Cafe Society

Cooking with Pete and Barb Marczyk: foragers risotto

Pete Marczyk and Barbara Macfarlane do not leave their work behind when they leave Marczyk Fine Foods and head for their great old Denver house with a spacious kitchen. They often bring some of their market's best ingredients home with them and cook up a feast, and when they're not cooking at home, they're working with the staff at Marczyk's to create recipes for the rest of us to enjoy, usually turning to Whitney Ariss, a home cook and the market's marketing project manager and events coordinator, for inspiration.

"Our produce buyer, Roger Burleigh, was so excited to form a partnership with Hunt & Gather, an awesome local company that carries 'wildcrafted foods,' so everything that comes from Hunt & Gather is foraged, which doesn't get more sustainable or food-nerdy than that," says Ariss, referring specifically to the wild mushrooms that are essential to this risotto dish. The recipe, which first appeared on, a recipe blog that Barb describes as "Colorado flavors explored," uses chanterelle and porcini mushrooms, but feel free to experiment with whatever fungi you can find. "Even if Denver heats up to a hot forty degrees, you'll want to cook this for a Sunday night dinner," insists Barb, who suggests pairing the dish with a bottle of Sottimano Dolcetto, a "winter red from Italy that's our top seller." It's currently priced at $14.99 a bottle at Marczyk Fine Wines.

See also: Cooking with Pete and Barb Marczyk: roasted squash

Foragers risotto


1oz dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in water for 15 to 20 minutes 1 small onion, finely chopped 1 stick butter 1 1/2 tsp sea salt Fresh-cracked pepper 1/4 lb fresh mixed wild mushrooms 2 large garlic cloves, chopped 1 1/2 cups white wine 12 oz aborio rice 5 1/2 cups chicken broth Olive oil 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese (optional)


1. In a heavy saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a simmer. 2. Heat another heavy-bottomed pan over medium-low heat and add butter, salt and onions; sweat onions until translucent, about 6 to 8 minutes. 3. Strain porcini mushrooms, reserving the liquid. Roughly chop mushrooms and set aside. 4. Once onions are soft and translucent, add garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Add mushrooms, season mixture with cracked pepper and cook for another 5 minutes, making sure all the excess liquid has evaporated. 5. Add rice to pan and "toast" for about 3 to 4 minutes, stirring often, until the rice turns translucent around the edges. 6. Add wine and stir until it's completely absorbed. 7. Add hot chicken stock one cup at a time (and the reserved mushroom stock, if desired), allowing each cup to absorb the rice completely before adding more liquid. The risotto will take about 25 to 30 minutes to fully cook. 8. Remove risotto from the heat and cover for 2 minutes. 9. Drizzle with a tiny bit of good olive oil, and top with shaved Parmesan. Serve immediately.

For more from Pete, Barbara and Marczyk Fine Foods, visit the market website. And be sure to check out Pete's blog and Marczyk Fine Wines.

Lori Midson
Contact: Lori Midson