I bought a pressure cooker years ago for Gabe because I had heard it was great for making beans, and we loved to make Cuban black beans. But I was afraid to use it. I don't know whether I had a repressed bad pressure cooking experience in my youth or if it is just my active imagination, but I always picture the pot exploding all over the kitchen, and splattering hot food all over my innocent children.
But when my friend Andrea told me about her technique for making risotto in a pressure cooker in 7 minutes I knew I had to dust that cooker off and put it to work. Andrea is a fantastic and creative cook, and I completely trust her judgment and recommendations about anything to do with food. Now I have conquered my fear of the pressure cooker. Sure it whistles and hisses, but the lid stays firmly locked on until I am ready to remove it, and I no longer worry about it combusting.
Making risotto in a pressure cooker is not only fast, it is easy. There is no standing over a hot stove stirring slowly. Instead, almost everything goes in the pot up front and, after a few minutes of checking e-mail or typing on the blog, the risotto is ready.
I am looking forward to making this risotto with fresh artichokes and peas when they come in at the farmers' market, but for now, the frozen versions are mighty tasty. But I still keep the children out of the kitchen once that cooker starts sounding like a steam engine.
Second Helping: Homemade Ketchup
Pressure Cooker Saffron and Artichoke Risotto
20 minutes preparation time
20 minutes cooking time
3 tablespoons Spanish olive oil
2 small onions, diced (about 2 cups)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 cups arborio rice
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 cups frozen artichoke hearts
1 cup dry white wine
3 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1 teaspoon salt
a few grinds of black pepper
1 cup frozen peas
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Heat the olive oil over medium high heat in the pressure cooker and add the onion and garlic. Cook until the onion is soft, about 7 minutes.
Add the rice and stir to coat it with the oil. Add the saffron, lemon zest, artichoke hearts, and mix again. Add the white wine, vegetable stock, salt, and pepper and stir again. Cover the pressure cooker with its lid and lock it on. Bring the pressure up. Follow the directions of your pressure cooker, but in mine, this is when the cooker will begin to make a hissing noise.
Cook the risotto for about 6 minutes. Each pressure cooker will cook a bit differently, but it shouldn't take less than 6 minutes. You can always cook it a few minutes longer with the top off. It's much harder to come back from an overcooked gloppy mess.
Release the steam and stand back. When the pressure has been released, remove the top. Add the peas and stir. If the risotto still contains a bit more liquid than you would like, let it sit for a minute or two. Stir in the butter and parsley. Taste and add more salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.