Fog Crest Vineyard
February 20, 2019 | Food and Wine, Wine Country Recipes | Fog Crest Vineyard

Winter Comfort Food

Comfort food helps to keep us warm and happy during the long winter months.

Winter. Our vineyard rests, storing up the energy needed for bud break in the Spring. The skies are cloudy, wet un-furled umbrellas line up by the door, and everyone wants to settle in by the fireplace with their glasses of wine.

Our thoughts, though, turn to warm, comforting food to stave off the chill. So many ideas come to mind… stews, pastas, roasted meats, a pot of chili or minestrone. Mashed potatoes with a gruyere béchamel. Dungeness crab macaroni and cheese. Chicken Pot Pie, and just about any recipe we loved from our childhood.

Risotto, the ultimate Italian comfort food, once only available in restaurants, has become increasingly popular with home cooks. The blank slate of comfort foods, you can add any combination of ingredients to the basic recipe, making it a first course, side dish or main dish. Adding seasonal ingredients is always gratifying - greens in the spring, squash and mushrooms in the fall and winter.

One of our favorite risottos features butternut squash, pancetta and plenty of earthy mushrooms. Our recipe calls for fresh mushrooms, but you could use a dried wild mix, rehydrated in water. Using the hydrating liquid for part of the chicken stock, adds great depth of flavor to the dish. Don’t have pancetta? Substitute bacon. You can also make this dish vegan or vegetarian by leaving out the meat altogether and substituting vegetable stock for the chicken stock. Prepare to spend some time, about 30 minutes, stirring this dish to get it nice and creamy and the rice al dente. Open up a bottle of Fog Crest Vineyard Estate Chardonnay or Pinot Noir, pour a glass, put on some music. It’s all good!


Butternut Squash Mushroom Risotto - Comfort Food - Fog Crest Vineyard

2 cups butternut squash, peeled and diced
6 cups chicken stock
4 ozs pancetta, diced
2 tbsps olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
4 tbsps butter
1 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
2 tsps minced garlic
2 tbsps fresh thyme
4 ozs shitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
8 ozs crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Pre-heat oven to 400°.
Toss squash with 1 T. of oil and place on greased cookie sheet – roast
20 minutes till just tender. Set aside.
In medium pan, melt 2 T. butter. Add mushrooms and cook till browned and liquid evaporates.
Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
In large saucepan, heat chicken stock over low heat and keep warm.
In large pan heat 1 T. olive oil and cook pancetta till browned. Add onion and sauté till soft. Add rice and stir for 2 minutes. Add wine and simmer till absorbed.  Add 1 cup of warmed stock and stir until absorbed. Continue adding stock and stirring until rice is “al dente” tender. Stir in thyme, squash and mushrooms, another ½ cup of stock, cheese and 2 T. butter, salt and pepper to taste. 
Serves 6 as a side dish



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