When summer is just a memory, fall rolls around and brings with it colorful trees and leaves, shortened days, and cooler nights. This is also the time of year when you can find a great variety of food flavors, new products, and delicious Italian fall recipes to warm up your days.
One key ingredient in the Italian kitchen at this time of the year is risotto, and Italians have several varieties to choose from: other than the most common Arborio, a medium-length, round-grained rice, you can pick other fairly good varieties such as: Carnaroli, a medium-grain rice traditionally used for making risotto; Baldo a thick, short-grain type that is used to make either creamy risotto-type dishes or any other recipe; and Vialone Nano, a medium-large, semi-long, round-grain type which is much faster to cook than Arborio or Carnaroli. After choosing the variety you like the most you can add any seasonal ingredients: pumpkin, cauliflower, mushrooms, pomegranate, broccoli, or fennel. Squash is the best choice if you crave a sweet and delicate flavor; mushrooms are a good decision if you are looking for a rich, hearty, and savory taste; and you might never have thought, but pomegranate can also enhance your risotto, with its tart and tangy flavor.
Colorful food, tasty, and healthy produce are the ingredients to prepare a delicious Italian fall recipe! The Select Italy team selected 10 dishes to warm up your chilly fall evenings. And, since an Italian meal is not complete without wine, our friend Viktorija Todorovska, accredited sommelier and book writer, suggested the perfect wine pairings! Buon appetito!
1) Pumpkin Risotto
Pumpkin, Carnaroli rice, and unsalted butter: these are the main ingredients to prepare one of the most common and typical Italian fall recipes. The orange color of the squash is a seasonal shade. Try it with the variety that you prefer, according to the flavor you want to give to your meal.
Suggested Wine Pairing – Ricci Curbastro Franciacorta Saten Brut: this delightful sparker made purely from Chardonnay is the perfect complement to the creamy dish and the natural sweetness of pumpkin. The wine is elegant and sophisticated, adding dimension to the risotto.
2) Pomegranate Risotto
Now is season to use this amazing fruit in your recipes. If you do not know whether you want a sweet or savory meal, you may choose to go for this extravagant dish, made with the Vialone Nano rice variety and pomegranate seeds, to provide extra color and taste to your dinner!
Suggested Wine Pairing – Vajra Langhe Freisa: a fresh and lively wine for the bright flavors of pomegranate. The structure and acidity of the wine match the richness of risotto, the bright cherry flavors complementing the pomegranate. A match that spells happiness on any fall day.
3) Risotto with Mushrooms and Hazelnuts
A creamy and delicate risotto is lovely during the mushroom season! Choose the right rice, in this case we suggest the Vialone Nano type, and add the famous porcini mushrooms and freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese. We guarantee an exquisite and savory flavor, 100% Made in Italy!
Suggested Wine Pairing – Giorgio Odero Frecciarossa Pinto Nero: the rich, smooth, harmonious wine is the perfect match for the richness and decadence of the dish. The tannins of the wine refresh the palate from the strong flavors of mushrooms, and the slight spiciness of the Pinot Nero adds complexity and interest to the whole meal.
4) Risotto al Balsamico
Among the great variety of ingredients you can use to cook up your risotto, you can’t forget balsamic vinegar. You can choose any of the different varieties of this ingredient — all of them can be used to prepare a simple, flavorful Italian dish.
Suggested Wine Pairing – Tommasi Valpolicella Ripasso: the rich, round, and luscious Tommasi Valpolicella Ripasso meets the rich and decadent risotto with a touch of sweetness from the balsamic vinegar. The sweet cherry flavor and spiciness of the wine helps the simple yet elegant dish sing.
5) Red Wine Risotto with Gorgonzola and Pears
Some of the most traditional Italian ingredients are used to prepare this dish: cheese, wine, and rice. This is a ideal way to treat yourself during the chilly and relaxing fall nights. Try it with the perfect Italian wine, and you will definitely love it!
Suggested Wine Pairing – Scacciadiavoli Sagrantino di Montefalco: powerful, yet sensual, this wine of great personality and character is a perfect match for the strong flavor and creaminess of Gorgonzola. The balsamic flavors of the wines match the character of the dish, each sip enhancing the food and creating a sensual experience on the palate.
6) Pasta with Mushroom Ragu
The main product of the Italian tradition, pasta, has to be a part of these Italian fall recipes. As you may know, Italians use a wide variety of pasta sauces and ingredients to pair with their meal. You may know the famous “Pasta al Ragu” (Bolognese sauce), but we want to show you a new delicate idea: “Bucatini or Spaghetti with Mushroom Ragu.” It is a way to taste a different flavor, a new sauce made with typical and seasonal ingredients.
Suggested Wine Pairing – Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco: mushroom ragu is rich and earthy, a perfect match for the earthiness of some of Piemonte’s best wines. The Barbaresco produced by this legendary producer is medium-bodied, with the typically aromas of red fruits, mushroom, and truffle. The wine and the dish engage in a perfect dance on the palate.
7) Wild Mushroom Soup
Do you want to warm up your cooling evening night with a low-calorie, appetizing, and nutritious meal? We’ve got you covered! This Wild Mushroom Soup is flavorful, easy to prepare, and rich in vitamins and minerals, thanks to the mushrooms’ nutritious properties. So if you love this ingredient, this is the right season and time to try this new dish.
Suggested Wine Pairing – Rontana Sangiovese di Romagna: this fruity and lively wine is the perfect match for the rich fall soup. The wine’s earthiness brings out the wild mushroom flavor and the fruit aromas and acidity make the soup taste fresher and brighter.
8) Rigatoni with Spiced Broccoli and Cauliflower
This recipe is an alternate vegetarian version of the Italian “Pasta alla Carbonara.” It is an easy-to-make dish, made with broccoli and cauliflower, both packed with nutrients and vitamins. These veggies are typical of this season and when mixed with the right ingredients, can be a flavorful and healthy choice for your meals. Do you still want to meet the needs of meat eaters? No worries! You can always add some Italian salami or prosciutto to the basic recipe!
Suggested Wine Pairing – Zuani Vigne Collio Bianco: this fresh, yet rich and characterful wine is the perfect match for the dish, which is fresh-tasting yet rich. The softness and complexity of the wine soothes the palate from the spice of the dish and the and the acidity cleanses the palate, preparing it for the next tasty bite.
9) Fennel Gratin
Fennel bulbs are a good option for your meal from fall to spring. You can eat them in many ways, depending on your needs, tastes, and time. It pairs with various meats, but you can always keep it vegetarian as a delicate and special entree.
Suggested Wine Pairing – Don Giovani Vermentino di Sardegna Cantina di Mogoro: There are very few wines that pair well with fennel, a vegetable full of personality. The Don Giovani Vermentino di Sardegna is just mellow and fruity enough to do so, yet rich enough to match the body of the gratin. Tastiness in every sip.
10) Gnocchetti Sardi With Sausage and Saffron
This short pasta variety, Gnocchetti Sardi, or Malloredus, is typical of the island of Sardinia. It pairs with many sauces, depending on the time of the year and personal taste. For this fall, we are glad to share with you this is warm dish with the bold flavor of sausage, which is then balanced by the saffron’s aroma.
Suggested Wine Pairing – Argiolas Costera Cannonau di Sardegna: This well-structured and smooth red from Sardinia’s iconic grape, Cannonau (Grenache) is a perfect match for the flavorful pasta with sausage, an iconic Sardinian dish. The wine and the pasta both delight the palate with rich flavors and transport you to this magical island.
Are you ready to cook and taste these Italian fall recipes? Now it’s your turn, so roll up your sleeves and enjoy your time while trying various dishes using the best seasonal ingredients to add new flavors and colors to your meal!