My winter hiatus in Seattle meant there was nobody home to cook all the squash and onions so carefully harvested and stored in our basement, so one of the first things to do when I returned was to go downstairs with a big garbage can. We have to plan this year’s garden a little better. But that means squash is on the menu today.
I always made risotto on top of the stove, dutifully paying attention and stirring for the 30 to 45 minutes it takes. Thanks to the instant pot that’s not necessary anymore. A quick sauté of the onions, mushrooms and rice, which can be done in the pot or even ahead of time, then add the liquid and cook. 30 minutes later supper is ready, and you’ve had time to work on that bottle of wine you opened for this. If you don’t tell that you used an instant pot nobody will know. By the way, if you’re wondering why that step of toasting the rice is necessary, it is. It contributes to the taste of the finished rice, and it starts the process of releasing starches from the rice. Arborio rice isn’t milled like long grain rice. It retains more of the starch and that’s what makes it possible to cook a creamy risotto. Some claim you have to stand over the stove and stir it, but you can be the judge of that once you’ve tried this recipe. Just don’t try to skip any steps.
Look for firm, meaty squashes that aren’t stringy. We use red kuri or butternut from our garden. Kabocha and hubbard are good choices too. You need about a pound of prepared squash. Peeled and cut into chunks, they can also be frozen for soups like the green curry squash soup I posted last September. Mushrooms can be any kind you like. We use shiitakes, baby bellas, or the white ones every market stocks. One caveat — do not skip the saffron. Yes, it’s crazy expensive but adds that mysterious, subtle flavor you don’t want to miss and you’ll have enough left for other recipes.
– Joan, 5 April 2019
Instant pot squash risotto
- 5 cups chicken or vegetable broth, warmed
- olive oil for sautéing
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3-4 cups squash (about 1 pound), peeled and cut into 1/2-3/4 inch pieces
- 16 ounces mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or sage
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon saffron threads
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Sauté the onion and mushrooms. You can do this in the instant pot but it will take a couple of batches. It’s quicker to use a large frying pan on the stove. (If you’ve sautéed the onions and mushrooms early, warm them in the pot set to sauté before proceeding.) Add the rice, cooking and stirring till rice is translucent and fragrant, 1-3 minutes. Stir in the wine and cook till it’s mostly absorbed. If you’ve done this on the stove, transfer everything to the instant pot. If you’ve used the pot to sauté, turn off sauté mode. Add the broth and seasonings. Close lid and set to cook for 10 minutes under high pressure. When cooking is done, release pressure and open the lid. Allow to sit for 10 minutes to thicken, then stir in Parmesan cheese and serve.