Friday, January 6, 2017

Cookbook Countdown: Risotto with Porcini

Continuing with my home-grown Pressure Cooker Month, our main meal today was Risotto with Porcini, from Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure (p154), by Lorna Sass. The recipe says it serves six as an appetizer and four as a main course. I halved the recipe as a main course for two and that was a good portion.

This is another book I've had around for a while and, I discover, have actually used few times already. I have a couple of other books by Sass and my memory is that while they have some good recipes, she is afraid of spicy food. That's okay as long as you know. 

While dried porcini (cêpes) are soaking, slice up some leeks and garlic. When the mushrooms have soaked, left them from the liquid, rinse, drain, and chop coarsely. Pour the soaking liquid through a fine-meshed sieve, then add enough vegetable stock to make some more than twice the volume of rice you will use. (For my half recipe, I used 3/4 cup arborio rice and 1-3/4 cup liquid.) Sauté the leeks and garlic briefly in olive oil, then add the rice along with some dried oregano. Stir to coat the rice with the oil, then add the porcini-stock liquid and some salt. Close the pot, bring to pressure, and cook at high pressure for five minutes. 

I discovered that the sound my new rocker-less pressure cooker makes when it's at pressure is more like PSSS to my ear than PSCHHHT, so today's cooking went off much smoother than yesterday's without any burning action. The risotto was perfect.

One of the nice things about this risotto is that it's on the table in way less than 30 minutes with minimal effort. The first bit of the cooking is the same as a regular risotto, but once you've added the rice and oiled it down, you just add all the liquid, close the pot, and let it cook. That part is done is less than ten minutes where I wasn't standing there stirring in the stock ladleful by ladleful.

N.B.: A couple of people have expressed Fear of Pressure Cookers on yesterday's post. I have to admit I used to fall into that category, mostly, I expect, because I didn't grow up around one. They seemed a bit scary. Probably my mother had the same problem. On the other hand, Ed grew up with one and, when I met him, about the only cooking he did was pressuring vegetables into submission. His original pressure cooker is the we've recently retired.

I've learned that there's really not much that can go seriously wrong when you're pressure cooking. Modern pressure cookers (certainly all those from the last half of the 20C) are equipped with a plug that relieves the pressure if it should get dangerously high (which can happen if there's not enough liquid). No explosion, just a (rather startling) Pow! as the little rubber plug hits the ceiling. We've actually had this happen. 

January starts a new year with Cookbook Countdown. Why don't you choose a book, or two, or more, from your cookbook shelf and join in?


  1. It is inspiring that you didn't grow up with a pressure cooker and were a little leery of them as well and now here you are, educating us all on the benefits of using one. Risotto is such a short time is definitely a benefit. It looks so good!

  2. Mom used to use here cooker all the time. Tough meat, at times, was all we could afford I guess. Since I grew up with one it was the first thing on my Wedding gift list. Been using mine for almost 40 years until I retired it this month. Have replaced several gaskets. I've never made risotto under pressure. Have to try this one as I do love a good risotto.

  3. First time I come across a recipe cooking risotto in a pressure cooker. Sounds interesting and glad that the risotto was cooked to perfection!
    I have to get over my fear of using pressure cooker one of these days. Hopefully I'll find myself buying one, without any hesitation on my part! :)