In today’s Pairing column, which combines succulent duck meatballs with Pali 2010 Sonoma Coast Riviera Vineyard Pinot Noir, I suggest that maiktake risotto is a great match, too. Indeed, you can serve the risotto with both the pinot and the meatballs for a sensational meal.

You’ll find my recipe for Maitake Mushroom Risotto here.

Don't chop specialty mushrooms, as you'll interfere with their pleasing texture. Instead, tear them into bite-sized pieces, as has been done here with maitakes.

Maitake mushrooms look a bit like earthy bouquets.

Maitake mushrooms, also known as Hen of the Woods, are available at year-round farmers markets in Santa Rosa and Sonoma and at the seasonal markets that will begin to open in mid-spring. They are also sometimes available at local supermarkets such as Oliver’s.