Friday, July 31, 2015

Grano Saraceno Risotto con Funghi e Miele for #ItalianFWT


This month the Italian Food, Wine & Travel - #ItalianFWT - blogging group is traveling to their tenth region of Italy: Sardegna (or Sardinia, in English). I'm joining for the first time and was thrilled to be heading to Sardegna by tabletop and goblet.

When I lived in Italy, after college, I hopped on the overnight ferry out of Civitavecchia to Olbia. My friend and I couldn't afford a seat, so we slept in sleeping bags on the deck all the way across. Good thing I was young and resilient! Sleeping on an unforgiving deck bench in this decade would be torturous.

From the port, which I remember smelled of orange blossoms, Kristin and I caught a bus to Costa Smeralda and camped on the granite cliffs overlooking the white sand beaches of Santa Teresa di Gallura. It's a town on the northern tip of Sardinia and you can see the southern coast of Corsica from the beach. Absolutely stunning. I loved it so much that I went back one more time before I moved back to the States.

To celebrate my 23rd, we had a bottle of wine - maybe two bottles - crusty bread, wild strawberries, and some pungent sheep's milk cheese. It was one of my most memorable birthday dinners ever. I only wish I had the photos digitally to share with you. Maybe I need to invest in a slide scanner.


My fellow bloggers have lots to share with you so check out their blogs below.  If you're reading this in time also you can join us live on Twitter at 11am EST at #ItalianFWT and tell us all about your experiences with the island of Sardegna or come and learn something new about this region.
I have no recollection of what wine I drank while I was in Sardegna. I just remember it being red and plentiful. For this event, I tracked down a 2009 Shardana. When the Phoenicians first set eyes on Sardinia, they arrived from the south, to the Sulcis peninsula. From there they traveled north until they had colonized the entire island. Shardana was their name for the native Sardinians. The red symbol on the label [above] is the Phoenician letter 's'.

This 2009 Shardana is an epic red blend that has layers of spice, herbs, licorice, and black olives. I could almost taste the vibrant mix of myrtle and juniper whose heady scents enveloped the cliffs that I remember from Sardinia. It was an intense sensation. I could close my eyes and imagine the waves crashing on the beach at Santa Teresa di Gallura. I loved this robust red. Cin cin! 


On My Plate...
I already told you about my Spartan - in the austere sense - birthday dinner. During my second trip a few months later, I was with more friends. We pooled our money and splurged on some seafood and pasta. And, of course, more wine.

When I was trying to decide what to make for this, I came across a Sardinian dish that's a risotto-style dish made with fregula sarda and has mushrooms, abbamele, and goat cheese. Fregula is a small, toasted semolina pasta. Abbamele is made by pressing honeycombs to extract all the honey and pollen then reducing that honey in large copper pots. Not having either of those ingredients, I opted to use buckwheat groats ("grana saraceno" in Italian) and a pine honey. The dish was a hit and paired beautifully with the Shardana.

Grano Saraceno Risotto con Funghi e Miele


Ingredients

  • 3 C organic chicken stock
  • 1/2 C red wine
  • 1 to 2 T olive oil
  • 1/4 C chopped shallots
  • 1/2 C diced red peppers
  • 1 C sliced mushrooms (I used a mixture of shitake and morel mushrooms)
  • 1 1/4 C uncooked buckwheat groats
  • 1/4 C finely chopped fresh herbs (I used a mixture of parsley, oregano, and thyme)
  • 1/2 C goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1 T abbamele or honey
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper

Procedure
Combine stock and wine in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and keep at a simmer while you prepare the rest of the dish.

Heat oil in a large, flat-bottom pan. Add shallots and cook until softened and translucent. Add the peppers and cook till softened. Stir in the mushrooms and cook until they soften and the liquid mostly evaporates.

Add in the buckwheat and stir to coat with oil. Add in liquid by the ladle-full, stirring constantly, until each addition of liquid is absorbed. This might take 15 minutes or so. Remove from heat. Stir herbs, goat cheese, and 2 t honey. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Spoon risotto into serving bowls and drizzle each serving with remaining honey. Serve immediately.

Off to Abruzzo...
Next month's #ItalianFWT event happens on September 5th. We will be featuring the region of Abruzzo. Can't wait.

7 comments:

  1. Love your memories of your travels over there. Boy the things we did when we were younger, but regardless of where you slept it doesn't overtake the beautiful scenery and memories. Thanks for joining us this month!

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  2. You are so adventurous and your memories make such great stories. Lovely pairing, where did you find your wine selection?

    I've not tried buckwheat groats nor do I think I've seen them - another item for my list!

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    1. Thanks, Christy. I found my wine at my local BevMo.

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  3. I wanted some fregula for my dish but wasn't able to find any. I subbed pearl cous cous, but I like the buckwheat groats you used here. Great looking dish. And wine and the pairing sounds wonderful! As Christy said during our chat. During my next life I want to come back as Cam in her 20s! ;-)

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    1. Haha. Yeah, me in my 20s...it was fun but I don't think I'd want to go back to my 20s!!

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  4. Your 23rd birthday sounds amazing! Thank you for sharing your great memories.

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