Posted by: lornasass | January 12, 2009

RISOTTO UNDER PRESSURE

Savoring a great risotto prepared in 10 minutes–with only a brief stirring period at the beginning and end–is a common pleasure for anyone who owns a pressure cooker. (Even Italian cooks admit this fact when their mothers aren’t listening.)

In fact, risotto is so easy to prepare in a “PC,” that after investing in one of the sleek, newly designed, imported cookers now on the market, risotto may well become your favorite, fast, foolproof company dish.

Wonder how a pressure cooker does the equivalent of 30 minutes of stirring in just 4 minutes?

In the sealed pot, water boils at 242 degrees F. instead of the standard 212. At this higher boiling point, the rice quickly gives up its starch in record time, producing the creamy sauce characteristic of a well made risotto. A classic risotto is made by slowly adding boiling broth while stirring. The pressure-cooked version is prepared by adding most of the broth from the start, reserving just a little to add at the end.

If you are stuck back in the fifties, when everything that came out of pressure cookers was soft and mushy, let these chewy, toothsome risottos change your mind.  For lots of other good pressure cooker recipes, see my blog:  www.pressurecookingwithlornasass.wordpress.com

Risotto with Saffron and Peas

Makes 4 main-course or 6 side-dish portions

images-121/2 teaspoon saffron threads
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped shallots
1 1/2 cups risotto rice, such as Arborio, Carnaroli, or Vialone Nanno
1/2 cup dry white wine, vermouth, or sherry
3 1/2 to 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

In a small bowl, stir saffron threads into 1 tablespoon warm water. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a 2 1/2-quart or larger cooker. Add the onions and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until they begin to soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in rice and coat with oil.

Stir in wine and cook until it evaporates. Stir in 3 1/2 cups broth, taking care to scrape up any browned bits sticking to bottom of cooker.

Lock lid in place. Over high heat bring to high pressure. Reduce the heat just enough to maintain high pressure and cook for 4 minutes (if using Arborio rice; 5 minutes for other varieties). Turn off heat. Quick-release pressure according to manufacturer’s instructions. Unlock and remove lid, tilting it away from you to allow steam to escape.

Stir in saffron with liquid. Set cooker over medium-high heat and stir vigorously. Boil uncovered, stirring every minute or so, until mixture thickens and the rice is tender but still chewy, usually 1 to 3 minutes. If mixture becomes dry before rice is done, stir in reserved broth, as needed. Finished risotto should be slightly runny; it will continue to thicken as it sits on plate.

Stir in peas and cook an additional 30 seconds. Turn off heat and stir in cheese and walnuts. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve in shallow bowls or on lipped plates. Garnish each portion with additional cheese.

Farro Risotto with Winter Squash and Sage

Farro is an ancient cousin to the wheat commonly grown in this country. In Italy, where most farro is grown, a risotto made from farro is called a farrotto.

Makes 4 main-course or 6 side-dish portions

images-311 3/4 pounds butternut squash, peeled, and seeded
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
1 cup minced onions
1 1/2 cups semi-pearled farro (see picture and NOTE)
1/2 cup dry red wine
3 1/2 to 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste (use less if broth is salted)
Generous teaspoon dried sage leaves
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons minced parsley
Freshly ground black pepper

Cut half of squash into 1-inch chunks and the remainder into 1/2-inch chunks. Set aside.

Heat butter in a 4-quart or larger cooker over medium-high heat. Cook onions, stirring frequently until they soften slightly, about 2 minutes. Stir in farro and coat with oil. Continue cooking and stirring until farro releases a toasted aroma, about 2 minutes. Add wine and cook while stirring, until it evaporates, about 30 seconds. Add 3 1/2 cups broth, taking care to scrape up any browned bits sticking to the bottom of the cooker. Add
squash and salt.

Lock pressure cooker lid in place. Over high heat bring to high pressure. Reduce heat just enough to maintain high pressure and cook for 7 minutes. Turn off heat. Quick-release pressure according to manufacturer’s instructions. Unlock and remove lid, tilting it away from you to allow steam to escape.

Crumble sage leaves into risotto. Boil uncovered over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until farro is tender but still chewy, some squash is pureed into sauce, and mixture is creamy. If mixture becomes dry before farro is tender, stir in reserved broth as needed. The finished farotto should be slightly runny; it will continue to thicken as it sits on the plate.

Turn off heat and stir in Parmesan, parsley, and black pepper to taste. Adjust seasonings and serve immediately. Serve in shallow bowls or on lipped plates. Garnish individual portions with Parmesan.

NOTE: Farro is sometimes mistakenly translated as spelt, but is different from the grain sold in America by that name. Look for imported “farro, semi-perlato,” which is farro that has been partially pearled, meaning that some of the bran has been rubbed off.


Responses

  1. […] just the amount of time it takes for the cooker to come up to pressure.  And you can make amazing risotto in the pressure cooker with very little effort. (When I bought my first pressure cooker, quite a […]


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