If this time of year your days aren't filled with a variety of holiday appetizers, charcuterie boards, and finger foods, then it's time to make a change! Around here we are all about having plenty of snacks during the holidays. Even this year while we are having socially distanced gatherings, or virtual celebrations, it's important to still have all the things around that make the holidays truly special - and we of course mean food and drinks! And that means Parmesan Risotto and Mushroom Ragù Phyllo Cup Bites!
We have partnered with 90+ Cellars this month for another fantastic pairing! This month we are highlighting two Italian sparkling wines: the Lot 50 Prosecco and Lot 189 Reserve Prosecco Valdobbiadene Superiore.
We definitely have a ton of bubbly flowing during the holidays and Prosecco pairs so nicely with a variety of appetizers and desserts. For this pairing we chose to make a mouth-watering bite that will keep you coming back to the platter all evening! These Parmesan Risotto and Mushroom Ragu Phyllo Cup Bites are perfect for the season or all year around.
How to Make Parmesan Risotto and Mushroom Ragù Phyllo Cup Bites
These phyllo cup bites combine a few of our favorite things, and sharing a few of our favorite things is most appropriate this time of the year! These things include parmesan risotto and mushrooms cooked in wine!
Let's break this dish down...
Risotto is an amazing dish – absolutely delectable if cooked correctly. But every time (I mean EVERY time) I make it there is extra. That is probably because I love it so much! I make more than enough but that’s OK…it is tremendous the next day!
There are many ways to use it as a “leftover,” but I think we found the ultimate way to use risotto – and these Parmesan Risotto and Mushroom Ragù Phyllo Cup Bites are so good I’d make risotto just to have this dish! But just eating them on their own is half of the experience.
What cheese should I use in the risotto?
The risotto for this dish is really a basic cheese risotto. And by “cheese” I mean Parmigiano-Reggiano – the real stuff. This cheese is the king of cheeses and by no means “basic,” but this risotto is absolutely perfect if the real cheese is used.
Try to find the real stuff, most grocery stores carry it, but if you cannot, go ahead and buy any block of parmesan. Just do us a favor and avoid that powdery, crumbly, dry stuff that comes in a green plastic container - you all know what we are talking about here. Don't do it!
What type of rice should I buy?
For the rice, I have a strong opinion as to what is the best, but the second best is a close (and widely available) second, so it is safe to say, you’ll be able to find what you need.
- Carnaroli rice is the absolute best risotto rice you can use. When I see it available in a store, I buy some if I need it or not! (Amazon has it, so that is really not an issue…).
- Arborio rice is a close second and most commonly used for risotto, but I can assure you that the texture of Carnaroli is better.
Tips for making the risotto
Making the risotto is not as hard as many people think, but it definitely isn’t a “fire and forget” dish. It must be stirred constantly as you cook it. This prevents the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan or burning. This also helps to ensure even cooking and absorption of the liquids by the rice.
Additionally, you need to add stock, we use chicken or vegetable stock, 1-2 ladles full at a time, until the rice cooks completely. This takes about 20-30 minutes on medium-low heat.
Unlike so many other rice dishes, the starch is your friend. I’ve heard more than one person ask how much cream was put in the dish to make it that creamy. None is the answer – the starch in the rice does all the work and some added butter intensifies the richness.
Once the rice is cooked completely (it should be slightly al dente, meaning it will have a slight bite and shouldn't be crunchy or too mushy), you then add a little bit of butter and the parmesan cheese. And Voila! At this point, the risotto can be covered and you can remove it from the heat until you are ready to eat it, or use it to make these Phyllo Cup Bites.
What is Phyllo?
Now to the phyllo (or filo). This is a thin flaky dough that is often layered and used for desserts or pastries. The Greek word means "leaf" and the dough is made without incorporating a fat (think butter) into it, giving it a distinct texture.
The process of making phyllo from scratch is akin to making homemade croissants or homemade puff pastry in our opinion. Yes, a lot of work and technique. Not that we are against doing this part from scratch (knock yourself out, by all means).
Most grocery stores have quite tasty premade phyllo cups in the frozen section of the grocery store. We prefer these over making them from scratch. These little cups are the perfect size for appetizers and are ready in minutes in an oven/toaster oven.
Let’s just assume you do the same, but if you are a pastry chef, an awesome baker or very adventurous, then make your cups large enough to hold about a tablespoon+ of risotto.
The Mushroom Ragù
Risotto in a phyllo cup isn’t enough (well, it is, but…) for an amazing bite-sized appetizer. The topping to this that makes it sing is a mushroom ragù. Thinly sliced mushrooms sautéed in olive oil, butter, garlic, parsley, and some white wine, then cooked down to be an ultimate topping to this appetizer…perfection.
I’ve served this to numerous people who range from “I really don’t like mushrooms” to “I won’t eat mushrooms” and they all loved this. No joke! When someone says “I don’t like…” then I feel personally challenged to fix their inner 6-year-old (unless they are actually a 6-year-old, then I let it go).
Trust us, this is amazing. Paired with an amazing glass of 90+ Prosecco and you have the perfect cocktail appetizer. Buon appetito!
90+ Cellars Prosecco
Let's talk a bit more about Prosecco. First, you may be in the group of people who are wondering, what even is Prosecco? Prosecco is an Italian sparkling wine made from Glera grapes that is fantastic to drink on its own, or can be combined with fruit juice or other spirits to make fun and delicious cocktails. The two Prosecco wines that we are featuring for this month's wine and food pairing are the Lot 50 Prosecco and Lot 189 Reserve Prosecco Valdobbiadene Superiore.
Lot 50 Prosecco: This Prosecco is the perfect sparkling wine to enjoy over brunch or pair with lovely appetizers or desserts. With aromas of fresh peaches, ginger and lilac, and flavors of crisp citrus fruit, this is the perfect sparkling wine for easy drinking and enjoying all the holiday goodies.
Lot 189 Reserve Prosecco Valdobbiadene Superiore. For something a bit fancier, this reserve Prosecco is sure to delight your wine enthusiast friends or casual imbibers alike! We absolutely adore this refined Prosecco and how it elevates our featured appetizer - the Parmesan Risotto and Mushroom Ragù Phyllo Cup Bites. This Prosecco is floral with citrus notes and livens up your tastebuds with every sip! This would make a great option for a New Year's celebration as well.
We hope you enjoyed this month's food and wine pairing for the holiday season! We hope you give our tasty Parmesan Risotto and Mushroom Ragù Phyllo Cup Bites a try, especially with a glass of 90+ Cellars Prosecco!
If you try these out, leave us a comment and rate the recipe below. And if you make these, share your photos with us by tagging us on Instagram @cooking_with_wine!
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