Coffee Risotto with Capers and Scallops

Ever since cooking pasta in coffee a while back, it has been in the back of my mind to do a risotto with coffee. For some reason, I never got around to it, until I saw a recipe for coffee risotto in Food and Wine a month or two ago. As much as I love arborio rice for risotto, I think that pearled barley has officially become my favorite! It cooks up with a perfect bite, and is so creamy and flavorful. This recipe is super delicious, I liked the chef’s creative use of salty capers to cut the creamy bitterness of the risotto.

Of course, I had to make a few changes in the recipe to make it mine. Here we start with some onions sauteed in olive oil. Next the Barley goes in and is stirred until every grain is coated with the oil and it almost starts to toast in the pan.

Coffee next. I just used a small cup from my favorite coffee shop.

After the coffee mostly simmers off, start adding the hot veggie stock 1 or 2 ladles at a time, stirring often.

In the meantime, sear a few scallops.

Chop the capers for garnish.

When the risotto is the perfect texture, nice and creamy with some bite left in the grains, shut off the heat and add parm and cream.

So good! I devoured this meal.

If I made it again, I would probably add a little more coffee! I added more than was in the recipe, but I felt that the coffee flavor was a bit muted and only added slight flavor and background bitterness.

Either way, it was awesome and I would make it again for sure! Can’t wait to eat the leftovers for lunch today.

The recipe that I loosely followed is on the F&W website

Mine was one medium/small onion in olive oil, followed by 2 cups of barley. Next, 1 small dark coffee followed by 1 tablespoon of a good quality instant coffee (I like the Starbucks kind, just use the whole packet) Then I added veg stock slowly until it was cooked, stirring often, about a half hour. Finished it with 1/4 cup of parm, and 3/4 cup of light cream. Top with salted capers(not brined) and some seared scallops.


  1. Have you thought of using cold brewed coffee for this dish? it would have a more pronounced coffee flavor with less of the bitterness.

  2. I must say the combination doesn’t sound appealing…coffee and capers? But I trust you. The scallops looked perfect.

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