Food Pairings: Italian Wine with Scallops & Risotto

Here at Bottles Fine Wine, we love sharing our food & wine pairing knowledge. Our current in store wine display features regions of Italy and wines that pair with each winter recipe. Read on to learn a little bit about Piedmont and wines that match this recipe for Pan-Roasted Winter Squash Risotto, with Seared Scallops and Cider Reduction. Swing by and be sure to look for the large wine display! Also, thank-you Edible Rhody for providing Italian recipes from local chefs from around Rhode Island.

Looking for helpful food and wine pairing guidelines? Click below.

Piedmont wine food pairing ideas
Piedmont is in the Northwest corner of Italy, cut off by the sea by Liguria and surrounded on three sides by the Alps. The region is much cooler than most wine growing areas and is best known for the beautiful, elegant but powerful wines of Barolo and Barbaresco. Typical food items from Piedmont are risotto, polenta, white truffles and dishes with cream sauces.

2011 Stefano Massone Cortese di Gavi

This is one of our favorite wines at Bottles for its balance of value and wonderful savory fruit flavors.  Look for flavors of roasted nuts and hay, with a bit of fresh peach and honeydew melon flavors in the background – and remember, this is more of a savory wine than a fruity one, making it a perfect match with the haunting flavors of the squash and the clean minerality of the scallops.

2011 Guidobono Langhe Nebbiolo
Nebbiolo is the grape used to make the iconic Barolo and Barberesco wines from the Piedmont region and this is a stunning example of the grape and a fraction of the price.  This is a medium bodied wine, with flavors of black cherries, black plums and spices.  There is plenty of acidity in the wine that allows it to cut through the richness of the risotto, but doesn’t overpower the delicate texture and flavor of the scallops.

Photo by Edible Rhody

with Seared Scallops and Cider Reduction

From Chef Neil Manacle, Fluke Wine Bar & Kitchen, Newport

1 medium acorn squash, halved and seeded

12 sea scallops, patted dry

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

2½ cups clam juice

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons butter

1 medium onion, chopped

1 cup Arborio rice

½ cup cooked and finely chopped bacon

1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

1 cup apple cider, heated until reduced by half

Preheat the oven to 400°. Place the squash on a parchment lined sheet pan, cut side down, and roast until soft (45 minutes).

Cool and purée the flesh only; set aside. Season the scallops with salt and pepper and refrigerate until needed.

Heat the clam juice in a small saucepan and continue to keep it warm on the stovetop.

In a separate saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter, add onions and cook until lightly caramelized. Add Arborio rice, stirring for 1 minute until rice is slightly translucent. Add the warm clam juice about ¼ cup at a time, stirring until absorbed before adding the next measure. Keep stirring the risotto.

While the rice is cooking, heat the remaining olive oil in a sauté pan until very hot. Sear the scallops for 3 minutes on each side (do not crowd); remove from heat and keep warm.

After about 10–15 minutes, when the risotto is tender but still slightly firm to the bite, add the squash purée, bacon and herbs; incorporate well. Add the remaining butter and season with salt and pepper. Divide into warm, shallow bowls and top with the seared scallops and drizzle with cider reduction.

Serves 6.

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