Monday, May 16, 2016

8 Minute Mushroom Risotto

Pressure cookers scare me. It's not from any experience that I've had with them, good or bad, I've had none, but I well remember the stories from my youth of my grandmother trying to use her stove-top version to make applesauce and having to bring in a ladder in order to wash off the ceiling. Mr. O-P felt the same, having been scarred in his youth by witnessing a similar explosion. So when I was offered one to test from the makers of the Power Pressure Cooker XL, I have to admit to being a bit wary. My fears were not assuaged in reading the accompanying usage manual that suggested this not be used by persons with “reduced physical, sensory, or mental capabilities, or lack of experience and knowledge…” Yikes! I had to seriously question whether or not I fell into any of these categories.
My first use was the seasoning process, easily done with nothing more than water. Thinking back, I shouldn't have used up all of the ice when filling a pitcher with freshly brewed iced tea because, at about the same time I turned the pressure cooker on, new ice dropped from the maker with a crash into the newly emptied bin, and I immediately hit the floor, fearing the worst. Can you say edgy? Mr. O-P was particularly worried that the top might be launched from the unit causing me some sort of disfiguring injury. Suffice it to say that we needed cocktails before putting it to use.

Last night, too tired to cook, but knowing we both needed something, and loathe to serve my usual easy meal of a bowl of Doritos, I decided to make mushroom risotto. To me, this would be the true test of whether this thing had value or not because while I truly love risotto, I truly hate making it, and, when I do, seldom get the hoped for results.
There was a bit of chopping involved -- onion, mushrooms, garlic, fresh basil, but that was it. The beauty of modern pressure cookers is that you can cook, sear, and sauté, right in the unit prior to pressure cooking, and avoid a lot of messy cleanup.

My sautéing accomplished, I stirred in the other ingredients, holding both cream and Parmesan aside for later addition, put the lid on, closed the vent, and waited while the pressure built up and the risotto cooked for 8 minutes. Yes, eight. Minutes. No stirring, no slowly adding stock and waiting for it to evaporate before adding more, just relaxing in front of a not-very-relaxing baseball game while the time counted down.

Once it did, and the pressure was manually released by moi, I opened the lid. Frankly, it didn't look like much. The onions had risen to the top, and I was convinced this was a failure of monstrous proportions, but I dutifully poured in the heavy cream and Parmesan and began to fold everything together. As I did, the most beautiful risotto began to appear, the earthy mushroom aroma delighting my senses. I was stunned. And not only did it look good, but it was delicious. Stunned x 2. To my way of thinking, it is well worth the price and storage space to have one of these for the risotto alone.

It also has a handy "keep warm" feature to which it defaults upon completion of cooking. You'll find this enormously handy when your husband asks for "just a taste" of yours, and ends up polishing off the entire bowl!

It's not often that I get this excited about an appliance, but I am. Giddy, in fact. And now I cannot wait to see what else I can do. Oh, and clean up...did I mention that it is a breeze? Wow. Power Pressure Cooker XL, where have you been all of my life?!

Mushroom Risotto
Recipe courtesy of Power Pressure Cooker XL

2 ounces olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups Arborio rice
4 ounces dry sherry
4 cups homemade chicken stock
8 ounces crimini mushrooms, sliced
4 ounces heavy cream
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 ounce fresh basil, chiffonade

Place the inner pot into the pressure cooker. Push the Rice/Risotto button; adjust time to 8 minutes.

As the pressure cooker heats, place the oil in the pressure cooker to warm, and sweat the onions and garlic together for 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms, stir, and cook an additional 3 minutes.

Add the rice, sherry, and chicken stock; mix to evenly distribute mushrooms.

Place the lid on the cooker, locking it in place, and switch the pressure value to the "closed" position.

Once the timer reaches "0," the cooker will automatically switch to "Keep Warm." Switch the pressure valve to "Rapid Release." When the steam is completely released, remove the lid.

Stir the heavy cream into the rice mixture, and fold in the Parmesan cheese and basil.  Serve.

If you’d like to own your own personal Power Pressure Cooker XL (and you know you want one), you can order one online by clicking here.
I received a Power Pressure Cooker XL free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

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Unknown said...

I too need to get over my fear of pressure cookers. Commenting mainly to say that you jumping at the sound ice falling into the bin gave me a good laugh. I would have done the same thing!


Deborah Lacy said...

I love mushroom risotto! I will have to give this one a try.