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Butternut Squash Risotto

Time:2018-11-19 23:40wine - Red wine life health Click:

Risotto Butternut Squash

Today we share a vegetarian recipe for Butternut Squash Risotto along with a discussion of the special place Sonoma has in our wine story. November’s Wine Pairing Weekend theme focuses on our gratitude for wine regions that have struggled with fire in recent years. As we share this, our thoughts are with those in California struggle with new fires that have broken out over the past few days.

Vegetarian Butternut Squash Risotto recipe pairs well with a white wine from Sonoma. #vegetarian #risotto #winepairing

Little did we know when Gwendolyn suggested this month’s theme “Together We Rise” that some more devastating fires would break out in California on the eve of today’s Wine Pairing Weekend event. As of this writing, the Sonoma region I’m focusing on hasn’t been hit this time, but the recent outbreak reminds us of the fragility of California wine regions.

Sonoma Strong after the fires.

Photo © Jeff Burrows, foodwineclick. Used with permission. 

Today I am simply pairing one Sonoma wine with our Butternut Squash Risotto recipe, but I want to start by saying a bit more about Sonoma, as Jodi and I have fond memories of visits to the region.

In the early days of my journey into the world of wine, there was an annual conference in the Bay Area that I would attend for my day job. Given my budding interest in wine and my love for hiking, I’d typically try to add on a few days to the trip — and up to a week if Jodi was able to come too!

One of our very first winery visits was to Ravenswood‘s winery in Sonoma. I know, they are a big brand now, not the kind of small producer we gravitate to in the #winePW blogger circle. But someone pour in the tasting room that November day we visited really to the time to share his passions for the wines, and teach us about the characteristics of the grapes involved, etc.

Fast forward a few years, we had a trip planned piggybacking on the same conference for the fall of 2001. Just a few weeks after planes returned to the skies after the horrific 9/11 attacks, we decided we wouldn’t be deterred from our visit to Sonoma. Fitting for our “Together we rise” theme!

Sonoma Wine Country

Sonoma wine country photo © Jeff Burrows, foodwineclick. 

We had taken advantage of the new Internet technology to book a B & B that looked great in the photos. Alas, the concept of user reviews hadn’t been established, so we were dismayed to see how close to a major road that idyllic room from the listing was. We spent one night listening to trucks rumble by, then packed up to find something quieter.

So glad we didn’t stay in that first place! We headed toward the coast and found a simple place in a great location, right at the mouth of the Russian River. I believe it was the Jenner Inn. We loved bringing our day’s wine and cheese finds back to the little balcony to watch the sunset over the Pacific, as seals frolicked in the river.

We visited quite a few wineries that trip, but the most memorable was hanging out at Sunce Winery, which makes a wide variety of quality wines based on the founder’s Serb – Croatian roots. The husband and wife team that owns the winery alternated between winery tasks and hanging with us to sample the product!

Butternut Squash Risotto

Butternut Squash Risotto on a plate.

Today’s Butternut Squash Risotto recipe landed on our menu with a different wine pairing in mind.

As you can see, I have fond memories of Sonoma, so it’s a natural focus for today’s #winePW theme. However, I was thinking I still had a Napa Merlot on hand to be opened following last month’s #MerlotMe themed Wine Pairing Weekend.

With Merlot in mind, I sought to make a non-meat centric dish to go with the bold red wine, for a change of pace. Several of my fellow #winePW bloggers reminded me that squash and Merlot go nicely together, and that set me in the direction of Butternut Squash Risotto.

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