Artist's Palate: Gaetano Pesce's risotto al caffé

Gaetano Pesce’s risotto al caffé
‘Sessantuna’ table, £19,020, by Gaetano Pesce, for Cassina. Large resin bowl, £700, by Gaetano Pesce, for Meritalia, from Mint. ’Pompidou’ bowl, €350, by Gaetano Pesce, from Noleggiocose. ‘Allegro’ fork, €9, by Herdmar
(Image credit: Gustav Almestål)

Coffee and rice may seem unlikely culinary partners, but in the unconventional mind of architect/designer Gaetano Pesce, they are a perfect match – for breakfast. It’s no surprise that this risotto al caffé recipe is of Pesce’s own devising. Like his imaginative works that blur the boundaries of design and art, this dish articulates (and perhaps satisfies) both sides of his Italian-born, New York-based character. ‘The recipe doesn’t pretend to be sophisticated or upscale,’ he says. ‘I never published it; it is something I thought of in the 1970s and at that time I tested it with very good results.’

Ingredients (serves 1)
10g olive oil
5g finely minced shallot
50g Piedmontese rice
1/2 (half) glass white wine
3 1/2 cups boiled American coffee
1 tsp concentrated vegetable broth
10g freshly grated Parmesan

In a medium pan, cook the shallot in the oil for three minutes, then add the rice and toast for a further three minutes, stirring constantly. Add the wine and stir until evaporated, then add half a cup of coffee and stir until almost completely absorbed. Continue cooking the rice, adding the coffee and broth. Stir constantly, allowing each addition of coffee to absorb before adding the next, for about 15-17 minutes, until the rice is al dente and hazel brown. Remove from the heat, add the Parmesan and stir for about three minutes until creamy. Cover the pan for two minutes, then serve.


Photography: Gustav Almestål. Interiors: Maria Sobrino. Food: Val McArthur

Pei-Ru Keh is a former US Editor at Wallpaper*. Born and raised in Singapore, she has been a New Yorker since 2013. Pei-Ru held various titles at Wallpaper* between 2007 and 2023. She reports on design, tech, art, architecture, fashion, beauty and lifestyle happenings in the United States, both in print and digitally. Pei-Ru took a key role in championing diversity and representation within Wallpaper's content pillars, actively seeking out stories that reflect a wide range of perspectives. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children, and is currently learning how to drive.