Sunday, December 20, 2009


I gave myself this pressure cooker as an early Christmas gift. I've been thinking about investing in one for a year or so, and now that I have a client who adores meals like pot roast, stew, hearty soups and barbecue beef sandwiches, I had a good excuse to buy one. These dishes can take hours to cook (and more time to cool before packaging), making them a major time-suck on a cookdate. With the pressure cooker, I should be able to prepare them in much less time, thus shortening my work day. I'm all for that!

I didn't realize until I read the little booklet that came with my PC that my model can also cook rice, polenta and risotto. That seemed like an easy, cheap entry into pressure cooking, so last night I christened the PC by making risotto.

Risotto is usually a time-consuming dish to prepare, with the cook standing at the stove stirring the liquids into the rice forever and a day. The PC eliminated that business and still produced a creamy, toothsome risotto.

Besides being a tasty side dish, risotto is versatile: different herbs and cheeses can be added to it to change its flavor. It can be prepared ahead of time and then molded into little patties or balls and fried. Or, with the addition of some protein, risotto can be turned into your main dish. I added some cooked shrimp and peas from the freezer and voila, dinner was ready.

Serves 3-4

2 T. olive oil
1/4 cup finely diced shallot
1 cup Arborio rice
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup dry white wine
pinch saffron threads
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 T. chopped parsley

Use the "Brown" setting to saute the shallots and rice in oil until tender, 4 - 5 minutes. Turn off the Brown setting. Add the broth, wine and saffron. Close the lid and turn the knob to "Pressure." Set the timer for 10 minutes at High pressure. When done, release the pressure and open the lid. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and parsley. Serve. (I mixed in about 1/2 box of frozen peas and 1/2 lb. cooked shrimp.)

Adapted from the Fagor Electric Multi-Cooker booklet.

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