White risotto with coffee powder and Pantelleria capers

Le Calandre
Chef: Massimiliano Alajmo
Country: Italy
City: 35030 Sarmeola di Rubano (Pádua)
Address: Via Liguria, 1
(+39) 049630303

Just as we can assert that Massimiliano Alajmo is the primus inter pares of pasta chefs without any risk of being wrong, he is also among the world’s elite in risottos. Despite his youth, he created his two magnum opuses a few years ago and has not been able to outdo them, even though he finds himself in a permanent state of grace. The reason: it is a virtually impossible feat, given the eminence of the antecedents. Equally great, and greatly equal are the saffron risotto with licorice powder and the white risotto with coffee powder and capers; to such an extreme that a day could come in which the kitchen and the diner would have to be the thing to mark the difference.

Both are rooted in a minimalist style. Both offer radical flavor counterpoints in incredible harmony. Flavors of licorice powder—sprinkled onto the plate—and capers—finely chopped and spread out over the grain—despite their potency, they end up balanced and always secondary to the rice, which fully retains its sapid identity. Thus, we have here a rice dish with subtle and balanced originality. The intrinsic quality of the main ingredient, the uniform cooking evident in the grain and the evenness of the sauce contribute to the perfection of this imaginative risotto.

The Recipe