March 05, 2007

Quick meal

We had an unexpected guest arrive just before dinner last week so I changed our meal plan for the evening in order to spend more time with our guest. Instead of what I had previously planned, I made quick pressure cooker risotto, baked sweet potato fries and brussels sprouts.

My husband's favorite vegetable is Brussel's Sprouts so I always keep fresh ones on hand, and I happened to have a few sweet potatoes that were originally going into my Tunisian stew later in the week. Risotto in the pressure cooker takes 8 minutes (compared to 30 the original way with constant stirring), so it was a no-brainer last minute dish. I dropped in a pinch too much of saffron this time and it was much more yellow in color than it usually is! Oops.

Both of our foster children will eat anything (read: not picky) and they love all the different vegetables that I've introduced to them, so pleasing them isn't hard. Both my husband and I adore all vegetables (being vegetarians for so long), but I was slightly worried about our guest. I need not to have feared! This last minute meal was proclaimed over by said guest and seconds were served all around!

Quick pressure cooker Risotto

In pressure cooker, saute a large onion, chopped, and 2 cloves of garlic in some Earth Balance or olive oil for 5 minutes. Add in 2 1/2 cups of arborio rice* and cook stirring constantly, 2 minutes. Pour in 5 cups of warm broth, 1/2 cup dry white wine or sherry (or another 1/2 cup of broth), and a pinch of saffron. Stir, add lid, bring to high pressure, lower heat, cook 8 minutes. When done, release pressure quickly, remove lid, and still over low heat, stir in 1/2 - 1 cup shredded cheese. I usually use a mixture of Parmesan and Gruyere, but it's all about taste, so experiment. I usually add salt and pepper to taste at this point and continue stirring for another few minutes until the desired consistency is reached. Top with fresh chopped herbs of your choice.
While adding cheese, stir in whatever cooked vegetable you like. We often have sauteed mushrooms topped with fresh thyme, or asparagus and carrots topped with dill. I recently read an excellent recipe that uses fresh radicchio [rah-DEE-KEE-oh] so we will be trying that next.

*It's important to use arborio rice, which is a short, fat grained rice to achieve perfect risotto. It can absorb a lot of liquid yet still retain a slight 'bite' to it when done.

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