La Vera Cucina

Risotto à la Vico Equense

To Chef John Novi, the small coastal town of Vico Equense, near Sorrento, holds fond memories of first working in restaurants there in 1968.

Here, he shares his favorite recipe for Risotto à la Vico Equense, a popular staple at his High Falls, NY, ristorante, named DePuy Canal House for the historic building it occupies.

Risotto à la Vico Equense


  • ½ cup fresh extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 ounces minced garlic
  • 1 whole diced onion
  • 2 pounds Arborio rice
  • 2 cups mushroom-wine mixture (see below)
  • 2 ounces canned black truffle pieces packed in water
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely ground multicolor pepper
  • 8 cups chicken stock (warmed)
  • 1 cup fine red wine
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • Truffle oil
  • 1 cup strips of roasted red pepper
  • Grated pecorino cheese



Open truffles; reserve truffle water. Heat olive oil over medium flame. Add onions and garlic; sauté until onions are transparent. Add Arborio rice and sauté another five minutes, stirring constantly, until the rice is completely covered with oil.

Add two cups stock, stirring constantly until most liquid is absorbed. Continually stirring, gradually add truffle water and four additional cups of stock as liquid is absorbed. Then add mushroom-wine mixture and stir through. Add red wine and another cup of stock; stir and simmer until almost all liquid is absorbed.

Add last cup of stock; stir and finish in a 350 degree oven for 5 minutes. Finished risotto should appear a little runny. Plate hot risotto; top with strips of roasted red peppers and truffle slices. Add a few drops of truffle oil and dust with grated pecorino cheese. Serves twelve.


Mushroom-Wine Mixture


  • 1 pound portobello mushroom stems
  • 1 pound white mushrooms
  • 1 cup red wine
  • Salt (to taste)



Wash portobello stems; cut off black soil on bottoms. Wipe white mushrooms clean. Finely mince portobello and white mushrooms; place in steel sauce pan with wine. Bring to boil and simmer without stirring until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat; add a pinch of salt and stir. Set aside.


About Risotto

A descendant of rice soup, risotto (ree-zoe-toe) gets its characteristic thick, creamy texture from Arborio rice, whose short, stubby grains take on a pleasing “al dente” firmness when cooked. Risotto originated in northern Italy, where rice was a dietary staple for thrifty contadini. Popular risotto variations across Italy may include flavored stocks, wild mushrooms, grated dried cheese, shelled peas, and/or bits of seafood or meat.