We are live tasting the 2015 Locus Nord and the 2016 Locus Barbera... To that end, we thought it'd be good to pair them up with some delicious (if seasonally on the heavy side) foods. First up, the wild mushroom risotto for the Nord:
4-6 dinner servings (36-42 oz)
Risottos are always good (they better be, with that much cheese and butter) but this one is extra special for two reasons: Firstly, it does not need the constant stirring that most risottos require since mushrooms provide a lot of liquid and space for rice to absorb liquids. Secondly, using a homemade broth gives a depth to the dish that no fancy off-the-shelf broth can ever do. Easy one. Just do the broth yourself.
3 cups mushroom broth; more if needed (make it at home: Simmer 3 to 4 oz of dried, preferably various mushroom mixes in 5 cups of water for 5 minutes, let it sit covered for 30; strain. Reserve mushroom to use in this or another recipe)
1 oz. dried porcini soaked for 30 minutes in 1 cup warm water; mushrooms chopped, soaking liquid strained and reserved
4 Tbs. butter
3/4 cup arborio rice
2 cups assorted fresh wild mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed, and coarsely chopped
2/3 cup dry white wine
Kosher salt to taste
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 oz. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Something green like chives and finely sliced scallions (green parts) as garnish
Heat the broth along with the reserved strained porcini soaking liquid; lower to a simmer.
In a separate, medium saucepan over medium-high heat, melt 2 Tbs. of the butter.
Stir in the rice, toasting just until it starts to sizzle and pop, about 1 minute.
Stir the porcini and the fresh mushrooms and the wine.
When almost all the liquid has disappeared, after about 2 minutes, add just enough hot broth to cover the rice.
Lower the heat to maintain a vigorous simmer; stir occasionally.
When the broth is almost gone, add enough to cover the rice, along with a pinch of salt.
Check on the risotto every 3 or 4 minutes, giving it an occasional stir to make sure it isn’t sticking to the bottom of the pan and adding just enough broth to cover the rice when the liquid has almost disappeared.
Continue this way until the rice is just al dente, about 15-20 minutes.
Bite into a grain; you should see a white pin-dot in the center.
Remove from heat, add the remaining 2 Tbs. butter; stir well.
Add the parsley, cheese, and more salt, if needed. The risotto should be moist and creamy, not runny. Stir in more broth to loosen the risotto if you like. Garnish and serve.
Note: I serve this with parsley oil to provide a fresh, vegetable note to an otherwise hefty feeling dish. You can reduce the amount of cheese to reduce the heft but I can never bring myself to do that. It feels like I am committing a crime when I skip on the parmesan in a risotto.
Cherry Cola Pulled Pork Sliders
14-16 ounces (or 4-6 sliders or tacos)
Whether you like it as they are (no bread, no fillers) or as sliders or as tacos, this pulled pork babies will be permanent fixtures in your recipe repertoire .... Easy and impressive.
2 lbs boneless pork shoulder
4 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. coarse sea salt
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. all spice
2 tsps. chili powder
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. ground cumin
2 12-oz. bottles cherry cola (sweetened with cane sugar)
6 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Some sort of slaw (traditional works, or get fancy like fennel-green apple)
Combine the salt, cinnamon, all spice, chili powder, cumin and garlic.
Rub the pork with the spice rub on all sides.
Over high heat, brown the pork on all sides, about 4 minutes per side.
Place in the slow cooker, add cherry cola and apple cider vinegar and the bay leaves.
Cover and cook for 6 hours on high or until the pork is fork tender and coming apart.
Remove gristle and fat. Shred the pork. Adjust seasoning.
Assemble the sliders with rolls or slaw. Or just eat them as they are.