Coffee, beer and rice: Try the risotto dish that Stanley Tucci called a “revelation”

Editor’s Note – Don’t miss “Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy,” airing Sundays at 9 p.m. ET. Tucci travels Italy to discover the secrets and delights of the country’s regional cuisines.
(CNN) — Piedmont, a region in northwest Italy, is synonymous with risotto. And the beating heart of this culinary tradition is the town of Vercelli, where risotto, restaurants specializing in risotto, are everywhere. One of the best places to try it in Italy’s rice capital is tucked away in the back of a 1960s tourist hotel, called Hotel Cinzia. Restaurant Christian and Manuel is run by two brothers who give this dish a modern touch.

Christian and Manuel Costardi’s signature version is a risotto with Grana Padano cream, beer and coffee reduction. It’s supposed to taste like cappuccino or tiramisu, but risotto, all in one dish. The menu features a selection of 20 risottos, according to the Michelin Guide, and the owners’ chefs’ unique dishes have earned them a Michelin star.

Inspired by Andy Warhol’s “Campbell’s Soup Cans”, the Costardi brothers playfully serve risotto in individual metal cans.

“It completely changes everything I thought about risotto,” Stanley Tucci said as he watched the dish being prepared during an episode of “Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy.” “It’s a revelation. It’s a thousand things in one box. Wow!”
Tucci’s first introduction to risotto was his mother’s Milanese risotto, featured in “The Tucci cookbookFor rice, he recommends looking for brands marked Carnaroli superfine. If that’s not available, buy an Arborio or Vialone Nano superfine rice, which can be found in most supermarkets.

Tucci says there are two important steps to remember when making risotto:

“First, before adding liquid, make sure to heat the rice well,” he writes in his cookbook. “This will seal the rice grains and prevent them from overcooking. Second, test the rice for the desired texture after it has cooked for 12-15 minutes. The risotto can be served al dente, with a slight crispiness to the bite-sized, or with a softer consistency – the choice is yours…. Don’t overcook the risotto or it will turn into a paste.

Risotto with Grana Padano cream, beer and coffee reduction

(Risotto with Crema di Grana Padano, Riduzione di Birra and Caffè)

Reuse four clean soup cans for serving or use plates if you prefer. If you want to make your own vegetable broth, make it ahead of time. The Costardis suggest incorporating celery, carrot and lightly charred onion into the broth.

At Christian and Manuel, the Costardis use sea salt from Cervia, on the Adriatic coast, and black pepper from Sarawak, which you can find in specialty stores or online if you want to try them.

Makes 4 servings


4 cups | 1 liter of blond beer

3.5 ounces + ½ ounce | 100 grams + 15 grams Grana Padano (similar to Parmigiano Reggiano cheese), aged 27 months, freshly grated

1 cup | ¼ liter whipped cream

1 ¼ cup | 300 grams of Carnaroli rice

Sea salt (medium coarse)

Freshly ground black pepper

About 12 ½ cups | 3 liters store-bought vegetable stock, plus more if needed

1/3 cup | 25 grams cold unsalted butter

Ground coffee, preferably Arabica


Jam funnel (if served in cans)


1. First, start preparing the beer reduction. Put the beer in a large saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low heat and let the beer reduce until the consistency resembles a soft caramel, about 45 minutes. As the beer reduces, the alcohol evaporates and the remaining liquid has a concentration of flavor in which the spicy notes are enhanced. Remove from heat and let cool (best to do this the day before; once cooled, refrigerate overnight in an airtight container).

2. Prepare the Grana Padano cream. Using a cheese grater or microplane, grate 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of Grana Padano. Heat the cream in a saucepan over medium heat to 158 degrees Fahrenheit (70 degrees Celsius) and add the Grana Padano. Whip cream with a whisk until smooth, maintaining temperature at 100 F (40 C). At higher temperatures, there is a risk of not obtaining a homogeneous cream. If the cream is not smooth, strain it through a sieve and simmer at 100 F (40 C).

3. Proceed to prepare the risotto. In a risotto pot, dry-toast the rice over medium heat, shaking the pot and stirring the rice, until it sings, 2 to 3 minutes. Don’t let the rice burn. Add a pinch of salt and a grate of pepper. Continue cooking over high heat and gradually add the vegetable broth, stirring continuously after each addition and allowing the rice to absorb it. Cook, stirring constantly, until the rice is al dente with a light bite in the center of the grain, 15 to 20 minutes. The risotto should have a creamy texture. Check the taste and remove from heat. Add the cold butter and the remaining 15 grams of Grana Padano to the pan and shake, using a wave motion (see video), to incorporate them into the rice.

4. If you are serving in cans: Put a pinch of coffee grounds and a few drops of beer reduction in the bottom of the can. Using a jam funnel, add the rice, Grana Padano cream, coffee grounds and beer reduction.

5. If you are using plates: Divide the risotto on each plate, add the Grana Padano cream, sprinkle with coffee grounds and finish with the beer reduction.

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