Monday, September 23, 2013

Ham Risotto in the Rice Cooker

I make a lot of Asian-inspired rice cooker dishes, but tonight I fancied a more European flavour to my rice.

Rice cookers can be subverted into cooking a risotto. The trick lies in how a rice cooker works. A basic rice cooker heats the carefully measured water and rice mixture until the water evaporates, at which point the temperature rises above 100C and the rice cooker switches off.

To cook a risotto, you need to add more water than the rice needs to cook through, and manually switch off the rice cooker when the rice has finished cooking.

Best of all - with the rice cooker risotto method, there is no need to stand over the pan constantly stirring and adding liquid!

  • 1 squash - preferably butternut
  • 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • Olive Oil + Butter
  • 1 cup risotto rice - Or use sushi rice. They can be used interchangeably.
  • 1/3 cup dried porcini mushroom pieces
  • 1-2 tsp dried sage
  • Diced ham - I used leftovers from a slow-cooked ham
  • 3 or 4 fresh tomatoes, diced
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 1 cup white wine (one 1/3 bottle-sized carton will do)
  • 2 cups water
  • ~100g (half a tub) of cream cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese
Put the squash in the oven to roast.
Switch the rice cooker on to cook mode, and put a slug of olive oil and a knob of butter in its bowl.
Add the onion and garlic, and saute until translucent, stirring with a soft spatula so as not to damage the nonstick bowl lining.
Add the rice and stir to coat in the oil. Let saute for a couple of minutes.
Add the diced ham, dried mushrooms, sage and tomatoes. Crumble the stock cube in too.
Now add the water and wine and mix all together.
Put on the lid, and switch the rice cooker off and on to reset to cook mode.
Set a timer for 20 minutes, and leave it to cook.
When the timer is up, open the rice cooker so it switches to keep warm mode if not there already. Stir gently with your soft spatula, and check the consistency of the rice, which shoud by now be cooked through. If not, give it another few minutes. Stir in the cream cheese.
Take the roasted squash from the oven. Peel, de-seed and dice its flesh.
Add to the risotto and stir through.
Adjust the seasoning, stir through some grated parmesan cheese, and serve.