the 7-minute risotto - via pressure cooker!

I have gotten such an enthusiastic response to my pressure cooker recipes that I posted this one, and many more new ones, on my new blog dedicated to pressure cooking. Come and visit hip pressure cooking... and make a pressure cooker recipe request, or post your own!

I present you with an Italian-approved risotto pressure cooker recipe. The rice comes out creamy and delicious just like the original - faster, and without all that stirring and baby-sitting.  This technique will not  result in boiled rice and will only take 20 minutes from start to finish.

NY Times authority on all that is delicious and edible, Mark Bittman, in his Laid Back Risotto technique insists that it is not exactly required to stir in the liquid a little at a time. In fact, the key to risotto creaminess is in all the work before the liquid is even added - the toasting of the rice grains. The most important thing to remember when adapting a risotto recipe to the pressure cooker is that once the top is on nothing evaporates... so:  be delicate with the wine or it will overpower your whole risotto; and, stick to the ratios on the broth - except when adding watery vegetables- or you will boil the rice!

Basic Pressure Cooker Risotto Recipe
The magic ratio here is "100g rice:250ml broth" or "1/2 cup rice:1cup broth".  Which is handy, because this is the amount you will need per serving if you need to increase or decrease this recipe.

400g or two cups of Arborio Rice
1 lt or four cups of chicken or vegetable broth 
1 onion, chopped
1 swig of white wine
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
salt and pepper to taste

Soften the onion in your pressure cooker, add salt and pepper. When onions are softened add the rice and lightly toast it to release the starch. When you add the Arborio rice to the onions first it will turn it from white to translucent as it absorbs the oil, then in about a minute back to white.  Wait until just a couple of grains look golden and your rice is toasted! Then, add a swig of white wine and stir until it has evaporated. Add the broth, mix and close the top immediately. Turn the flame up to high and wait for the hissing to start. Lower the flame and start counting 7 minutes for al dente risotto, 9 minutes for well done.

Near the end of the cooking time, I like to pick up the whole cooker off the flame and swirl it around to feel if it is still very liquid inside. It should  feel a little dense but not soupy.

When the time is up, put the whole pan in your sink and run a little cold water on the top to lower the pressure quickly and open it to stop the cooking. If the risotto inside is still very wet, put the open pressure cooker back on a medium flame to bring to the right consistency.

Serves 4

Fancy-up your Risotto:

  • Risotto alla Milanese - add saffron when you are softening the onions and frozen peas right after you have opened the pressure cooker.
  • Mushroom risotto - substitute white wine for red, throw in dehydrated mushrooms before the liquid, or fresh ones after (reduce quantity of liquid accordingly).
  • Zucchini Risotto (pictured) - after softening the onion, lightly brown about two medium zucchini finely chopped (or grated. Adjust the broth amount you add (I reduce it to about 75% which is about 750ml or three cups). When serving, add a spoonful of fresh, diced tomato, garlic, basil and olive oil on top.
  • Potato and Pancetta Risotto - reduce the olive oil and throw in the pancetta with the onion. When some of the fat has melted off the pancetta add one medium diced potato, and lightly brown them, then continue with the recipe.
  • Tomato Risotto - when browning the onion use butter instead of olive oil. Throw in a pinch of oregano, too! When measuring for the broth, first add one can of chopped tomatoes into your measuring vessel, then calculate the rest of the liquid.
  • Frutti di Mare - start cooking the shellfish first in a separate pan with garlic and salt. Save some of the liquid they release for your broth. When they are about 75% cooked, start with the basic risotto recipe. Add one anchovy to the olive oil when softening the onion. When the rice has softened, add about 25% of your shellfish into the pressure cooker and continue with the recipe. When the risotto is ready, unite the remaining shellfish to the risotto before serving. Sprinkle with fresh parsley.

What is your favorite risotto recipe? Have you tried it in the pressure cooker?

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