Is Pressure Cooking a Better Way to Prepare Risotto?

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Making risotto the traditional way, adding stock by the ladle and stirring all the time, takes me about 35 minutes from the moment I start sweating the onion to serving. We love risotto and I usually prepare it once a week. I don’t mind the time it takes nor the stirring because of the wonderful texture that I am rewarded with. One of these days I’m going to do a side-by-side comparison to see for myself how much of a difference is made by stirring or not stirring.

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My friend Jeroen swears by pressure cooked risotto, which according to him is quicker and just as good. I gave this a try and since I had some leftover mushroom stock from when I made truffle risotto, I decided to prepare a mushroom risotto. It is indeed quicker: from the moment I added the onion to serving took only 20 minutes instead of the usual 35. I think I could shave off up to 4 minutes by perfecting the amount of stock and the cooking time. As this was the first time I prepared it and you can’t check the rice while it is being pressure cooked and I didn’t want to risk overcooking the risotto, I pressure cooked it for 5 minutes at low pressure. The rice still needed another 5 minutes of regular cooking after that, so next time I will use a slightly longer cooking time. The exact cooking time will depend on the type of rice, so if you switch types (carnaroli, arborio, etc.) or even brands you may have to recalibrate your pressure cooked risotto recipe.

And what about the flavor and texture? Because you will use less stock as there is less evaporation, the stock needs to be reduced to achieve the same depth of flavor. To save time, I did this while I sauteed the mushrooms and toasted the rice. I’m confident the pressure cooked risotto ended up tasting the same as a regular risotto, even though I didn’t do a side-by-side comparison. And the texture? I did stir it for the additional 5 minutes of cooking, but it still didn’t have the texture that my ‘stirred’ risotto has. It was still very good though, and if you don’t stir your risotto anyway (and I know many of you don’t) you won’t notice the difference. So all in all pressure cooked risotto is a pretty good idea because it is significantly faster! Thanks, Jeroen.

Ingredients

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For 2 servings

130 grams (2/3 cups) risotto rice such as carnaroli

2 1/2 cups (600 ml) mushroom stock

300 grams (.66 lb) mixed mushrooms

1 small onion, minced

80 ml (1/3 cup) dry white wine

55 grams (4 Tbsp) butter

salt and freshly ground black pepper

freshly grated parmigiano reggiano

1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves or minced fresh flat leaf parsley

Preparation

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Slice the mushrooms into 1 cm (1/2 inch) slices and trim away any tough stems.

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Heat 40 grams (3 Tbsp) of the butter in a pressure cooker and add the mushrooms. Season with a bit of salt and sauté over medium high heat.

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Meanwhile, add the mushroom trimmings to the mushroom stock and simmer the stock over medium high heat until reduced to about 400 ml (1 2/3 cups).

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Sauté the mushrooms until they are starting to get soft and browned.

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Add the onion and…

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…sauté until the onion is translucent.

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Add the rice…

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…and toast the rice until it is very hot.

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Add the wine and cook, stirring, until it has been absorbed.

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Now filter the mushroom trimmings out of the mushroom stock and add 320 ml (1 1/3 cup) of the hot mushroom stock to the rice all at once.

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Scrape any grains of rice that stick to the sides into the stock.

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Close the pressure cooker, bring to low pressure, and pressure cook for 5 minutes the first time you make pressure cooked risotto. For subsequent times, you can adjust the cooking time such that the rice will come out perfectly without a need for additional cooking.

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After those 5 minutes, run cold water over the cover to release the pressure quickly.

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The rice should have absorbed most of the stock.

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Taste the rice. It should still have some bite (al dente), but it should not have a hard kernel.

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In my case the rice wasn’t cooked yet, so I cooked it, stirring, over medium heat until the rice was cooked to my liking. I even had to add some of the remaining mushroom stock.

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Add the remaining 15 grams (1 Tbsp) of butter, the thyme or parsley, some freshly ground black pepper, and a handful of freshly grated parmigiano.

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Stir to incorporate and allow the risotto to rest for a couple of minutes.

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Serve on preheated plates, sprinkled with some more parmigiano.

Flashback


Blogging has taught me so many new recipes. A very simple but tasty one is this suggestion by Richard of REMCooks.com that he didn’t even post about but just left as a comment on my blog: breaded chicken breast fried in clarified butter.

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12 thoughts on “Is Pressure Cooking a Better Way to Prepare Risotto?

  1. I didn’t know risotto could be prepared in a pressure cooker… It looks very tasty!! Although I have to admit I love the stirring process, I find it calming. Just pour a glass of wine for the risotto and a glass for the chef and stir away!! Makes for a nice relaxing evening.

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  2. I definitely belong amongst the ‘stirrers’ also 🙂 ! Don’t think the time-save was worth it anyways, especially since the pressure cooker won’t wash itself!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Risotto in a pressure cooker – that’s blasphemy! 🙂 I always love stirring a risotto. However, I will definitely try this. When it comes to cooking there are so many legends and myths. It’s a good idea to put them to the test now and then.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A great bit of testing, Stefan, and post to match. I’ve yet to buy a pressure cooker and I don’t recall any of the women using one for preparing risotto. I never would have thought to use one for risotto, for the same reasons I’ve not tried “oven” risotto or any of the other new and improved methods. It seems that all of them mean to greatly lessen – or eliminate altogether – the stirring and that, for me, is what make risottos so creamy. I know one day I’ll get a pressure cooker and then, like you, I’ll test it with risotto. I’m a hard sell, though. 🙂

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    1. Thanks, John. There are quite a few out there who claim that stirring is not needed for a creamy risotto. Like you I am not convinced at all of that notion, and am planning on a side-by-side trial to settle this once and for all.

      Liked by 1 person

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