It’s been a few years since the Instant Pot hit the scene, and it’s still the darling of the food world. With a repertoire ranging from chili to yogurt to sponge cake, the little device is quite the chameleon. That said, what convinced me to get one for myself isn’t any of that, but rather the simple fact that it cooks perfect, fluffy white rice in just 10 minutes. Only later did it occur to me to ask: What else can I do with this thing?
Turns out, other than making Asian rice really fast, the Instant Pot also makes Italian rice really fast. And by Italian rice, I mean risotto, the dish that tradition would have us stand over the stove and stir, stir, stir. With pressure, it’s not instant–you still have to brown your shallots and toast your rice–but it’s pretty darn fast and a lot less laborious. Stir in some squid ink, top with pan-seared squid, and you have a dish fancy enough to serve at your next dinner party.
1 hr 30 min
- Rinse the squid, then lay out on a tea towel or paper towel-lined baking sheet to dry for at least half an hour. If you’re wondering whether you can skip this step, don’t–drying the squid is the difference between limp, rubbery squid and a lovely golden crust. (While it dries, you can go ahead and cook the risotto.)
- Optional, to keep the squid warm between batches: Preheat the oven to 200°F. Line a separate baking sheet with a silicone mat or aluminum foil and place on the middle rack.
- Pat the squid dry with paper towels for good measure, then slice the bodies into 1/2” rings. If there are any particularly large bunches of tentacles, cut them in half.
- Preheat a cast-iron pan over high heat for several minutes, until screaming hot. Add the olive oil, 1 clove of minced garlic, and a small batch of sliced squid. Make sure not to fill more than a third of the pan–if you crowd the squid, it’ll steam and turn rubbery. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and sear without moving for a minute or two, until light golden in spots. Give the pieces a stir to flip them, then sear for another minute. Transfer to the oven or a plate and repeat with the remaining squid.
Risotto(adapted from Saveur)
- Set an electric pressure cooker to sauté on high heat. Add 3 tbsp olive oil and spread it over the base of the pot. When the oil is hot, add shallots and garlic and cook until softened and aromatic, about 3 minutes.
- Add arborio rice and sauté for another 3-4 minutes, stirring, until rice is lightly toasted. When it’s ready, the rice should be translucent around the edges and cloudy in the middle, like miniature ice cubes.
- Stir in wine and cook until nearly evaporated, 1-2 minutes. Pour in the stock, making sure to scrape in any rice clinging to the edges of the pot. Close the lid and cook on low pressure for 5 minutes.
- Manually depressurize the pressure cooker using the steam release valve. Open the lid, add the squid ink, and stir to combine the rice and stock. The rice should turn a velvety black and absorb most of the stock.
- If the risotto is still too liquidy, switch back to sauté mode and reduce, stirring, until thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Place the lid back on the pressure cooker to keep warm while you sear the squid.
- Stir the lemon zest and juice into the risotto. Add a generous scoop of risotto to each of four warm plates (see tips) and garnish with parsley. Top with the seared squid and an extra wedge of lemon.
- Warm plates: Keep your food warm and your guests happy by serving the risotto on warm plates. To do this, either pour some hot water into each plate and pour out just before serving or add a little water to each plate and microwave for 10 seconds. This trick is great for anything you want to keep warm at the table, such as soup, congee, or curry.
- Where to get squid ink: Here in NYC, I found small jars of cuttlefish ink available for sale at Eataly. It was pretty pricey, but a little goes a long way! Alternatively, you can also purchase cuttlefish ink on Amazon.
- Seafood extravaganza: If you’re feeling extravagant, go all out by adding scallops or prawns, as in the photo. Either one can be quickly seared in the same cast-iron pan as the squid.