Instant Pot® Butternut Squash Risotto
Pressure Cooker. Slow cooker. Air Fryer. Sous vide. All the gadgets to help one cook better. But do they really? I bought my mom a pressure cooker, specifically the Instant Pot®, a couple of years ago. Within the first six months she hadn’t used it. At all. I asked her why and her answer was something along the lines that “it makes too much”. I asked if I could borrow the said Instant Pot® you know for research and all. I have never used a regular pressure cooker truth be told, because I was always scared. The legend is that “it will explode” if you’re not careful. Simply put, they intimidate me. But if it’s digital and turns on and off all on it’s own? I’m game to try it. And try it I did.
I absolutely fell in LOVE with the Instant Pot®. Homemade beans? √ Homemade applesauce? √ One-pot pasta? √ Pork Tenderloin? √ I mean the list could go on. And it does.
But what I will say is this. All the hype about having “dinner in minutes” should have a clause letting you know that the pressure cooker takes 10 minutes to “heat up”. I do hear they now have an Instant Pot® that can be controlled with an app, but that makes me question, do you leave the food out all day ready to go? ‘Cuz that could be a food safety problem. But regardless, the Instant Pot® does help cook foods that typically need a longer time to cook. And the other reason I love it? It’s more than just one appliance - it also functions as a slow cooker, a yogurt maker, a rice cooker, I mean anything to help me minimize in the kitchen when it comes to appliances sign me up!. I never had the rice cooker, but I definitely got rid of my slow cooker when I got the Instant Pot®, I mean when my mom got the Instant Pot®. (I may never give it back to her. Just saying).
Enter risotto. I’ve made it on the stove-top and talk about high maintenance. I swore it off and said, never again! Until I tried it in the Instant Pot®. Total game changer. Risotto is now part of my monthly meal plans. It’s just too easy not to include it. I’m sharing my go-to favorite risotto recipe today!
Enter next the air fryer. While I’ve tried to get excited about the air fryer (believe me, I’ve tried!) I just can’t. I’ve joked I need to get the America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook, Air Fryer Perfection, and see then if I still feel the same way. I think my biggest problem with the air fryer is how little it makes for how big an appliance it is. And I do get the concept - convection type oven that can make your food taste fried when it’s really not. So healthier. I’ve never been a fried food person, so maybe that’s part of the problem? Not really sure, but I’ve tried a few veggies in the air fryer, coconut shrimp, arancini, and donuts. The donuts actually turned out. So maybe the air fryer is worth it for the donuts? Haha. Yeah, no. It’s a huge appliance that I don’t have room for. I’ve used my homemade tortilla press more in this last month than I have in the last 6 months of having the air fryer. Don’t worry - I requested from the library the air fryer cookbook. I’ll report back once I’ve had a chance to peruse and trial out a few more recipes. There’s gotta be something I’m missing. Do tell!
The other trending food preparation method is sous vide. The word sous vide is French for “under vacuum”. Sous vide cooking generally includes any kind of cooking that occurs in a temperature controlled water bath. Used to be thought for only high-end restaurants, cooking equipment is now readily available for the home cook. With the benefit of cooking at a specific and consistent temperature, sous vide takes a lot of the guess work out of cooking and ensures that your food will be cooked perfectly every time. Sous vide cooking is not just for meats as some people might think. They say it’s actually quite versatile and allows you to cook a wide range of proteins but also veggies. As a vegetarian, I’m not sure this is an investment I’m going to make - even though sous vide is described as being versatile and not just for meat, it is what it specializes in. I’ll leave that to the meat eaters.
Now on to the risotto! While risotto normally takes a lot of time and attention (stirring, adding broth, and repeating until all the broth gets absorbed) the Instant Pot® takes the cooking time down to 25 minutes - You can sauté the leeks and shallots right there in the Instant Pot® with the sauté function. Then you’ll toast the rice for a quick 2-minutes. Add the liquids and butternut and seal that pot to pressurize. 6 minutes later (well, 16 minutes if you count the warm-up time) and voila, risotto is served. I used butternut squash and sage for flavors. Even though it’s not fall, I love these flavors any time of the year. Last month I did a mushroom and thyme risotto. The flavor combos really are endless! I hope you enjoy this as much as I do!
Instant Pot® Butternut Squash and Sage Risotto
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup chopped leek (from 1 large leek)
1/4 cup shallot (from 1-2 small shallots)
3 garlic cloves
10 sage leaves
2 cups Arborio rice
1/4 cup white wine
4 cups unsalted chicken broth
1 lb (16 oz). cubed butternut squash
2 ounces shredded Parmesan cheese (1/2 cup)
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon salt (taste before adding it all!)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Extra shaved Parmesan and sage leaves for topping
Set Instant Pot® to sauté. Add olive oil and butter; heat until butter is melted. Add leek, shallot, garlic, and sage; cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes.
Add rice; cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes. Stir in wine and cook 1 minute. Stir in chicken broth and squash. Cover Instant Pot® and fasten the lid. Make sure the steam valve is LOCKED. Set to HIGH pressure for 6 minutes. Release pressure naturally once the cooking ends. Uncover and turn off the Instant Pot®.
Stir in grated Parmesan, salt, and pepper. Garnish with shaved Parmesan and a leaf sage. Optional, but highly recommended.
*You can use 1/4 cup of chicken broth instead of wine, but traditional risotto does use wine. Use a wine you would drink with, not a cooking wine.
*I use a boxed chicken broth with minimal sodium. If you use a regular one or 33% reduced sodium, I’d taste the risotto before adding the salt. You can always add more salt, but you can’t take the salt out.
*I used a butternut squash that I cut up, however they do sell butternut squash cubes already pre-cut to help save you some time (and arm strength!).
*This recipe can easily be halved if you’re preparing it for one