I don know if its a true story or an unban legend but as a chef I was told a story. This story has probably been changed a 100 times but the story I was told goes along the lines of this:
Marco Pierre White was cooking a risotto for Albert Roux. This risotto was Albert’s signature vegetarian dish and he had been perfecting it over the years. At this time Marco was a young chef so cooking for the master Albert was a big deal for him. Marco finished the dish, nervously serves the risotto and waits for Albert reply.
Albert replied in his soft French accent ” Chef this is better than mine, what have you done?” (It took so much restraint not to type that in a French accent)
Macro reply was simple ” I used chicken stock Chef”
I’m going to apologise now to all the Italian Mama’s out there. These Mama’s spend hours slaving away cooking risotto, mine takes less than 30 minutes.
1 Butternut squash
1 Roasted yellow pepper – sliced
4 Tablespoon light olive oil
600 ml Chicken stock – vegetable stock if you want to keep it vegetarian
50g Unsalted butter
1 Onion – finely diced
1 Celery stick – finely diced
2 Garlic cloves – crushed
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, picked
1 Tablespoon Chives
140g Risotto rice
100ml White wine or Beer
100g Soft Cheese
50g Parmesan finely grated – or vegetarian alternative
Heat the oven to 200°c. Peel the squash, cut in half and remove the seeds. I like to keep the seeds and toast them in a pan with some salt & pepper. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and dice into 2cm cubes, toss in half the oil, season lightly and roast in the oven, stirring occasionally, until golden brown on the outside and soft in the centre this will take about 30 minutes
While the squash is roasting, warm a medium-size frying pan over a gentle heat. Add the remaining olive oil and half the butter, followed by the onion. Cover and cook for 3 minutes until the onion turns translucent. Stir in the roasted pepper, celery, garlic, herbs and a few turns of pepper (no salt at this stage). Cover again and cook for a further 2 minutes. Increase the heat slightly and stir in the rice. Stir, uncovered, for about 5 minutes.
Turn up the heat, stir in the wine (if you don’t have an open bottle of wine or plan on using the rest, open a bottle of beer, take a mouthful and then pour the rest in.) and let it bubble away to almost nothing. Reduce the heat and start adding the stock. Add one ladle at a time, stirring gently but constantly during each addition. The idea is to encourage the rice to absorb the liquid and soften, but also give up its starch to thicken the remaining broth. Don’t stir too aggressively or you will end up with a pan of mush. When the stock has been absorbed, it’s time to add the next ladleful and so on. It will take about 15 mins to reach the final ladle of stock. Add the roasted butternut squash.