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Working on the recipes for an Italian-Style Easter Dinner Class, I knew I wanted to include an INSTANT POT (IP) something for fun, interest, change of pace, and because so many people ask me about IP.  After testing any number of recipes for an upcoming cookbook (not mine), working on translating a few of my own soup recipes to IP, and reading a couple of IP cookbooks, I decided– given the Italian theme and the stellar risotto coming out of the IP– that the recipe had to be risotto. And since it was spring, that meant asparagus. Of course it’s Lent, so fish needed to make an appearance for Friday. It needed a bit of thinking…


Instant Pot basics here.  Favorite books and blogs listed at the bottom of this post.


Years ago, after a couple of trips to Italy, a dear friend became stuck on risotto, as did many others at the time.  (Don’t pronounce those two t’s as a “d” and make sure the accent is on the middle syllable.) There was risotto this and risotto that; there were whole books of risottos. You might remember.  After a while, I began to make some myself and it soon became apparent that with one solid method, I could make just about any kind of risotto I wanted. Thank you very much. And I didn’t need to stir it every minute either–what a discovery! I enjoyed buying ingredients and making, well, more than a few risottos.

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Blogging aside:  I was justifiably a bit proud of the above dish, but discovered that when my husband shared it on fb, a friend of his said something like the following about it, “This would really be great if you’d pour a bunch of olive oil all over it and slide the whole shebang directly into the nearest garbage can.”  The internet can be a pride crusher!  Recipe here.

What I also learned was that I could, by including a just few–not too many at a time–tasty ingredients whiling away in the fridge, make a whole new pretty special and swank dinner and get rid of leftovers, too. Let’s say there was a small dish of w(h)iney sautéed mushrooms or 2 lonely cold shrimp with a few lemony green beans.  Stir up the risotto and, at the end, toss those in. (Dice the shrimp, right?) Two pieces of bacon and a 1/4 cup of green peas? Same deal, though I’d cook the bacon first, remove and chop it, make the rice and then throw it in at the end with the peas. The process, which I’ll teach my class, remains the same.  Here’s Mark Bittman’s take on it; I learned a lot from him.

 Want to make a whole grain brown rice risotto?

If you use one of Mark Bittman’s basic recipes, the process can be memorized and adjusted to fit the ingredients at hand. After a few tries, you’ll have perfect risotto that you’ve added a little ham to one night or thrown in your chopped ripe garden tomatoes another. However you do it, my guess is you’ll catch on and make this part of your repertoire if it isn’t yet.  Inexpensive? Yummy? You bet on both counts.

In the meantime, get out your INSTANT POT–or use the stovetop version– and try my quick version this Friday night. Not cooking Friday fish? Skip the salmon addition and use this recipe for your best Easter or spring dinner side:

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INSTANT POT SALMON AND ASPARAGUS RISOTTO WITH LEMON

4 main course servings

Recipe calls for one small fillet of cooked (leftover?) salmon. You could sub a small can of drained and flaked salmon, if you like, or several cooked, chopped shrimp. I also include links for microwave or pan-cooked salmon directions in the notes below. If you haven’t yet used your IP, please read manual well before beginning. I liked this with a side of fresh tomatoes.

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound asparagus, trimmed, and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 large shallots, diced — can sub 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper, plus more for garnish
  • 4 cups (32 ounces) chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 ounces cooked salmon, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces**
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 2 ounces  Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated –about 1/2 cup

Select SAUTE on the IP and adjust to normal.  Add 2 tablespoons of the oil to the pot. When hot, add asparagus and cook 4-5 minutes, stirring, until softened. Press CANCEL.  Remove asparagus to a bowl and set aside.

Select SAUTE on the IP once more and adjust to normal.  Add the other 2 tablespoons of oil. When hot, add shallots and rice.  Cook, stirring, another 4-5 minutes or until rice is translucent and lightly toasted. Press CANCEL.

Stir in salt, pepper, chicken broth and water.  Secure the lid and close the pressure-release valve.  Select MANUAL and cook at high pressure for 6 minutes.  When completed, use a quick/manual release and depressurize.*

Remove lid and add asparagus; stir for a minute or two until creamy. Add cooked salmon, lemon zest and Parmigiano-Reggiano; stir together gently. Serve hot garnished with another grind or two of fresh ground black pepper.

* Wait the float valve drops down before removing lid.

**No leftover salmon? Microwave instructions here. Pan-cooked Salmon here.

Stove top recipe: Sauté chopped asparagus with a tablespoon of oil in a skillet until tender and set aside.  Cook salmon, if needed (instructions just above.) Heat broth and 1/2 cup water to boiling and move to back burner. Heat oil in a 3-4-quart heavy pot over medium heat and sauté shallots until softened. Stir in rice and cook a few minutes until translucent and a bit toasted.  Pour in wine, add salt and cook down, stirring. Add 2 ladles full of broth and cook, stirring regularly until absorbed.  Repeat until broth is used and rice is tender. Stir in reserved asparagus, cheese, grated lemon; cover for two minutes. Uncover and stir in cooked salmon gently. Serve hot with freshly grated black pepper and tomatoes, if using.

{printable recipe}

Leftovers?  Should you have any. #1. Good right out of the fridge.  #2. Make patties and fry them up like crab cakes. Whoa.


BOOKS AND BLOGS FEATURING INSTANT POTS:

I’m not at a place where I’ve used enough recipes from either these books to say they’re the best of the bunch, but they are the ones I chose and so far I haven’t wanted others, of which there are many. As to the first, I would trust any book by Melissa Clark and the second one, INSTANT POT MIRACLE (bought at COSTCO for only $13.99), is authorized by Instant Pot. I do wish the latter had an indicated author(s); instead there are a few recipes attributed to bloggers, but little else. Someone, or a few someones, wrote that book!

Dinner in an Instant  by Melissa Clark

Instant Pot Miracle–Editors at Houghton-Mifflin

BLOGS:  Kalyn Denny’s blog, SLOW COOKER OR PRESSURE COOKER, for more favorite recipes for IP and slow cookers. Or check out PRESSURECOOKINGTODAY, which also contains a review of the Crock-Pot version of the electric pressure cooker.

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Sing a new song and eat a little fish, why don’t you?

Alyce