I was recently sent a seven-quart pressure cooker from Lagostina to try out, and I have been having a blast using it. A pressure cooker is one kitchen tool that I never explored before, and I am now wondering why it took me so long. My first experiment was risotto, and I was surprised to find that I could prepare perfectly cooked risotto with a creamy base, keeping the rice kernels slightly firm to the tooth just how I like it, in under ten minutes. I may never make risotto any other way again!
My next foray into cooking with the pressure cooker was to prepare Osso Buco all Milanese. This dish has been a family favorite ever since we spent eight years living in Milan when my children were young. I was always taught that veal shanks required a long, slow braise to get them fall off the bone tender, so I was curious to see what would happen in the pressure cooker. I started off my veal shanks in the same manner as I usually would, by browning them first, then adding the vegetables, tomatoes, and both. I then sealed my cooker and let it do its job for the next half an hour or so. When I opened my pot, I was pleased to find fork tender veal shanks in a rich, flavorful sauce. I wanted my sauce to be a little thicker than it was, so I removed the meat to a warm plate, and simply cooked the sauce over high heat until it thickened to my satisfaction. When you can cook tender veal shanks in a pressure cooker in a fraction of the time it takes in the oven; you are certainly tempted to make them more often!
When buying veal shanks, try and choose larger ones cut from the wider end of the shank. These shanks are delicious served alongside a spoonful of creamy Risotto Milanese, mashed potatoes, or creamy polenta. To make the flavors in this dish truly sing, serve the meat topped with a spoonful of gremolata, which is a combination of lemon zest, garlic, and fresh parsley chopped together.
Deborah Mele 2016