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Aqurello Risotto “Cacio e Pepe” with Grana Padano


"Cacio e pepe" means "cheese and pepper."  This creamy, zesty risotto from Canadian Chef Victor Barry is sure to please your whole family.


For chicken stock:

1 whole chicken

8 litres of water

For three pepper brown butter:

3 tablespoons pink peppercorns

3 tablespoons white peppercorns

3 tablespoons black peppercorns

1 cup unsalted butter

For cooking:

2½ cups Aborio rice

1½ cups melted butter

   1 cup of finely diced shallots

      Salt to taste

   2 cups Grana Padano

    1 tablespoon nutritional yeast

    ¼ cup olive oil


Make the chicken stock:

Place the chicken in a pot with the water and boil for 45 minutes. Skim the top of the broth as it boils to remove any foam. Chef's note: Save the chicken meat to make chicken salad.


Make the three pepper brown butter:

Toast the peppercorns in a small pan. When they are cool, grind peppercorns all together in a spice grinder. Melt the 1 cup of unsalted butter in a pan. When the butter is fully melted and begins to froth, start whisking. Make sure the whisk touches the bottom of the pan to ensure the milk particles do not stick and burn. When you smell a nutty aroma and the milk particles in the butter have turned golden-brown, whisk in the three-pepper blend. Allow the milk particles and the pepper mix to settle at the bottom of the pot. Chef's note: Make the three-pepper brown butter before cooking the rice.

Make the risotto:

In a wide bottom pot, heat up olive oil and sweat out the shallots on medium heat. Pour the rice into the pot with the shallots. Toast the rice for about 10 minutes, stirring continuously so the rice does not change color. Pour in the 1½ cups of melted butter and give the mixture a good stir. Slowly add the chicken stock. Start with 3 cups of chicken stock and keep stirring so the rice does not stick to the bottom of the pot. Gradually add all the stock as you continue stirring.


When all the stock is incorporated, add 1 tbsp of the three-pepper brown butter mix and the nutritional yeast. You should only just taste the heat from the pepper. Continue stirring and cooking until the risotto is al dente, smooth, shiny and slightly runny.


Mix in the Grana Padano. Allow the risotto to rest for 2 minutes in the pot. It should spread, but not leach out liquid around the edge of the rice.


For plating:

Pour 1½ cups of risotto onto a plate and give it a little shake to flatten it a bit. Skim a tablespoon the remaining 3-pepper brown butter just off the top of its pot and pour over the risotto.


Makes 6 servings.

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