This Instant Pot risotto is off the charts good. Made with sweet fennel and crunchy asparagus, this Italian classic is super easy with a pressure cooker. It’s a great vegetarian meal for meat-free Mondays!
Have you ever used your Instant Pot to make a risotto? In fact, do you ever make risotto at all or are you a little intimidated by the process? I’m here to tell you that Instant Pot is the EASIEST way to make an incredible, creamy, restaurant-style risotto. Every time I make one, it takes me by surprise just how well it always turns out without me having to keep an eye on it.
This Instant Pot risotto is a fabulous vegetarian recipe that uses fennel and asparagus. Of course, you can also make it with other vegetables and I’ve provided a few variations below. Once you’ve mastered the method, your imagination is the limit!
Before you start cooking
Rice: Risotto requires a special type of rice called arborio rice, which is a high-starch, short-grained rice that helps to give the dish that famous thickness and creaminess. I like to use organic arborio, such as this brand from Amazon, but you can use regular risotto rice as well. Unlike regular white rice, DO NOT RINSE this rice before cooking or you will reduce the starch content and that’s what we need for a perfect risotto.
Stock: This recipe calls for 4 cups of stock. Essentially, it’s 2:1 ratio of stock to arborio rice for the pressure cooker recipe (regular white rice often calls for 1:1 ratio but risotto needs more liquid). I used half chicken and half vegetable stock, but for a vegetarian version, just use all vegetable stock.
Vegetables: Fennel and asparagus are both gorgeous and nutritious vegetables, and I think they give this risotto the loveliest of flavors. Half of the fennel and asparagus are added to the pot and the rest is pan-fried to be used as a topping. Instead you can also use diced celery and carrots, garden peas and zucchini, pumpkin and spinach and the list goes on.
Dairy-free or lighter version: Once the Instant Pot stops cooking and you open the lid, you will notice that the risotto is already creamy and thick without you adding any Parmesan cheese or butter. Tasting it made me think that it could be served as is for those of you avoiding dairy or following a vegan diet. I am quite generous with Parmesan and butter because I love that gooey, cheesy texture and flavors but you can also reduce the amount of butter and cheese for a slightly lighter version.
Leftover risotto can be stored in the fridge for 2 days. Reheat as is or turn into risotto cakes/fritters, fishcakes (with some added tuna or salmon) or arancini balls.Print
To go in the pot
- 1 medium brown onion, finely diced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 medium fennel, diced
- 1/2 bunch of asparagus, diced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 large cloves of garlic
- 2 cups arborio risotto rice
- 1/3 cup white wine
- Zest of 1/2 lemon
- 2 cups vegetable stock (1 cube + 2 cups water)
- 2 cups chicken stock (1 cube + 2 cups water)
- 25 g / 2 tablespoons of butter
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
To top the risotto
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 fennel, sliced,
- 1/2 asparagus, cut into smaller pieces (see picture)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- Press the Sauté key on the Instant Pot (it should say Normal, 30 mins). Add the onions and olive oil and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring a few times.
- In the meantime, prepare the vegetables. Dice half of the fennel and asparagus into smaller cubes to go in the pot, and slice the rest into larger strips and pieces to be pan-fried as a topping.
- Add the diced fennel and asparagus to the pot together with salt and garlic and stir through.
- Add the rice, white wine and lemon zest and stir through.
- Add the stock, stir through and press Keep Warm/Cancel key on the Instant Pot to stop the Sauté function. Make sure to scrape any rice kernels or vegetables off the inner pot walls.
- Place and lock the lid, making sure the steam releasing handle is pointing to Sealing. Press Manual, High pressure and set to 5 minute. After 3 beeps the pressure cooker will start going.
- While the risotto is cooking, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the remaining fennel and asparagus and sprinkle with salt. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring a few times, until golden and softened. Drizzle with some lemon juice and set aside.
- Once the timer goes off, allow the pressure to release for 2 minutes and then, carefully, use the quick release method to release the rest of the steam and pressure.
- Open the lid and stir in the butter and Parmesan cheese. Add extra pepper and taste for salt. Serve topped with pan-fried asparagus and fennel and a side salad.