I recently obtained Modernist Cuisine at Home. Most of the recipes are, honestly, impractical or unlikely to ever be used. But it’s a pretty book and the attitude towards cooking as processes that have reasons behind them that aligns with how I think about food: it matters how it tastes at the end, not that a particular method was used.
Fortuitously, our friend next door had been picking chanterelle mushrooms and she brought us some (thank you!). Adam suggested we make mushroom risotto but then balked at the time and energy: he’s studying and I’ve been reading and was planning an easy dinner so I didn’t have to do much work. But he remembered that Modernist Cuisine at Home might have something for us and discovered you can make risotto (and many other rice dishes) in a pressure cooker. So, tonight we cooked our first recipe from it.
As usual, I didn’t follow the exact recipe but used it as a template (I don’t think I’ve ever cooked a recipe exactly as written other than breads). The specific recipe for vegetable risotto called for a complicated mix of stock and fresh veggie juices (and finishing with an absurd quantity of gouda cheese and butter). But the text emphasizes experimentation so I just stuck with the basic rule of keeping liquids and the rice in correct proportion. Here’s approximately what I did.
|1 cup (dry)||Arborio rice|
|1/2 medium||Red onion||Diced fairly small|
|1/2 pound (?)||Chanterelles||Cut into chunks maybe 1 cm by 2cm|
|2 cups||Veggie stock||It’s a little less (see below)|
|1 tablespoon||Olive oil|
|1/2 cup||Sharp cheddar cheese|
|1/2 teaspoon||salt||As usual, this is a matter of taste|
First the mushrooms need to be prepped. Clean them well. Mine came from a friend who’d been collecting in the rain, covered in dirt and pine needles. Awesome, but not so good in risotto. Unfortunately they were dirty enough I felt it necessary to use water (breaking the usual rules for how to prepare mushrooms). Once they were clean, trimmed and chopped up, I cooked them in a dry skillet. The skillet didn’t stay dry for long and yielded half a cup of mushroom liquid which I drained and kept in reserve.
Then, I cooked the onion in the oil until golden. At this point I added the mushrooms and the rice. This was “toasted” for a little while until the rice started turning just a bit shiny and translucent.
Next up, I topped off the mushroom liquid with homemade veggie stock up to just above 2 cups of liquid. I added the liquid to the rice (strained thru cheesecloth due to sediment), stirred, and then put the pressure cooker lid on. Once the pressure cooker was at pressure, I turned down the heat and set a timer for 7 minutes per the recipe.
Once the timer went off, I followed the recipe and did a quick release of the pressure. If you’ve never done one, what you do is put the pressure cooker in your sink and run water over the top. The temperature change will cause the pressure to release suddenly. Sometimes with a full pot of beans it will even force liquid in the pot up and over!
Once the pressure was released, I had a nice creamy risotto. The cheese and salt were added and stirred in and served. I’ve never made a risotto myself (though I’ve watched others) and this was incredibly easy compared to the usual method of stirring continuously for half an hour (at least). We’re almost out of arborio rice and since this is so easy we might need more sooner than we thought!