|Macaroni and cheese, Italian style.|
I have two pressure cookers (both made by Lagostina), which in fact use different methods of releasing steam in the event of overpressurization (One, a non-jiggling valve release with a backup safety valve, pictured left. The other, uses a more common rubber gasket method, on right). That still doesn't mean you should fall asleep or pop over to your neighbor's while using a pressure cooker. (In fact, I strongly recommend the use of a timer that you will hear without fail, to let you know when to turn the heat down from high to low, which is crucial). Used responsibly, the pressure cooker can be a very useful device in the kitchen. Particularly in today's kitchen, where it can reduce cooking times by a fraction. In addition, more vitamins and minerals are retained, and vegetables keep their natural color because they are not exposed to oxygen during cooking. Plus, it can do magic tricks like the following, where you cook a risotto without touching it....
1 cup arborio rice
1 quantity of dried herbs (e.g. basil, thyme, oregano or italian herb seasoning)
1 jar artichoke hearts in oil, chopped (retain oil)
1 T chicken bouillon powder (or stock, if ya wanna get fancy)
1/4 teaspoon saffron (American, or the good stuff)
2 1/4 cups water
Rinse arborio rice. Pour some oil from jar into pressure cooker pot, enough to cover bottom of pot. On med-low, saute the rice grains. Add herbs and saffron, sauté a bit more. Add the artichokes, stir. Add 2 1/4c water and 1 full T(ablespoon) of chicken bouillon powder, stir (or 2 1/4c of chicken stock, if you have that). Replace the cover on the pressure cooker. Heat to high, and once the valve is raised (or steam is being released, depending on your model), turn the heat to low. Set timer for 10m. Once done, bring the cooker over to the sink and run cold water over the lid, or slowly release the lid lever, and release the steam, if possible (depending on your model's release method). Rice should be perfect. Season with pepper if desired.