January 6, 2010

Pressure Cooker Risotto

It all started back in October.

I asked for one of these for my birthday.
Fagor 918060607 6 Qt Splendid Pressure Cooker

Instead, I got one of these.

Atlas  Original Italian Pasta Machine, Stainless Steel

Hmm. One makes cooking quicker and easier. The other makes cooking longer and harder.

After much grumbling subtle prompting, I finally got my pressure cooker for Hannukah. (And I have actually enjoyed my pasta machine, but that's a topic for another post.)

I mainly wanted the pressure cooker to cook dal, because the dal I love most, toor dal, can take forever to cook. I had great visions of my aunt Kamal in Mumbai, cooking her dal (or umpti as it's known) and her veggies (or bhajis) in stainless steel dishes stacked inside her pressure cooker. (But that, too, is a topic for another post.) Somehow I believed that with a pressure cooker I could turn out the same sort of deliciousness that Kamal does.

Since I got the pressure cooker, I have made dal in it a few times. But I knew it had to be good for other things as well. Then I remembered that I'd read somewhere about cooking risotto in the pressure cooker.

So tonight I tried it.

And you know what?

I'm hooked!

It's not just that the whole process is so much faster and easier—which it is. It's that the rice comes out just the way I like it—tender but with an al dente middle. When I cook it the regular way, it always comes out gummy.

For years I bemoaned the fact that I could never get a decent risotto outside of restaurants in Italy. Even in the homes of Italian friends it was never as good. What I now realize is that most restaurants must use a pressure cooker to make their risotto. It's the exact texture I've been searching for.

I know, I know, there are plenty of detractors out there who will claim that pressure cooker risotto isn't the real, authentic thing.

But you know what?

I don't care.

It's delicious, and that's all that counts.

Pressure Cooker Risotto
I used this recipe, but mainly as a proportion and cooking time guide. I changed it up because I was trying to use up some things in my fridge.
Here's what I did:
I washed and chopped two slightly old leeks and sauteed them in some bacon drippings. (I tricked the Vegetarian again. But hey, gotta try to get some B12 in her somehow.)
Then I added 1 and 1/2 cups of arborio rice and stirred til it was coated with the fat.
Next I added a half cup of red wine and let that simmer until it was almost all gone.
Then I added 3 and 1/4 cups of liquid, which was one 16oz container of chicken broth and about a cup of water.
I closed the lid and brought the pressure up to high.
I turned down the heat and  cooked it for 4 minutes on high pressure.
Then I used the quick release valve on the cooker to bring down the pressure.
When the pressure came down, I opened the lid and tasted the rice. It was done, so I added in half a cup of parmesan and a tablespoon of butter, stirred vigorously, put the top back on and left it for two minutes. If your rice isn't done after the pressure comes down, add a little hot water and cook it until it is.


missmasala said...

I use my pressure cooker for dal and sometimes potatoes..Its sooo much faster. I'm glad you got what you wanted for your Bday :-)

Helen said...

When are you going to write a food book?

Anonymous said...

Missmasala, Help! I just can't trick my vegetarian...but she loves soup and i need a really delicious vegetable stock recipe that my meat lover will like too. Can you advise?

Missmasala said...

Dear Anon,

I don't use vegetable stock much, as the boxed ones I've found to be bad and I don't have time very often to make my own.

One cheat that works well if it goes with the ingredients is to use water instead of stock and then throw a parmesan cheese rind in the soup as it simmers. KInd of like a cheese stock, so to speak.

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