Gentle Reader, life with picky eaters is my cross to bear. I was a picky eater as a kid, overcame it by taking over some of the cooking, and now I have to pay a karmic tax. This is typically solved by offering painless ways for people to customize a dish at the table.
If you are playing along at home and made some Vegetable Stock, now is your time to shine. Risotto is almost like a rice porridge, but not cooked as long. It’s rice, stock, and flavor. For the sake of my sanity, this version is made in the InstantPot. It is hands off, sautés and cooks in a single pot, and I can teach the Practical Cooks Junior to use it. Winning!
InstantPot Vegetable Risotto Two Ways
This recipe was adapted from Melissa Clark’s InstantPot Cookbook, Dinner in an Instant, which I recommend. She can flat out cook, so if she says this kitchen device is worth owning, I listen. I use her Yogurt recipe on a biweekly basis as well.
Here’s her recipe for Saffron Risotto.
Here’s how I adapted it:
- Double the recipe for a family of 4.
- I don’t have white wine in the house, so I substituted white wine vinegar. It was on the brink of too strong for me, but everyone else loved it. You can also use apple juice, or you could do some lemon juice and a bit of white wine vinegar. Or just use the wine if you have it!
- I don’t own a mortar and pestle, though I wish I did. I used a spoon and a bowl for the saffron, which I do own. Be sparing in your use of it, it is strong stuff. It makes a beautiful color. Omit if you don’t have it, but make sure you season the dish with salt, fresh herbs, lemon juice, etc. to make up for the loss.
- I used my unsalted veggie stock, but I seasoned it with a bit of white miso that I keep on hand. You can just add salt, but make sure your stock has flavor before you add it to the dish.
The Two Ways
1 package of unseasoned peas
several ounces of mushrooms, mixture of your choice, cleaned, stemmed, sliced (save those scraps in the freezer for mushroom stock)
good quality butter
salt and pepper
stem of fresh rosemary (optional but delicious)
- Prepare the peas according to package instructions, cooking them for the least amount of time. If you have baby peas, use them, but the larger tougher peas work really well here. Drain the peas, season with a hunk of good butter and some crunchy salt. Leave on the table as a side dish or additive to the risotto.
- Heat a medium pan over a strong medium heat, adding a good dollop of olive oil when it is hot. Add the mushrooms, salt and pepper them, and add the rosemary. Cook until they lose a lot of their water, stirring constantly, and adding a bit of oil or salt if you need. When the mushrooms are a bit browned and cooked through, taste them and adjust seasoning as needed. Serve as a side dish or additive to the risotto.
For me, I added peas and mushrooms to my bowl, split the risotto and had each one separately. Others opted out of mushrooms and just had pea risotto. And still another contingent mixed everything, added more parmesan, and chowed down. There is no wrong answer.