This Moroccan lamb risotto recipe is inspired by one of my favorite dishes made by my grandma. Made with tender lamb, fresh herbs and a flavorful tomato broth, this risotto is so creamy and so delicious. Using arborio rice, this recipe can be made on the stove, or also in an Instant Pot or pressure cooker.

a plate of Moroccan lamb risotto

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If you’re inspired by this dish you can check out my collection of Authentic Moroccan recipes to find classics like this Tomato Salad and Chicken Tagine with olives.

Ingredients

For the Lamb Sauce:

  • large yellow onion, minced
  • olive oil
  • lamb stew meat (you can also use beef) cut into cubes
  • minced parsley
  • minced cilantro
  • salt
  • pepper
  • ginger
  • turmeric
  • red pepper flakes
  • saffron
  • bay leaves
  • water

For the Tomato Risotto:

  • olive oil
  • arborio rice
  • tomato puree
  • vegetable stock or water
  • salt to taste
Moroccan lamb with spices and onions.

How to Cook Risotto Stovetop vs. Instant Pot

It get’s a bad wrap for being tricky to cook, partially because for the stove top version you need to warm the broth separately and ladle it in slowly. But aside from that extra step, it’s not too difficult.

Cooking it in the Instant Pot or in a pressure cooker is pretty awesome as it skips that step completely and cooks the rice perfectly without much effort.

Here’s how to make it both ways:

Stovetop

Stovetop:

  1. In a large pot combine olive oil, half of the diced onion, lamb, salt, pepper, turmeric, ginger, bay leaves, parsley and cilantro. Brown the lamb on all sides.
  2. Move the lamb and sauce to a medium sized sauce pan and add water, bringing to a boil before lowering to a simmer and covering for 30 minutes or until lamb the lamb is tender and the sauce has thickened slightly.
  3. In another medium sized pot veggie stock, saffron, and salt and bring to a boil.
  4. In the same large pot the lamb was cooked in, add olive oil and remaining half of the diced onion. Sauté until the onions become softened and fragrant then add rice. Sauté for 2 minutes to lightly toast the rice before adding in the tomato puree and cooking until the liquid begins to evaporate. 
  5. Once the broth is boiling, start to ladle in it into the rice a half cup at a time, taking breaks in between to mix the rice with a wooden spoon frequently. Allow the rice to absorb the liquid before adding more broth. Keep adding broth until the risotto is cooked through (this should take 15-20 minutes). 
  6. Add salt to taste to the risotto and serve the lamb & accompanying sauce over top. Garnish with additional parsley and enjoy!

Pressure Cooker/Instant Pot:

  1. In your instant pot or pressure cooker combine olive oil, half diced onion, lamb, salt, pepper, turmeric, ginger, bay leaves, parsley and cilantro. Using the sauté mode (or just sauté in a pressure cooker), brown the lamb on all sides.
  2. Move this mixture to a medium sized sauce pan and add water; bring to a boil then lower to a simmer on medium low for 30 minutes or until water has reduced to a thicker sauce.
  3. In the Instant Pot add olive oil, remaining half of onion, and risotto rice; sauté for 2 minutes to lightly toast the rice and sauté the onion. Add tomato puree, water and veggie stock and cover the Instant Pot, setting it to Risotto mode for 6 minutes. Use the quick release to open up your risotto, stir, and season with salt to taste.
  4. In the Pressure Cooker add olive oil and risotto rice; sauté for 2 minutes to lightly toast the rice. Add tomato puree, water and veggie stock and cover the pressure cooker, securing the valve and setting to pressure. Bring the pressure up over high heat before lowering and cooking for 6 minutes. Carefully quick release with some cold water over the top of the pressure cooker, and remove the lid, watching to not burn yourself with steam. 
  5. Taste the risotto to see if it needs any salt or if it needs to be cooked any more. If so, turn up the heat and sauté until cooked to your liking. Top the risotto with the lamb & accompanying sauce. Garnish with additional parsley and enjoy!

Lessons from my Grandma

Ever since I was little, communicating with my relatives in Morocco was limited because we spoke different languages.

My grandma grew up in a small village outside of Marrakech and only speaks Berber and some Moroccan Arabic; I only speak English. The one thing that we were always able to connect through was food.

Every other summer when I visited her in Morocco I would spend hours in the kitchen watching her chop herbs, grill fish and squeeze lemons.

I learned so much from someone I barely spoke to; those lessons and hours spent together are part of why I love food and cooking so much.

I sometimes feel pressure when exploring with Moroccan cooking, because I’ve got some big shoes to fill. Especially with this recipe.

If I could teleport you to my grandma’s apartment in Rabat and have her make you the real deal, let’s just say mine can’t compete.

That said, I’m pretty proud of what I created. This Moroccan Lamb Risotto combines creamy risotto cooked in fresh tomatoes with tender lamb, fresh herbs and caramelized onion.

Let’s talk Instant Pots

While this recipe is much easier using the Instant Pot or pressure cooking method to cook the risotto, it can be done on the stovetop as well.

Use the stock and tomato puree as the broth to slowly cook your risotto as directed on the packaging of your Arborio rice.

What’s the Best Rice for Risotto?

Arborio rice is the rice you’ll need. You can find it on Amazon but I recommend checking your local grocery store first.

a plate of Moroccan lamb risotto

What is a Good Substitute for Arborio Rice?

Orzo is the pasta my grandma uses instead of arborio rice.

To use orze as a substitute, cook in the same amount of liquid you would cook the risotto in but for the recommended time on the pasta box.

Print
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a plate of Moroccan lamb risotto

Moroccan Lamb Risotto Recipe

  • Author: Salima Benkhalti
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 34 servings 1x
  • Category: Risotto
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: Moroccan

Description

This Moroccan lamb risotto recipe is inspired by one of my favorite dishes made by my grandma. Made with tender lamb, fresh herbs and a flavorful tomato broth, this risotto is so creamy and so delicious. Using arborio rice, this recipe can be made on the stove, or also in an Instant Pot or pressure cooker. 


Ingredients

Scale

For the Lamb Sauce:

  • 1 large yellow onion, minced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/22 lbs lamb stew meat (you can also use beef) cut into cubes
  • 3 tbsp minced parsley
  • 3 tbsp minced cilantro
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 ½ cups water

For the Tomato Risotto:

  • 23 strands saffron
  • 45 cups vegetable stock or water (adding more if needed to cook risotto through)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 ½  cups arborio rice
  • 1 cup tomato puree


Instructions

Stovetop:

  1. In a large pot combine olive oil, half of the diced onion, lamb, salt, pepper, turmeric, ginger, saffron, bay leaves, parsley and cilantro. Brown the lamb for about 5 minutes.
  2. Move the lamb and sauce to a medium sized sauce pan and add water, bringing to a boil before lowering to a simmer and covering for 30 minutes or until lamb the lamb is tender and the sauce has thickened slightly.
  3. In another medium sized pot veggie stock, saffron and salt and bring to a boil.
  4. In the same large pot the lamb was cooked in, add olive oil and remaining half of the diced onion over medium heat. Sauté until the onions become soft and fragrant then add rice. Sauté for 2 minutes to lightly toast the rice before adding in the tomato puree and cooking until the liquid begins to evaporate. 
  5. Once the broth is boiling, start to ladle in it into the rice a few ladles full at a time, taking breaks in between to mix the rice with a wooden spoon frequently. Allow the rice to absorb the liquid before adding more broth. Keep adding broth until the risotto is cooked through (this should take 15-20 minutes). 
  6. Add salt to taste to the risotto and serve the lamb & accompanying sauce over top. Garnish with additional parsley and enjoy!

Pressure Cooker/Instant Pot:

  1. In your instant pot or pressure cooker combine olive oil, half diced onion, lamb, salt, pepper, turmeric, ginger, bay leaves, parsley and cilantro. Using the sauté mode (or just sauté in a pressure cooker), brown the lamb on all sides.
  2. Move this mixture to a medium sized sauce pan and add water; bring to a boil then lower to a simmer on medium low for 30 minutes or until water has reduced to a thicker sauce.
  3. In the Instant Pot add olive oil, remaining half of onion, and risotto rice; sauté for 2 minutes to lightly toast the rice and sauté the onion. Add tomato puree, water, saffron, and veggie stock and cover the Instant Pot, setting it to Risotto mode for 6 minutes. Use the quick release to open up your risotto, stir, and season with salt to taste.
  4. In the Pressure Cooker add olive oil and risotto rice; sauté for 2 minutes to lightly toast the rice. Add tomato puree, water, saffron, and veggie stock and cover the pressure cooker, securing the valve and setting to pressure. Bring the pressure up over high heat before lowering and cooking for 6 minutes. Carefully quick release with some cold water over the top of the pressure cooker, and remove the lid, watching to not burn yourself with steam. 
  5. Taste the risotto to see if it needs any salt or if it needs to be cooked any more. If so, turn up the heat and sauté until cooked to your liking. Top the risotto with the lamb & accompanying sauce. Garnish with additional parsley and enjoy!

Keywords: Moroccan Risotto, Instant Pot Risotto, Lamb Risotto