2008 Antinori Orvieto Classico Campogrande

I'm wondering, at this point, if the names of these Italian wines could possibly get any longer? According to my Wine Bible, Italians drink an average of 14.51 gallons of wine per person per year! (That's bigger than my car's gas tank, in case you were wondering.) Perhaps they spend their siestas lounging around the vineyards and drunkenly coming up with these exceptionally long titles for each bottle of wine. I can only imagine . . .

The wine I chose for this week is from the region of Umbria, which is right next door to Tuscany and smack dab in the middle of the country. It is also the home of St. Francis of Assisi:

It is an Orvieto, and is the most popular wine produced and imported from Umbria.

2008 Antinori Orvieto Classico Campogrande ($10.99 at BevMo):

This wine is light, crisp, fruity, and delicious. It's the type of wine that you would want to sip on a summer day while staring out at the ocean. For only three dollars more, it is a lot better than the Soave I tried a few weeks ago, and is made by Antinori, one of the major wine producers throughout all of Italy. It doesn't actually need to be paired with anything because it tastes great on its own, but my roommate and I paired it with my lazy woman's version of chicken and artichoke risotto. I will admit that in doing so, I was conducting a bit of an experiment. My Wine Bible claims that artichokes and wine do not a happy marriage make. It says that artichokes contain an acid called cynarin, and cynarin makes everything consumed after it taste sweet. I wondered if the artichokes in my risotto recipe would have the same effect on the Orvieto, and it turns out that they did make it taste a little bit sweeter and a bit more pronounced. I don't know if I would necessarily pair these two together again, but I would certainly have the wine or the risotto on its own, individually.

The Lazy Woman's Version of Chicken and Artichoke Risotto

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
8 oz. crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/4 cup dry, white cooking wine
crushed black pepper to taste
2 chicken breasts chopped into bite-size pieces
1 cup brown rice
2 cups chicken broth
10 oz. jar Roasted Red Pepper and Artichoke Tapenade (from Trader Joe's)
1/3 cup parmesan cheese

Begin by sauteeing garlic, red onion, and red pepper in olive oil until they begin to soften. Add the crimini mushrooms, white wine, and pepper and allow it all to simmer until the mushrooms have shrunk down and are fully cooked.

Toss in the chicken pieces and allow them to brown on each side. Next, add the brown rice and keep the heat on relatively high so that the rice can start to soak up all the liquid from the mushrooms and the wine. Keep stirring everything freqently until all the liquid has been absorbed. Add the chicken broth, wait until it comes to a boil, and then cover and cook on low heat for about 40-45 minutes.

After the timer goes off, check the rice to again make sure it has absorbed all the liquid. If there is any liquid remaining, turn the heat up a little higher and keep the lid off, stirring everything until all the liquid is gone. Then take the pan off the heat and add the tapenade.

Sir until everything is evening combined, then add the parmesan cheese. It should have a creamy consistency and look just like a regular risotto. Buon appetito!