If someone were to ask me what kitchen utensil I couldn’t live without—I’d say the pressure cooker. Dinner on the table takes one-third of the time as with regular stove-top cooking. More vitamins remain in pressure cooked vegetables, and you can have creamy Italian risotto lickety-split. That’s right, in 20 minutes you can be chowing down spinach and goat cheese risotto made in the pressure cooker.
Have you heard the stories about pressure cookers exploding their contents all over the kitchen ceiling? My family has a blown-lid tale to tell as well.
That didn’t stop my mother from cooking corned beef and cabbage in a pressure cooker every St. Patrick’s Day, or teaching me the merits of steaming artichokes in 2/3 less time. Beans such as pintos, chickpeas, black beans, white beans and the like cook in record time in a pressure cooker, especially at our 7000 feet above sea level.
Both of my pressure cookers are made of stainless steel. The one I bought when I was 25 years old is an Italian-made jiggle-top. My newer Swiss model, by Kuhn-Rikon, is second generation, with backup mechanisms to prevent buildup of excess pressure.
Risotto is made with a short and fat-grained white rice, Arborio. It’s the starch of this rice that gives risotto the creamy texture. Do not rinse the rice or the starch will be lost.
** If you don’t own a pressure cooker, you’ll need more veggie stock, for a total of 5 1/2 to 6 cups. Ladle in the stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring all the while (about 40 minutes,) until the rice is creamy and tender.
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- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3/4 cup finely chopped onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 3 1/2 cups hot vegetable broth
- 12 ounces spinach leaves, washed and stems removed, chopped in 1-inch pieces
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- 4 ounces soft goat cheese
- 1/3 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans
- In a pressure cooker, heat the olive oil over medium flame.
- Add the onions and garlic. Cook and stir until the onion is soft.
- Add the rice, stirring to coat with the oil, cooking for a minute or so.
- Pour in the wine and cook and stir until the wine is almost all absorbed.
- Add 3 cups of the vegetable broth.
- Close the lid and over high heat bring the cooker to high pressure. (This is when jiggle-top cookers make lots of noise. On my Kuhn-Rikon, 2 red rings are visible on the pop-up valve.)
- Lower the heat, making sure to maintain the high pressure, and cook for 4 minutes.
- Reduce the pressure by the carrying the cooker to the sink and running cold water over the lid.
- Stir in the spinach and continue to cook over medium heat, uncovered, stirring constantly, about three minutes.
- The spinach should be well wilted and the rice tender to your bite, but with chewy texture.
- Add more broth, stirring, if the rice seems to need a bit more cooking.
- Season generously with black pepper.
- Stir in the lemon juice. Crumble the goat cheese and stir that in.
- Season with more pepper and salt if needed.
- Serve garnished with pecans.
Form cold leftovers into rice cakes and cook in a skillet with plenty of olive oil.