I confess that making risotto isn’t (or hasn’t been) a strong suit for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love rice. It is just that, somehow, risotto always seemed like it would be complicated to prepare.
Then my world changed. I got an Instant Pot.
The Instant Pot is a multi-function pressure cooker. You can, of course, pressure cook in it. You also can sauté. Or, you can make yogurt. Or, you can use it as a steamer or a slow cooker. You can pretty much do it all. (It’s sort of the Meryl Streep of kitchen appliances.)
Here is a link to Instant Pot’s website:
No…wait! Where is the history of risotto, you ask?
Rice is believed to have first been introduced to Italy during the Middle Ages via the Arab invasions. Subsequently, Italian farmers found that the Mediterranean climate was well-suited to the cultivation of short grain rice. Yuge profits.
Then, leave it to Italian cooks, the inspired combination of rice. stock, onions, butter, wine, Parmesan and saffron followed. Risotto was born. According to one site (Anna Maria’s Open Kitchen), “the legend of the invention of Risotto alla Milanese goes back to the year 1574. The Duomo di Milano, the magnificent Gothic cathedral, was being built, and a young apprentice named Valerius was in charge of staining the decorated glass for the windows. Everybody was teasing him because he appeared to have added saffron to the pigments to obtain a more brilliant color.
Tired of the teasing, he decided to return the joke and added saffron to the rice to be served at his master’s wedding. The rice turned out so good that the idea spread immediately throughout the city and became the popular dish we know today.”
You go, Valerius! Kind of far-fetched, but then who doesn’t like a good story?
This is my first foray into risotto but this recipe is quite good. I hope to up my game. Sur La Table has a cooking class focused on risotto. I’m signing up. Stay tuned.
Yields 4 Servings
- 1 T. olive oil or butter
- 1/2 C. finely chopped onions
- 1 1/2 C. arborio rice
- 1/2 C. dry white wine or dry vermouth
- 3 to 3 1/2 C. vegetable broth
- 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms (broken into bits)
- 1 C. frozen peas
- 1/2 C. grated Parmesan (or Asiago) plus more to pass at the table
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 2 T. chopped parsley (for garnish)
- If you are using an Instant Pot, follow the directions in the instruction booklet. Use the sauté feature to sauté the onions in the hot butter (or oil), Add the arborio rice and stir it until it is totally mixed with the sautéed onion and totally covered in the butter (or oil). Sauté for about 30 seconds while stirring constantly. Next, str in the wine and sauté until the rice has absorbed the wine. Then, stir in the 3 cups of broth and the porcini mushroom pieces. As you do this, be sure to scrape the bottom of the pot to dislodge any rice that might be sticking to the bottom of the cooker.
- If you are using a traditional pressure cooker, follow the directions in the instruction booklet. Start the dish by heating the butter or oil in the pressure cooker pot on your stove. Stir in the onions and sauté. Add the arborio rice and stir it until it is totally mixed with the sautéed onion and totally covered in butter (or oil). Sauté for about 30 seconds while stirring constantly.Next, str in the wine and sauté until the rice has absorbed the wine. Then, stir in the 3 cups of broth and the porcini mushroom pieces. As you do this, be sure to scrape the bottom of the pot to dislodge any rice that might be sticking to the bottom of the cooker.
- Now, lock the lid of your cooker in place. Be sure everything is done properly with this step before proceeding.
- If using the Instant Pot pressure cooker, cook on high setting for four minutes. If using the traditional pressure cooker, pressure cook at high pressure for four minutes.
- Turn off the heat.
- Quick release the pressure in your cooker following the directions in your instruction book. Remove the lid from your cooker.
- If using the Instant Pot, stir the risotto vigorously with the pot set at sauté. If using a traditional pressure cooker, put the cooker pot back on your stove over medium high heat and stir vigorously.
- Your risotto may look soupy at this point. If it does, boil the liquid down. Be sure to stir the risotto while you are doing this to keep your risotto from sticking. My risotto, cooked in the Instant Pot, did not need to boil off any liquid. Conversely, if your risotto is too dry, stir in half cups of broth until you have a consistency you like. Stir in the peas.
- Turn off the heat under your pot. Stir in Parmesan and salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with chopped parsley. Pass extra Parmesan at the table.
Here is the link to the original NY Times recipe for this dish: