Risotto With Coffee and Mushrooms

I love making risotto when friends and family come to visit.  Although it requires time and some stirring, it works beautifully for special occasions and small parties.  Risotto with mixed mushrooms or porcini mushrooms is a classic Italian dish served in central and northern regions when mushrooms are in season.  I add espresso, which adds complexity to the dish and makes it more contemporary.

Chef it Up:  Once you master this dish, you can quickly fry a small amount of capers and add to the finished dish for some added texture and complexity.

Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 8 cups vegetable, chicken, or beef stock
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onions or shallots
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 12 ounces mixed mushrooms, such as cremini, shiitake or chanterelle
  • 2 cups Carnaroli or Arborio rice
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon espresso  powder
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits
  • ½ cup freshly grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano Reggiano

Instructions

  1. Bring the stock to a simmer in a saucepan.  
  2. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat and add the olive oil.  When the skillet is hot, add the onions and cook until they soften, about 3-4 minutes. 
  3. Add the mushrooms and season with salt to taste.  Cook for about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are wilted and golden.
  4. Add the rice and stir until it’s coated with the oil.  Pour in the wine and cook, stirring, until it is absorbed – about 1 to 2 minutes.  
  5. Ladle in enough hot stock to cover the rice and adjust the heat so the risotto is simmering.  Continue to cook until all the liquid is absorbed, stirring periodically.
  6. Continue to add hot stock in small batches so that you are just covering the risotto, and cook until each successive batch has been absorbed.  Continue until the rice is creamy but still al dente.  The cooking time for this dish is approximately 18 minutes.
  7. Once your risotto is al dente, stir in the espresso power so that it dissolves. 
  8. Remove from heat and vigorously stir in the butter until it’s absorbed. Sprinkle with the grated cheese and stir quickly so that all is incorporated. 
  9. Season with additional salt if needed, and serve the risotto in shallow bowls.