spain is flat, round, big enough for several people and most commonly found in the north, especially Galicia (more about those delicious versions to come).

With a barbecue planned for friends this weekend, I’ll be preparing beef empanadas. The last empanadas that I enjoyed, here in London, were made by chef Diego Jacquet of Argentinian restaurant Casa Malevo. He’s kindly provided me with the recipe. As Diego says, buenprovecho!

Casa Malevo is located in Connaught Village, London W2. www.casamalevo.com

Recipe  for 18 empanadas

For the pastry:

500 gr flour, 000 quality

125gr lard

1 egg

200ml water

1tsp salt

For the filling:

500 grs minced Argentine or British quality beef

500 grs minced onions

1 bunch spring onions

2 cups of potato brunoise (finely diced potatoes)

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp chilli flakes

1 tsp dried oregano

3 tsp chopped parsley

olive oil

salt & pepper

Procedure:

The secret of a good empanada is moisture! That’s why my recipe has the same amount of meat and onions.

1- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4

2- For the pastry dough, combine the flour and salt in a mixing bowl.

3- Cut the lard into sugar cube sized chunks, add to the flour, and rub the fat into the flour until it forms fine crumbs. Add the mixed egg and water to form a soft dough. Set aside in the fridge to rest for an hour.

4- For the empanada filling, heat one spoon of olive oil in a large fry pan at medium heat. Add the onion and 2 spoons of fine sea salt, cover and let it sweat for 10 minutes.

5- Add all spices and meat and let it cook cover for other 15 minutes stirring continuously. Return the meat and juices to the pan and mix well, set aside to go cold.

6- Finally add potatoes, finely chopped spring onions & parsley let it cook only 5 more minutes. Take aside, rectify season and let it rest.

7- To fill the empanadas, take the pastry out of the fridge, and on a well-floured surface, roll out a thin sheet. Using a saucer or a tea plate, cut out discs of pastry.

8- On one half of the pastry circle place the filling, brush the edge with egg, fold over, and crimp the edges together. (if you are not used to, just press the edge with a fork)

9- Brush with egg and place on a greased baking tray.

10- Bake for ten minutes or until golden.

Nacho Manzano’s gazpacho of beetroot and red berries

Gazpacho, but not as you might know it… A few weeks ago I was invited to the relaunch of Spanish restaurant Ibérica in Marylebone which has been given a more Spanish and very classy new look – it is now ‘muy elegante’. Some delicious canapés were served including an original take on the classic Spanish soup, gazpacho, with beetroot and red berries. The recipe was created by consultant chef Nacho Manzano and, presented in a shot glass, it looked as good as it tasted.

You can find this delicious gazpacho on Ibérica’s new summer menu but, with a few tips from London-based Ibérica chef César García, I found it easy to prepare at home. You need fresh beetroot juice but if you don’t have a juicer or food processor to do this beetroot juice is easy to find in health food shops or supermarkets. Most larger shops also sell packs of frozen fruit berries. To find out more about Ibérica at Marylebone and Canary Wharf go to www.ibericalondon.co.uk

Gazpacho of red berries and beetroot by Nacho Manzano

For 1000g of gazpacho:

500g tomatoes (any kind of gazpacho is best when tomatoes are in season and fully ripe)

1 clove of garlic

120g peeled cucumber

100g spring onion

75g green pepper

430g red berries (redcurrants, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries)

60g Picual extra virgin olive oil

13g salt

30g Jerez vinegar

90g beetroot juice

For the cream (optional)

15g cream cheese

1 anchovy cut into strips

Chopped mint

Extra virgin olive oil

Method:

For the gazpacho, blend all the ingredients in a blender then add the extra virgin olive oil. Strain through a sieve or chinoise and chill.

If serving with the cream, pour the gazpacho into a soup plate, arrange with a ball of cream cheese in the centre, place some anchovies around the cream and scatter the mint on top. Finish with

Galicia: the new Spain

The wine regions of Galicia in north-west Spain are well worth exploring for an increasingly diverse range of whites led by Albariño and Godello while the region’s red wines made almost exclusively from local grapes such as Mencía are also coming to the fore.

My feature in the May issue of The Drinks Business titled ‘Oceans of Promise’ looks at recent developments and some of the producers shaping the future for these food-friendly Atlantic wines. It can be found in the ‘About’ section on this website.

Wines for British asparagus

Asparagus is best enjoyed as fresh as possible and, although you can buy asparagus all year round from other origins, I firmly believe that nothing beats British asparagus to really appreciate this extraordinary vegetable. Finding a complementary wine to go with it, though a little challenging, is the icing on the cake.

The British asparagus season has got off to a bumpy start. A warm spell in late March encouraged the young shoots to bask in the sunshine and for a while things were looking good. But the more recent cooler temperatures and heavy rain have played havoc in some regions and nowhere more so that the Vale of Evesham in Worcestershire where most British asparagus is produced in a more favourable year.

We can cross our fingers and hope that warmer, sunny weather encourages the ‘dormant’ crop to spring back to life. Meanwhile many larger retailers do have home-grown asparagus on their shelves – I’ve been buying asparagus from Kent and Suffolk to see how it works with different wines.

Cooking asparagus: Wash the spears and snap off the ends where they naturally break. I’ve found that asparagus keeps its flavour and crunch well if you barely cover the stems with water and boil for a few minutes until tender. Warm a serving dish before placing the spears into it and toss them and toss in good quality olive oil or melted butter, just enough to coat the asparagus. Sprinkle parmesan over the top and season. Some other asparagus dishes are mentioned below.

Extra tip: Before use, keep asparagus in the fridge and preferably in a jar of water.

Wine matches: Youthful, aromatic whites with enough character and structure to stand up to the intense flavour of asparagus work best. I think that whites with oak should be avoided and I haven’t found a rosé that works well with asparagus – the merest hint of red fruit seems to result in a clash.

Here are my recent discoveries and there are more to come:

1. Muscat Tradition, Domaine Albert Mann, 2011, 12.5%, £13.99, Alsace. Available from: Les Caves de Pyrene, www.lescaves.co.uk

The best match I’ve found so far. This dry Muscat has wonderful persistence and the classic elegance of this French region. A thoroughly enjoyable wine with asparagus, a touch of olive oil and topped with crispy bacon.

2. La Croix Belle, Caringole Blanc, 2011, Côtes de Thongue, France, 13%, £7.95. Available online at : www.stonevine.co.uk

This generously fruity Chardonnay/Sauvignon blend from the Languedoc region is ideal for a simple asparagus starter as described above.

3. La Croix Belle, Le Champ des Lys, Côtes de Thongue, 2010, 13.5%, £8.95. Available online at : www.stonevine.co.uk

A more structured white compared to its younger sibling with Grenache Blanc and Viognier giving it delicious apricot and peach fruit. Try it with an asparagus risotto.

4. Evolution 15, Sokol Blosser, Oregon (USA), 12.5%, £11.99. Available from: Les Caves de Pyrene, www.lescaves.co.uk

Talented winemaker Alex Sokol blends nine undisclosed grapes to make this excellent non-vintage white which is bursting with tropical fruit yet delightfully fresh and food friendly. Pair it with a warm chicken and asparagus salad.

5. La Báscula Catalan Eagle, 2011, Terra Alta, Spain, 13.5%, £9.99. Available from: Noel Young Wines; Highbury Vintners, D. Byrne & Co; Woodwinters Wines and Whiskies

A rich blend of Garnacha Blanca (Grenache Blanc), Viognier and Roussanne, this wine is made from organic grapes by South African winemaker Bruce Jack. A stunning modern Spanish white, the wine is a fine match for an asparagus starter and fuller flavoured fish dishes – try it with José Pizarro’s sea bass baked over anchovy potatoes which can be found in the Spanish chef’s latest recipe book ‘Spanish Flavours’.

6. Yealands Estate ‘S1’ Sauvignon Blanc, 2011, Awatere Valley, Marlborough, New Zealand, 13.5%. Available from: M&S stores for £12.99 and online at: www.marksandspencer.com for £11.95.

A sophisticated Kiwi Sauvignon with intense herbaceous fruit and racy acidity – a classy food wine and excellent with asparagus.

7. Errazuriz Aconcagua Costa Sauvignon Blanc, 2011, Chile, 13.5%, £11.75

From vineyards close to the Pacific Ocean, there is lovely freshness here and delightful lime and green apple fruit. Ideal for asparagus, chicken, fish or simply just enjoying a glass outside on a warm summer evening. Available from: Berry Bros & Rudd: www.bbr.com (The same merchant also offers some excellent food-friendly New Zealand Sauvignons including Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc 2011, £14.95, and Isabel Estate, £13.95).

8.  Australian Chardonnay, 2011, 13%, £7.49

The generous fruit character of this Chardonnay and a slight buttery richness makes this wine another good candidate for asparagus and it offers great value for the price. Winemaker Brian Walsh has used fruit from the warmer Riverland and Barossa Valley regions and the cooler Adelaide Plains and, very discreetly, aged a small amount of the wine in oak. It works a treat. Available from M&S stores and online at www.marksandspencer.com

To find out more about British asparagus, where to find it and how to enjoy it go to: www.british-asparagus.co.uk

Wines for roast lamb

Wines for roast lamb… My partner’s mother, Françoise, is coming to visit and she’s kindly bringing a boned leg of lamb which I’ll stuff with garlic, rosemary and anchovies and roast on Easter Sunday. I’ll probably serve it with parmentier potatoes* and assorted vegetables. A bottle of fairly full flavoured red wine or two will be on the table for what promises to be a very long and leisurely family lunch. Here are my current favourites for roast meats and they will all go particularly well with lamb:

1. Chorey-Les-Beaune, Maison Bichot, 2009, £15, www.oddbins.com

A delightful, perfumed Pinot Noir from a Burgundy producer that has been raising its game of late.

2. Maycas Reserva Especial Pinot Noir, Limarí Valley, £11.95, www.thewinesociety.com

 The vines for this delicious Chilean Pinot Noir were planted only six years ago but the wine already shows elegance and structure. Its cherry fruit has been enhanced by partial ageing in new oak.

3. Prophets Rock Pinot Noir, Central Otago, 2009, £23.50, www.thewinesociety.com

Paul Pujol is the talented winemaker behind this classy Pinot which has the unmistakable character of New Zealand’s Central Otago and the finesse of its Burgundian cousins.

4. Vinkara Kalecik Karasi, 2009, £9.50, www.thewinesociety.com

From Turkey…The crunchy redcurrant fruit in this wine makes it ideal for spring and summer drinking. If you like Pinot Noir, you’ll like this wine. An pleasing discovery and what a bargain.

5. Syrah, L’Appel des Sereines, Domaine Villard, 2009, £11.50,  www.thewinesociety.com

A lovely ripe Syrah with restrained alcohol (12.5%) from a producer in the northern Rhône.

6. Altano Organic 2010, £9.99, www.waitrose.com

I first enjoyed this wine during a visit which coincided with the vintage in the Douro last autumn and was hosted by the Symington Family. Made from the same grapes that are used to make port – Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and Tinta Barroca – it’s a youthful, contemporary Portuguese table wine with fresh, juicy red fruit and a carefully judged 10 months in oak.

7. Gigondas Serabel 2010, £15, www.oddbins.com

Delightful forest fruits with hint of chocolate and lovely freshness. Good value from the southern Rhône.

8. Pétalos (Mencía) 2009, Descendientes de J Palacios, Bierzo, £16.80

Stockists: Upton Wines, Fortnum and Mason and Bailey’s Wine Merchants.

The freshness and great depth of carácter in a good Spanish Mencía wine makes it a great partner for lamb. If you haven’t come across Mencía yet and you’re keen to try something new then look no further.

9. Ch Ksara Réserve du Couvent 2009, £9.75, www.oddbins.com

Rich and opulent, this wine is one a number of Lebanese wines that can now be found in our wine shops and on supermarket shelves.

10. Baltasar Gracian VV 2009, £13.50, www.oddbins.com

 Made from old vine Garnacha from the Spanish region of Calatayud. Great flavour and excellent value for money.

* Cubed potatoes lightly fried and then roasted for around 30 minutes. Toss the potatoes regularly to avoid them sticking to the roasting tin and add a few sprigs of rosemary for extra flavour.

Sherry is a hit at the AKT tasting

I love Sherry! These were not my words although I am very fond of Sherry. This was a phrase that I kept hearing during a Spanish wine tasting that I gave in London last week in aid of the Albert Kennedy Trust (www.akt.org.uk) *.

The conversation turned to Sherry as we were setting up: I looked down at the table to see two decent wine glasses sitting alongside the tiniest Sherry glass. This prompted a conversation with Tim Sigsworth of the Albert Kennedy Trust who likes a glass of Sherry especially at Bar Pepito (www.camino.uk.com), a Sherry bar in King’s Cross. He often meets friends or family off the train and welcomes them to town with a chilled glass of fino.

But back to the tasting… We started with Codorníu’s refreshing Selección Raventós Cava which is a blend of Chardonnay, Xarello and Macabeo. We then moved on to a couple of vibrant wines making their debut from the 2011 vintage – the deliciously fruity Marqués de Riscal Verdejo white from Rueda and Marqués de Cáceres Rosado from Rioja which was brimming with red berry fruit.

After a break to enjoy some tapas, and with the party in full swing, we continued with the red wines. Urban 2009 from O. Fournier in Ribera del Duero was an instant hit with its generous Tempranillo fruit and a touch of oak while the estate Rioja El Puntido 2008, a contemporary wine from the region, offered great depths of flavour and, we agreed, a wine which will be even better over the coming years.

Finally Lustau’s Old East India Sherry took a bow. This Sherry is an ideal choice to end a meal as it has some sweetness; it is a blend of dry oloroso and sweet, dark Pedro Ximénez Sherry. Slightly chilled, this is a Sherry to savour at the end of a meal on its own or with blue cheese or crème brulée.

The tiny Sherry glasses were left to one side. This Sherry’s wonderful aromas, mahogany tones and long dried fruit and candied orange flavours were fully appreciated in a wine glass. Sherry won a few more fans that evening.

 *An auction following the wine tasting raised £19,000.

 Other places to enjoy Sherry and good Spanish wines in and around London:

 Barrafina: www.barrafina.co.uk

Capote y Toros,  www.cambiodetercio.co.uk

Copita,  www.copita.co.uk

Ibérica, www.ibericalondon.co.uk

José,  www.joserestaurant.co.uk

Moro,  www.moro.co.uk

Salt Yard, www.saltyard.co.uk  

Tapas Brindisa, www.brindisa.com

Trangallán, www.trangallan.com

Spanish wines for spring: Cavas and whites

I’ve tasted some impressive Spanish wines lately, some made from grapes that I haven’t previously heard of. Here are the ones that have most impressed me together with a few other favourites…  

Cavas:

1. Conde de Haro NV, Bodegas Muga, Rioja, £15

A delicious sparkling wine based on the Viura and Malvasía grapes, the classic Rioja white blend.Available from: Portland wine cellars (Lancashire), Ultracomida (Aberystwyth, Narbeth), Les Vignerons de St George (Surrey),

2. Elyssia Gran Cuvée Brut NV, Freixenet

An elegant Cava with good structure made from Chardonnay, Macabeo and Parellada. Available from: Waitrose and Tesco.com, price guide £14.99

3. Reina Maria Cristina Blanc de Noirs Reserva 2008, Codorníu    

A decidedly modern style of Cava and very polished. Made from Pinot Noir with some Chardonnay.  Available from: Majestic plus independents (Dickens House, Taylors Fine Wine, The Halifax Wine Company, Aughton Wines), £14.99

4. Parxet Brut Reserva 2009 Cava, £12.95

A Cava with some maturity; delicious apple and pear fruit with a savoury dryness – try it with food. www.winetraders.org.uk

White wines:

5. Albariño de Fefiñanes Joven 2010, DO Rías Baixas, £15.95, 13%,

A fine Albariño from one of the oldest producers in the region. www.winetraders.org.uk

6. Señoráns Albariño 2010, Pazo de Señoráns, DO Rías Baixas,13%, £15

A focused style and a consistent performer. www.Rhone2rioja.co.uk

7. Albariño Leirana 2010, Forjas del Salnés, 12.5%, £17.95, from some of the oldest vines in the region www.carteblanchewines.com

8. Coto de Gomariz Blanco 2010, Coto de Gomariz, DO Ribeiro, £13.75, 13%

A blend of Albariño, Godello, Loureira and Treixadura from Ribeiro, in Galicia, which is re-emerging with a quality wine offering. Unoaked, vibrant and zesty. www.indigowine.com

9. Louro 2010, Bodegas Rafael Palacios, Valdeorras, 13.5%, £11.94,

A fine example of Godello carefully aged in oak from a talented winemaker. Available through Georges Barbier of London 020 8852 5801

Three wines from Monterrei, the smallest DO region of Galicia:

10. Grego e Monaguillo 2011, Godello, 13%, £10.50

Very pure and fresh – a delightful wine for spring and summer.

Available from: Ballantynes of Cowbridge, Christpher Piper (Devon), Highbury Vintners (London), the Leamington Wine Co., Vins De Bordeaux (Oldham)

11. Alma de Blanco Godello 2010, price guide £7.50, Oddbins.com

Fresh with bright white peach fruit – a welcome new addition to the Oddbins range – www.oddbins.com

12. Pazo de Mariñan 2010, Bodegas Tapias Mariñan, 13% £10.50, 13%

Godello, Treixadura and Albariño come together in a stylish blend.

Available from: George Hill (Loughborough), Highbury Vintners (London), Mill Hill Wines (London), Partridges of Sloane Square (London), Ultracomida (Aberystwyth, Narbeth), Vins de Bordeaux (Oldham), Wines of Interest (Ipswich), York Beer and Wine shop, Wine Appreciation (Doncaster)

13. Tierra Fidel Rioja Blanco 2009, Agrícola Labastida, Rioja, 14%, £25

Mostly Viura, Garnacha Blanca and Malvasía with Mazuelo Blanco, Moscatel and the rare Rioja variety Calagraño making up the rest. When Rioja whites can be as good as this the region doesn’t need Chardonnay…   www.carteblanchewines.com

14. José Pariente 2011, Bodegas José Pariente, Rueda, 13%, £8.58

Fresh from the 2011 vintage – a rich yet balanced Verdejo with delicious hints of quince fruit. One of the best producers in the region in my view. Available through Georges Barbier of London, 020 8852 5801

London’s Spanish fiesta

Sam Clark of Moro, an octopus and other gastronomic delights at the fiesta…

It was a pleasure to meet Sam Clark of Farringdon’s Moro & Morito restaurants last Thursday at Old Billingsgate. He was taking part in the annual Wines of Spain Consumer Tasting which offers some of the capital’s best Spanish food to accompany a wide range of the country’s wines.

Sam was chopping up a sizeable octopus for ‘Pulpo a la Gallega’ which was served with rock salt, smoked paprika and Basilippo Arbequina olive oil. It was exquisitely tender – reminding me of the great seafood that I enjoyed when I lived in Galicia – and a good wine from the region, Albariño Pazo Barrantes 2010 from Marqués de Murrieta, was the obvious choice to go with it (www.mmdltd.co.uk).

Alongside fellow Moro chef Andy Haimes was preparing a tapa which takes inspiration from the south of Spain – ‘Chicharrones de Cádiz’ (wood roasted pork belly) – and, as a heady waft of the spice suggested, cumin was a key ingredient here.

Spice can be a bit tricky with red wines, especially oaky reds, so I opted for another white to go with this tapa – the deliciously fruity La Miranda Garnacha Blanca from Viñas del Vero in the northern region of Somontano (www.gonzalezbyass.com). It proved to be another great combination.

The Moro chefs had decided to keep things fairly simple but seeing the duo putting their dishes together at the table made great culinary theatre.

Several other restaurants were also taking part with their specialities. Brindisa’s Robert Castro prepared a ‘tostadita’ with roast vegetables, mackerel and romesco dressing and Camino’s Nacho del Campo served up an equally delicious equivalent with charcoal-grilled pepper, aubergine, spring onion and anchovy.

For something completely different I then headed to Ibérica’s table to taste the eclectic celery and seaweed panna cotta with apple and cucumber which refreshed the palate. I was then ready to enjoy some classic Spanish cold cuts with a red wine and I found River Café Sergi Arola’s lomo and chorizo delicious with the fine Rioja Contino Reserva 2006 (www.hatchmansfield.com).

Down at the end of the hall several tables were attracting a lot of interest, especially from those who know how well fine sherry and jamón go together.

Two of the UK’s ‘master carvers’– Chuse Valero and Zac Fingal-Rock Innes – were carving up wafer-thin slices of jamón to be enjoyed with something from the well stocked Sherry Bar. I found some of my favourite sherries here including I Think Manzanilla En Rama and La Bota de Manzanilla No 32 both produced by Equipo Navazos (available from The Sampler and Philglass & Swiggot) and Manzanilla Pasada Pastrana from Bodegas Hidalgo (www.mentzendorff.co.uk).

Thanks for the fiesta!

*Attracting nearly 400 people, this celebration of Spanish wine and food was hosted by Wines from Spain in collaboration with the publishers of Square Meal magazine. Guests paid £25.

For more information about Spanish wine go to: www.winesfromspainuk.com

All the Spanish restaurants mentioned here appear on www.squaremeal.co.uk

Verona Blog 2: Risotto all’Amarone

Risotto all’Amarone recipe…

By Gabriele Ferron

For four people:

400g Vialone Nano rice or good quality risotto rice

900ml chicken stock

300ml Amarone* (just under half a bottle)

30g red onion, finely chopped

40g extra virgin olive oil

60g parmesan cheese (or Monte Veronese)

A knob of butter

Seasoning as required

Method:

Fry the onion with 20g of the olive oil and set aside. In a deep pan**, fry the rice with the remaining 20g of olive oil for a few minutes and heat the stock in a separate pan.

Add the Amarone to the rice and turn up the heat (to reduce the wine and burn off the alcohol) stirring carefully to combine the ingredients at the same time.

Then add all the hot stock and the fried onion, stir together, cover and lower the heat. Cook for around 14-15 minutes until the rice is ‘al dente’ and soft.

Take the risotto off the heat, add the butter and cheese and the dish is ready to be served. Buon appetito!

                                                     ***************

About Gabriele Ferron: Gabriele’s speciality is traditional Italian rice dishes. She cooks at Verona’s Antica Botteca del Vino (www.bottegavini.it) and gives cookery demonstrations all over the world.

Notes:

*A Le Creuset casserole dish or similar works well

**What kind of Amarone? The Amarone is likely to be the most expensive component in this tasty dish and good quality Amarone does not come cheap due to the care that goes into making it. Yes, it’s an indulgence but it’s well worth it. Cantina Negrar’s Amarone Classico, 2008 (In store and on line at www.waitrose.com/wine, £17.09) is an Amarone that I’m happy to use for this dish and enjoy with the risotto when I serve it up. (PL)