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.
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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.
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.
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:
- In a large pot combine olive oil, diced onion, lamb, salt, pepper, turmeric, ginger, saffron, bay leaves, parsley and cilantro. Brown the lamb on all sides. Move to a medium sized sauce pan and add water, bring to a boil then lower to a simmer on low for 30 minutes or until lamb the lamb is tender and the sauce thickens.
- In the large pot, add olive oil and risotto rice; sauté for 2 minutes to lightly toast the rice. In another medium sized pot, add tomato puree, water and veggie stock and heat over medium.
- Once the broth is warm, 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. Allow the rice to absorb the liquid before adding more broth. Keep adding broth until the risotto is cooked through (this should take about 15 minutes).
- Top the risotto with the lamb & accompanying sauce. Garnish with additional parsley and enjoy!
Pressure Cooker/Instant Pot
- In your instant pot or pressure cooker combine olive oil, diced onion, lamb, salt, pepper, turmeric, ginger, saffron, bay leaves, parsley and cilantro. Using the sauté mode (or just sauté in a pressure cooker), brown the lamb on all sides.
- 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.
- In the Instant Pot 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 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.
- 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.
- 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!