Red Dog Ranch in Winter 2002
To all of our family and friends
near and far,
we wish you the Happiest of Holidays!
Tom, Debbie, and Honey
“The children are nestled all snug in their beds,
while visions of pruning…”
As another year comes to a close, the task of pruning for optimum growth looms on the horizon. We have had sufficient cold spells so that the vines are deep in their winter’s sleep. We can now begin to discuss our plans for pruning the vineyard in preparation for bud break in March. More on that later because…
…during the Holidays we rest, and reflect on the people and moments of our lives that have made the past year special, and we look forward to the new year.
Wishing everyone health, happiness and lots of good cheer for 2012!
If you have spent anytime with my people you will already know that Dad is the king of risotto! A comfort food extraordinaire…just right for a cold winter’s eve when the wind is howling and the fire crackling. Many times they have opened up the fridge and said “We have some X and Y…let’s make risotto!” That one can substitute ingredients with a few adjustments is as Dad says “A thing of beauty.” Instead of leeks and pancetta, you might use butternut squash and portabello mushrooms, or English peas and morel mushrooms, or salmon, roasted corn and carmelized onions. The sky’s the limit. It does take a little bit of extra effort but I assure you that it is well worth the time. Bon appetit!
Cindy Pawlcyn, the owner of Napa Valley’s new Brassica calls her executive chef, Darren McRonald, “the best risotto chef in the United States.” We might question such high praise if we hadn’t sampled McRonald’s leek and pancetta risotto. The dish, which appears seasonally at Brassica, is both creamy and surprisingly light. Plus, the addition of a fried egg on top is a genius touch.
Leek and Pancetta Risotto with Fried Egg
Recipe adapted from Cindy Pawlcyn and Darren McRonald, Brassica, St. Helena, CA
Yield: 6 servings
Cook Time: 40 minutes
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 leeks, cleaned well and finely chopped
1 cup finely chopped pancetta
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
½ cup finely chopped yellow onion
3 cups Arborio rice
⅓ cup dry white wine; at room temperature
5 to 6 cups hot chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
6 large eggs (optional)
1. In a medium skillet set over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add the leeks and cook until soft, about 2 minutes. Remove the leeks to a bowl and set aside. In the same pan, add the pancetta and cook until it begins to render its fat and is soft but not dried out or crispy, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the pancetta to the reserved leeks. Set aside.