For meals in minutes, the Instant Pot lives up to the hype. I added one to my kitchen about a year ago and right away I loved that it would effortlessly cook staples like dry beans and grains that would otherwise take a lot of time or attention on the stovetop.
What DOESN’T live up to the hype, however, are Instant Pot cookbooks. Not to be overly critical, but without fail, Instant Pot cookbooks seem to be peppered with recipes that require you to turn on the stove, the oven, a blender, or a food processor to make other components of a dish while your Instant Pot is working. That, to me, defeats the purpose of the Instant Pot!
The best Instant Pot meals happen right inside the pot (meaning they don’t require you to cook anything else simultaneously), and significantly reduce the time you’d typically spend cooking the same dish on the stove or in the oven. That’s not too much to ask, right?
This is exactly why risotto is such a winner in the Instant Pot! It takes way less time, essentially zero minutes of attention or stirring (typically the aspect of risotto that intimidates most cooks), and even uses substantially less broth (saving more for another recipe!) to achieve the same creamy, comforting effect. If you own an Instant Pot and haven’t tried risotto yet, here’s a place to start. Once you see the basic formula, you can add your own favorite veggies and herbs to suit your cravings.
Instant Pot Butternut Squash Risotto
This dish makes a cozy side dish or vegan entree and it comes together so effortlessly in the Instant Pot!
1 medium butternut squash, halved, seeded, and roasted (this can be done several days ahead)
2 tsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 onion, diced
2 Tbsp rosemary, minced
2 cups arborio rice
4 cups broth
ground black pepper
First of all, if I’m planning to make this recipe during the course of a week, I roast the butternut squash ahead of time while I have something else in the oven. I usually do some roasting on Sundays (beets, sweet potatoes, etc.), so I halve and seed a butternut squash (no need to peel!), put it on a tray and bake at 350-400 for about 30 minutes, until you can stick a knife in it and it pierces easily. Roasting requires little effort or attention. Once the squash is done, let it cool and store it in the fridge until the day you need it for this recipe. You don’t even need to reheat it before adding!
When you’re ready to make your risotto, this recipe will come together in 30 minutes but requires less than 10 minutes of your attention.
Turn your Instant Pot onto the SAUTE function, heat the olive oil, and cook the onion and garlic until it becomes aromatic— just 2 to 3 minutes. Add the rice and 1 Tbsp rosemary and saute for 1 minute more. Pour in the broth (if your broth is unsalted, add a little unrefined salt), cover and lock the lid in place, and set the Instant Pot to 5 minutes at HIGH pressure (make sure your lid is set to SEALING). After your risotto is done with its 5 mins at high pressure, let the steam release naturally for another 10 minutes (meaning, don’t release the steam via the pressure release knob). Use this time to grab your butternut squash from the fridge and scoop the baked insides out into a bowl. After 10 minutes, turn the pressure release knob to release the rest of the steam, stir the butternut squash chunks into the risotto, and add another sprinkle of chopped rosemary. If desired, you can add a little more broth for looser texture and season to taste with more salt and pepper. Serve immediately.