Judith Barrett Dishes on the Perfect Risotto


Judith Barrett knows her risotto. Besides the fact that she’s a well-known food writer and cookbook author (she was a regular contributor to The Boston Globe food pages for twelve years), she spends one-third of her time in Cambridge, one-third in Rome, and one-third in Forte de Marmi.

So basically, she has plenty of experience eating (and cooking) just like the Italians do – and that means making risotto in a pressure cooker. “It’s the fastest by far [to cook risotto],” Barrett says. “And it produces an almost perfectly textured risotto that’s closest to the risotto you get from the classic stand-and-stir technique.”

A faster way to make risotto? I’m sold. “The [pressure cooker] technique has been around for years,” explains Barrett. “And while it may be surprising to some, Europeans in general have long embraced the pressure cooker for its convenience, and Italians in particular have been using the pressure cooker for making risotto and countless other dishes.”

Cooking risotto in a pressure cooker or on top of the stove both start and end the same way. But using the pressure cooker has some important differences: most of the broth is added all at once instead of increments, and the pressure cooker risotto requires less broth than the stove-top method.

“But remember,” warns Judith, “always follow the manufacturers’ directions for using your pressure cooker, and always follow the cooking time for pressure cooker risotto exactly.”

Convinced you need to make risotto? Our Fissler Boutique opened Wednesday, August 27, at 11AM ET.

Want to make more of Barrett’s recipes at home? You can download her new e-books – Saved by Soup and From an Italian Garden – online at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

By Melissa Mann, Staff Writer

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