When life gives you bok choy, don’t do what I did.

Risotto with Bok Choy and Shrimp (aka Trash Can Risotto)

Warning: If you plan to make this recipe without modifications, then you had better clear out some space in your trash can.

I chose this recipe because I was looking for a non-Asian use for the baby bok choy that came in our produce box. Also called Chinese cabbage, bok choy is a common ingredient in Asian cuisine, and especially in stir-fries. Unfortunately, Bill isn’t a stir-fry kind of guy, so I went searching for a bok choy recipe that we could both enjoy. Risotto seemed to fit the bill, and an added bonus was that it gave me an excuse to try cooking risotto in my new pressure cooker.

This recipe was cobbled together from a number of sources. The pressure cooker method actually worked quite well for making the risotto. I added the shrimp and bok choy for the last few minutes of cooking. Everything seemed to be coming together marvelously until the last step… (Don’t be fooled by the picture!)

Nearly Inedible Risotto with Bok Choy and Shrimp
(adapted from various well-meaning Internet sources)


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 large shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lemongrass, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups (10 ounces) arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup vermouth
  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups chicken broth
  • 3/4 pound shrimp, uncooked
  • 4 heads baby bok choy, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons cream cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Cook the shallot and lemongrass in olive oil in the pressure cooker pot until the shallot becomes translucent.
  2. Add the rice and stir to thoroughly coat with oil.
  3. Add the vermouth and stir constantly while it reduces.
  4. Stir in 3 1/2 cups of chicken broth, then lock the lid in place and bring the pressure cooker to high pressure over high heat. Reduce the heat to just maintain high pressure for 5 minutes.
  5. Release the pressure using the quick-release valve and then remove the lid.
  6. Stir in the raw shrimp and baby bok choy, and cook for an additional few minutes until the shrimp is cooked and the risotto is tender.
  7. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  8. DON’T add the cream cheese under any circumstances!!!
  9. If you didn’t listen to me and added cream cheese, then go and throw it in the trash.

Edibility Evaluation

Even before I added the cream cheese bomb, it was clear that my risotto concoction was not destined for culinary greatness. It would have been decent, though – maybe a 3.5 or 4 on the edibility scale. Unfortunately, the cream cheese pushed it over the edge from goes-down-smooth creaminess to hits-your-stomach-like-a-brick pastiness. I hasten to mention that the bok choy is not at all to blame for this failure. Its leaves wilted nicely into the risotto, and the crunchy stalk added some good textural contrast. Ultimately, however, I could not ignore that the final product was borderline inedible. Bill took a bite and gave it a 2.5. He then proceeded to heat up his leftover steak and potatoes. Mercifully, I gave it a 2.8 since I think there is some merit to the risotto/shrimp/bok choy combination. The recipe just didn’t come together so well. We’re still waiting to hear what the trash can thought.


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