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.
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.
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
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.
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.