Sunday, April 23, 2006

My Favorite Spring Risotto in the Pressure Cooker

There is nothing like making risotto quickly in the pressure cooker to assure that it gets on the table really hot and in a timely manner. It takes only 5 minutes on the heat and with minimal stirring. Sure, it's not a whole grain but it is creamy and delicious, and comforting. And it's simple to adjust the veggies in it according to what you find at the farmer's market or store. I like to use saffron in mine and then add what's fresh - aspargus, green garlic, peas, or anything else (traditionally it would have cheese, cream or butter). Follow the tips that I give you for making it, the most important is that the quick cooking veggies get added after the risottto has been cooked and you remove the pressure cooker lid.

Here's the recipe:
Saffron Risotto with Peas and Asparagus
Use the vegetables that look the best to you.

1 tablespoon olive oil
3-4 stalks green garlic, sliced well
1 leek, chopped
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 ½ cups arborio rice
½ teaspoon saffron dissolved in hot water
3 ½-4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup frozen peas, thawed or 1 cup sugar snap or snow peas, cut in half
1 cup asparagus stalks and tips
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, chives or garlic chives
Freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in the pressure cooker. Add the garlic and leek and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the rice, stirring well to coat the rice with oil. Add the saffron and the water and then add 3 ½ cups of the broth. Stir well and lock the lid on the cooker. Turn the heat to high and bring to high pressure. Lower the heat and maintain high pressure for 5 minutes. Reduce the pressure using a quick release method. Remove the lid, tilting it away from you.
If the risotto isn’t creamy enough, add the remaining stock and cook on the stove top, stirring until you get the desired consistency. Stir in the salt, peas, asparagus and herbs. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve right away.

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