Mushroom risotto will make most wines taste delicious. In general, it’s especially good with earthier reds, like Pinot Noir or Nebbiolo, or fuller-bodied whites, like lightly oaked Chardonnay or Pinot Gris.
It’s the dish to make if you have a special bottle of, say, Barolo or Barbaresco from Piedmont or of red or white Burgundy (made from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, respectively). The dish will show off these complex wines without distracting from them.
That said, mushroom risotto will likely make your less-than-stellar wines taste better than they are. With that in mind, here’s a cheapskate dinner party trick: Pour your $10 Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chianti or Chardonnay into a pretty, unlabeled carafe. Make a mushroom risotto, and presto: your wine will seem like it’s twice the price.
Kristin Donnelly is a former Food & Wine editor and author of the forthcoming The Modern Potluck (Clarkson Potter, 2016). She is also the cofounder of Stewart & Claire, an all-natural line of lip balms made in Brooklyn.