If you are feeling weary from cancer treatment and are looking for something tasty yet soothing, this dish is it. The vegetables are diced small, about the same size as the peas, cooked separately,... and stirred in at the very end so that they keep their color and bite. Although you can make risotto the old-fashioned way, with elbow grease and stirring, a pressure cooker makes short work of risotto — a boon during cancer treatment when less work is definitely better — so that’s the method of choice here. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, check our Chef Tips for the classic way to make this easy, delicious summer treat.
In a small pot, bring the stock to a boil over high heat. Cover and turn the heat off. Set aside.
Meanwhile in a pressure cooker, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. When it starts to ripple, add ½ the shallots and sprinkle with salt. Cook stirring until they turn transparent.
Add the rice and cook, stirring until it starts to get translucent round the edges. Add all the warm stock. Stir to mix. Place the lid on the pressure cooker and lock. Once the pressure comes up, lower the heat to medium, and cook for 6 minutes.
Once the rice has cooked under pressure for 6 minutes, take it off the stove and immediately run under cold water over the lid to release the pressure. It will give a big sigh when it does this. Turn off the water and open the cooker. You will have a soupy-looking risotto with rice that is chewy and barely al dente.
While the rice is cooking, melt 1 teaspoon of the butter in a small saute pan. When it foams, add the remaining shallots and cook, stirring until they are transparent, about 1 minute. Add the carrots and zucchini and sprinkle with salt. Saute until they start to soften and become tender, about 5 minutes. By this time the rice should be ready.
Take the risotto back to the stove and quickly bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Stir the sauteed carrots and zucchini, then the frozen peas and cook for 1 minute. Turn off the heat and vigorously stir in the remaining butter, Parmesan, and the lemon zest. Cover. Let sit for 5 minutes. The risotto will now be creamy-looking instead of soupy, and the rice will be al dente. Taste for salt. Serve with extra grated cheese if desired.