In Italy this saffron risotto is known as "risotto alla Milanese", "risotto giallo" or "risotto allo zafferano". Whatever you call it, it is THE king of risottos, the simplest yet the most known of all. The traditional preparation would require 20 minutes of stirring and cooking, but I managed to learn how to prepare a good risotto in the pressure cooker; I swear, you won't notice the difference! I have provided further tips for all your pressure cooker risottos in the notes at the end of the recipe.
750ml vegetable or meat stock
1 small shallot, finely diced
350g Arborio rice
200ml dry white wine
1 good pinch saffron threads soaked in 100ml hot water
30g grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
salt and pepper, to taste
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Warm up the stock in a saucepan over a high heat, bringing to the boil.
Melt 40g butter in a pressure cooker over a low heat then add the shallot and cook and stir for a few minutes. Add all of the rice, then cook and stir for a few minutes until toasted (the rice will absorb the butter and give a nutty smell). Pour in the wine and allow the alcohol to cook off. Add the boiling stock all at once, stir, close and lock the pressure cooker. Increase heat to high.
As soon as the cooker comes to pressure and starts whistling, turn down the heat to low and set a timer for 4 minutes.
Remove from heat and release the pressure using the quick release method on your cooker. Once no longer at pressure, open the cooker and stir well. Add the saffron, 20g butter, grated Parmesan, salt and pepper then stir.
Let the risotto rest for 3 minutes (in this time the rice will expand, soak up the stock and absorb all the flavours). Serve in warmed bowls with extra grated Parmesan cheese.
You can cook any kind of risotto in the pressure cooker. Simply cook the other ingredients (eg mushrooms, pancetta, seafood) separately and add to the rice at the end, just the saffron in this recipe. If using ingredients that require a longer cooking time (like fresh artichokes) you can start by cooking them in the pressure cooker, then adding the rice and finishing all together.
Three Golden Rules...
Make sure to follow these three rules when cooking risotto in pressure cooker:
1. The ratio between rice and stock: the stock has to be slightly more than two times the rice. Example, for 100g of rice, use 220ml of stock. For a creamier risotto, use more stock.
2. The cooking time is 4 minutes sharp after the first whistling. Not one minute longer, not one minute less. When you'll open the cooker, the rice will feel still uncooked but it will get soft in the 3 minutes of resting.
3. Do not skip the resting time. It is essential for the rice to relax, release starch and get that creamy texture typical of the risotto.