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 Filed as : Wine TipsRecipes & Pairings

Rice Is Nice

May 23, 2011
Rice Is Nice
Shrimp and wild mushroom risotto with a crisp, bright Greek white.

By popular demand The Daily Sip™ brings you yet another tasty food-and-wine pairing you can serve up at home. For this series, the recipes were created and wines chosen by chefs participating in the 80 Sips Challenge, running through May 27 at top New York restaurants. Click here to learn more about the Challenge's featured restaurants, the wines and how to participate, or click here to make a reservation at a participating 80 Sips Challenge restaurant through

shrimp_risottoRisotto gets a bad rap for being high in carbs but also time-consuming and difficult to prepare. However, some of the best risotto recipes not only include delicious, lean protein and vegetables, they're easier to pull together than the reputation suggests. They don't necessarily require that you stand at the stove for minutes on end, stirring in a zombie-like trance. The beauty of risotto, too, is that it soaks up flavors, with each grain acting as an individual sponge. This is also what makes risotto particularly friendly for wine pairing. To prove it, try out this recipe provided by Chef Ioannis Benetos of Parea.

The Dish: Shrimp and wild mushroom risotto (serves four)
The Wine: Gentilini Aspro Classic (white blend of Robola and Tsaousi) from Cefalonia Island, Greece ($15)

Ingredients (blue = shrimp; gray = risotto):
8 White shrimp
2 Garlic cloves, minced
1 Shallot, diced
4 1/2 Tablespoons unsweetened butter, divided and softened
1/3 Cup white wine
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 Cups Arborio rice
1 Medium Spanish onion, diced
3 Garlic cloves, minced
1 lb. Shitake mushrooms, sliced
1 Tablespoon truffle oil
2 Tablespoon parmesan cheese
1 1/2 Quarts chicken or vegetable stock
2 1/2 Cups white wine
2 Sprigs thyme, stems removed, minced
8 Tablespoons unsweetened butter
Salt & pepper to taste

In a small bowl, season shrimp with salt and pepper to taste; set aside. Add 4 tablespoons softened butter to a sauté pan over high heat. When the butter is liquid and hot, sear the shrimp for two minutes on each side. Add garlic and shallots to the pan and stir to combine with the shrimp. Turn off the flame, add white wine and return pan to high heat. Add the remaining half tablespoon of butter, stir well to combine and reduce about 1 minute. Set aside.

Place a pot over medium-high heat and add the stock; bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Place another pot over medium heat and add the olive oil. When hot, add the onions and stir frequently to prevent them from developing color. Add the mushrooms, garlic, and thyme. Stir and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the rice, stir, then pour in the white wine. Cook for a few minutes, continuing to stir, until the wine is absorbed. Add two ladles of the stock and continue to stir until stock is fully absorbed. Add two more ladles of the stock and stir. Repeat until the rice is al dente and creamy, about 20 minutes. Add the parmesan cheese, butter and truffle oil; stir very well. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon the risotto into equal portions on each dish, topping with the shrimp.

The Gentilini Aspro is a full-bodied, peachy white that will complement the richness and creaminess of the dish. If you can't find it, you should be able to find an affordable Assyrtiko from Greece, or try a dry Riesling from Austria such as Esterházy.

What's your favorite wine to pair with risotto? Tell us below.

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Which is not true about Parea's Chef Ioannis Benetos?