Did I ever tell you I’m in love with my Instant Pot?
Many years (and a lifetime ago), I was making risotto for over seven people in the South of France. I had stumbled upon an old cookbook (yes, all in French!), and it was my job to coordinate a meal that everyone would enjoy. Surprise! There was a risotto recipe that accompanied a meat dish, and everyone was eager to eat this meal. Only, I underestimated the cook time for the large amount of rice, and I ended up with a mostly cooked, gloppy mess. After we scraped what we could out of the pot and ate the meal, I had to clean the pot with a sad little sponge while the others drained the rest of the wine.
But you understand my love affair with my Instant Pot, right? When you need to prepare and/or cook more than 95% of your food from your own kitchen — no sliding out for a quick meal at a greasy spoon somewhere! — you want your meals to be tasty, nutritionally balanced, and of course, fast and easy to make.
Despite really good dental hygiene, my dentist let me know it was time to get some deep cleaning done on a little pocket along my gum line. Getting numbed up is not my favorite experience in the world, so in order to feel better about the whole thing, I planned on trying out the Instant Pot to make risotto. Several weeks ago, I was informed by my local Italian fancy restaurant that they couldn’t safely prepare risotto for me with my additional allium allergy. At first, I got sad. Then I got angry. And then, I got to work!
Allium-Free Risotto With Bacon and Lemon Pepper
Hip Pressure Cooking has a basic pressure cooker risotto recipe from which I am borrowing heavily for this version. There is a good explanation of why you do not need to add the liquid to the rice bit by bit to make the arborio rice creamy.
You also do not need cream or butter, people! Here’s my version:
Serves 4. Cooking Time: 8 minutes
1 Tablespoon coconut oil (or coconut butter spread from Earth Balance), or
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 cups arborio rice
4 cups organic bone broth (beef or chicken)
2 pieces of bacon per serving, cooked and crumbled on the finished dish
Lemon pepper* and salt, to taste
Optional: grated goat cheese (gouda) for the finish
In the heated Instant Pot on Saute setting, add one tablespoon of your favorite oil. Coat the bottom of the pot with the oil, and add the arborio rice. Turn the rice over with spoon for five minutes on high heat. Without the alliums (garlic and onions) that are found in traditional risotto, you won’t see the rice turning transparent nor getting the caramelized consistency you might be used of seeing. That’s OK.
After five minutes, add four cups of broth and stir. Put the cover on the cooker and seal. Make sure the venting valve is set to “Closed”. Set the cooker to “Manual” cooking, and the timer for eight minutes. Cook two pieces of bacon per serving; if I am the only eater, I’m not going to cook extra bacon for another time, as the bacon crispness abates over time in the refrigerator.
After it the cooker has finished cooking, vent the cooker and spread two large spoonfuls of the rice on a plate to breathe. Add lemon pepper, or stir in fresh lemon and crushed pepper directly. Top dish with crumbled bacon, and grate a small amount of goat cheese on top. Lightly toss the ingredients on the plate, allowing the grated cheese to melt into the rice.
If you decide to add vegetables, remember that each vegetable adds liquid to the rice in the cooker, and you may need to adjust the amount of bone broth down. Also, most low-process vegetable broths you can purchase will have both onions and garlic in it, so if you are avoiding alliums, read the label carefully. Same with lemon pepper herb mixes; the “herbs” are usually coriander or dried parsley, and dehydrated onions and garlic.
This is truly one of the easiest risotto dishes I have ever prepared. And it tasted just as good as the stove-top, half hour version that requires you to stir in the liquid one ladleful at a time. I am over the moon with this method of delivering risotto to my mouth, and I hope you will be too.
* see comment below on how to get an allium-free lemon pepper. I personally go to a spice store and buy the ingredients separate. It’s more tedious, but at least you know what’s in it, and you can buy enough to make your own lemon pepper mix for other dishes, such as fish.