It's Not Sacrilege To Make Risotto In A Pressure Cooker

Most people think risotto is a dish you need to dedicate a lot of time to make, and many are intimidated by the prospect of attempting it. And quite frankly, it can be intimidating, that is if you stick to conventional methods to make it. The arborio rice has to be toasted, and the liquid slowly added to the pan, ladle by ladle, while you stir the mixture constantly. Even celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck admitted that risotto needs "constant attention." The continual stirring can take up to 25 minutes, and while some may consider it meditative and therapeutic, it's not the dish you want to make when you're in a hurry.

Pressure cookers, from trusty stovetop models to high-tech Instant Pots, are popular for a very good reason — they reduce cooking time for almost every recipe. Dried beans that typically take up to 90 minutes on the stove can be prepared in half the time in a pressure cooker. Squash needs an hour in the oven but can be on the table in only five minutes using a pressure cooker. Can the same be said for risotto?

Risotto in a flash

The essential ingredients that go into risotto are simple: Arborio rice, stock or wine, and whatever your heart desires. Lidia Bastianich says that the beauty of risotto is that you can make it any way you want (per WNYC). Add mushrooms for an umami flavor, bright English peas for color and a fresh taste, or make it decadent with pieces of lobster meat. The possibilities are endless, and all variations can be made using a pressure cooker.

The process of cooking risotto in the pressure cooker starts with the conventional method. Sauté an onion until it's translucent, and then add the arborio rice to toast, but not for too long, or you'll ruin the risotto. Add the rest of your ingredients and close the lid. After the cooker has reached high pressure, it will only need five to seven minutes to cook (per Hip Cooking). You can stir in any additional ingredients you'd like once it's done cooking. The two things you'll love the most about this method are that there's no constant stirring needed and the risotto is done in half the time.

Fast risotto may justify your pressure cooker purchase

If you're wondering how the chefs on "Hell's Kitchen" manage to get risotto on diners' tables so quickly, you'll want to know about another method that doesn't require stirring for 25 minutes or even using a pressure cooker.

Chef Jason Santos, a former contestant on the show, shared the secret on Yahoo!Life – the risotto technique Gordon Ramsay perfected. Blanch the rice in boiling water for nine minutes and drain it. The rice will be partially cooked, and you can pick up the process from there. Because the rice isn't cooked slowly, the creaminess of the starch doesn't come out when you use this method, so Santos compensates by finishing the dish with rich and velvety mascarpone cheese, butter, and parmesan.

There's no guarantee that Gordon Ramsay would approve of the pressure cooking method for risotto, but Mark Bittman, writer, and professional foodie, surely doesn't think it's sacrilege. He told the The New York Times, "It's a meal that will justify buying that pressurized pot."