It’s been so hot and smoky here in Los Angeles for the last ten days, many nights I just don’t feel like turning on the oven. I’m sure our smoke at the coast is half as bad as some communities, and my heart goes out to those who have lost their homes, or had to evacuate. Easy meals are not just for weeknights when it’s too hot to cook, and especially those that are made in minutes, and taste as good as any chef can prepare in an Italian restaurant. These days, I find myself using my Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker more often than not, and when I tried it out on this risotto recipe, once again, I was amazed.
Saffron Risotto always brings me back to Milan, Italy when my husband and I were cycling through the countryside with a new group of friends. It’s a fairly simple dish and one of my favorites, especially when it’s made just right. Saffron used to be one of those overpriced spices most would complain about on any ingredient list, but today it’s readily available, and you can find it online or at Trader Joe’s for a few bucks. Even the less expensive varieties seem to do the trick, by infusing a fragrant yellow hue upon Arborio rice kernels.
Making this risotto in an Instant Pot is a life changer. For starters, it’s done in less than 20 minutes, it cooks rice to a beautiful al dente, and there is no warming of stock and standing over a Dutch oven, while stirring like a madman for twenty plus minutes. The fresh jumbo shrimp and zucchini are folded into the cooked risotto, and steamed gently, while you wait a handful of minutes, sipping your wine in the kitchen. Now, how’s that for a quick, yet fabulous dinner? I think I have your attention.
1 white onion, diced
2 cups Arborio rice
1/4 teaspoon Saffron threads
1 quart chicken stock
1 zucchini, shredded
1 pound tail-on, peeled & deveined jumbo shrimp, butterflied
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
1 tablespoon butter
salt & pepper
olive oil for cooking
sprigs of fresh oregano, optional
- In an Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker, add 2 teaspoons olive oil and onion and Sauté for 2 minutes. Add rice and stir. Sauté for 1 minute to toast rice. Add saffron, stock, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and stir. Place lid on pot and cook on high pressure for 6 minutes.
- Release pressure manually, add zucchini and shrimp, stir. Place lid back on pot and let rest for 5 minutes. Remove lid and stir. Add 2/3 cup Parmesan cheese and butter, stir to incorporate into rice.
- Pour risotto out onto platter or serving bowl and top with remaining cheese. Sprinkle with fresh oregano, if desired. Enjoy!