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Sunflower-Seed Risotto

Chefs Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman of Memphis’s Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen worked together to make this risotto. Their secret weapon: a pressure cooker.

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 6

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  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • Extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 small onion, minced

  • 1 1/4 pounds shelled raw sunflower seeds (4 cups)

  • 1/2 cup dry white wine

  • 1 quart chicken stock or low-sodium broth

  • 1 ounce thickly sliced country ham, finely diced

  • Salt

  • Freshly ground pepper

  • 1 cup frozen baby peas, thawed

  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


  1. In a pressure cooker, melt the butter in 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat until softened, 3 minutes. Add the sunflower seeds and cook, stirring, 4 minutes. Add the wine; cook until evaporated. Add the stock and ham. Season with salt and pepper; bring to a boil.
  2. Cover and bring the cooker up to pressure. Maintain pressure over low heat for 7 minutes. Set the cooker in the sink and run cold water over the lid to cool and depressurize it; remove the lid once it can be released without force.
  3. Drain the sunflower seeds, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Transfer 1/2 cup of the seeds to a blender along with the 1 cup of reserved cooking liquid and puree until creamy.
  4. Transfer the whole seeds to a skillet. Add the puree, peas and cheese and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the seeds are coated with a creamy sauce, 2 minutes. Spoon the “risotto” into bowls, drizzle with olive oil and serve.

Suggested Pairing

Apple-scented, balanced Chardonnay.

Contributed By Photo © Antonis Achilleos Published July 2012

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