Alright, I have to backtrack on some previous statements about making risotto. It turns out that there is a bit of a “hack” for making it with less effort: the Instant Pot. The Instant Pot has been a pretty awesome purchase for us after only a few uses. It took the entire arm workout aspect out of risotto making and honestly came out really very well.
The nice thing with the Instant Pot was being able to do the very simple and quick prep phase and then just letting the machine take care of actually cooking the rice. I was concerned that it would really work out and would be soupy and wouldn’t develop the right starchy gooey texture. Well, I am happy to say I was pleasantly surprise. The rice was sticky, the texture really good, and the flavor just awesome!
One trick to this method: I used veggies that are good al dente. For this recipe, I used the really thin French style green beans (hericot verts). I added them in to the hot risotto at the end and let the heat cook them to slightly crunchy perfection. You could alternatively use frozen peas or skinny asparagus. I figured that if I put veggies in for the pressure cook they would get too mushy by the end and not be very vibrant.
One last nice thing about risottos is that they are easy to make for various dietary restrictions. The fact that it is rice based makes it naturally gluten free to start with. Use of a vegetable stock and elimination of cheese can turn this into vegan and dairy free as well. An interesting take would be to use vegetable stock based on wild mushrooms for an interesting earthy taste.
Cooking with Leeks
I really like leeks, they can take the place of many veggies in recipes if you want to mix it up. I tend to think of them as really big scallions (they are loosely related after all). They have slightly milder taste than other members of the onion family. This mild nature makes them good for when you don’t want overpowering onion flavor but want a little bit of taste and some moisture.
Also, if you aren’t familiar with cooking leeks, there are a few things you need to be aware of. First, don’t use the dark green parts at the top they are less desirable. Second, they tend to have a lot of dirt in them, so they need to be rinsed prior to use. This means you will also want to make sure you get them pretty dry so that they don’t just steam. Lastly, I like to use them in roughly semicircular shapes. Just cut thin ring slices and then cut those in half.
Instant Pot Risotto
- 1.5 Cups Arborio Rice
- 2 Tbs Butter or Olive Oil
- 1 Leek thinly sliced half moons
- 1 Shallot finely diced
- 3 Garlic Cloves minced
- 1 Lemon Zested and juiced
- 1/3 Cup White Wine
- 3 Cups Chicken or Veggie Stock
- Optional: 1/2 Cup Grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Set the Instant Pot to SAUTE-NORMAL. Add the butter or olive oil when cold and allow to heat.
- Add the Leek and Shallot. Cook for 2-3 minutes until soft and translucent.
- Add the garlic and lemon zest. Cook for an additional 1 minute.
- Add the Arborio. Stir and cook dry for 1 minute (you should smell a nutty rice smell).
- Add the Wine. Allow the wine to absorb into the rice, about 1-2 minutes.
- Press CANCEL on the Instant Pot. Add the Stock and set to MANUAL (or PRESSURE COOK) on HIGH for 5 minutes.
- Press CANCEL at the end of the pressure cook time. Allow to naturally release for 3-5 minutes depending on desired rice texture then quick release the pressure.
- Stir in the lemon juice and optional parmesan cheese.