Ben’s Cognac Risotto


We belong to a Supper Club with two other couples.  Each month we rotate hosting duties and each of the six members cooks a dish that fits that particular month’s theme.  We end up eating six awesome dishes each time we meet!  January’s Supper Club meeting was at our house,  with the theme being “alcohol.”  Each person chose a different alcohol and had to make a dish using their booze of choice.  The Mr. chose cognac and made this risotto. Risotto is a particular favorite of ours that requires a bit of time and attention to make well.  The combination of flavors in this dish really complimented each other and tasted amazing.  Supper Club was a perfect opportunity to make this recipe since this is not a dish that the kids would enjoy.  They both really dislike mushrooms even though are exposed to them every time it’s in a meal at home. For us, though, the umami of the mushrooms brought an extra comforting dimension to the richness of the chewy rice and cheese. The flavor of the cognac wasn’t overpowering and was one that we usually wouldn’t think of adding. Alcohol isn’t on our regular ingredient list for food, but it should be. Also, we probably should have made more risotto. There was only one lonely serving in the fridge after everyone left. We would definitely make this again.

Ben’s Cognac Risotto
Recipe very slightly adapted from Foodnetwork.com, courtesy of The Gambaro Family


  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 15 small Portobello mushrooms– cleaned, trimmed and quartered
  • 2/3 cups cognac
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 7 cups vegetable stock (we used Better Than Bouillon, which we featured recently in this “Friday Favorites” post)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 medium shallots, peeled and minced
  • 1 3/4 cups arborio rice
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and saute until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add cognac, bring to a boil, and reduce the liquid by half, 3 to 4 minutes. Lower the heat to medium, add cream and simmer 5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and set aside. Bring the stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons butter with the oil in a deep, heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and cook until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with the butter and oil. Add simmering stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Wait until liquid is almost completely absorbed before adding more. This process will take about 20 minutes. The rice should be just cooked and slightly chewy.

Stir in the mushroom mixture and cheese. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper and serve garnished with parsley.


One Comment

  1. This sounds wonderful and I’m always looking for new risotto recipes. Thank you 🙂

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