Add a festive touch to your butternut squash risotto with some tangy dried cranberries and earthy pecans, as well as lovely warm spices. Made in the Instant Pot, this butternut squash risotto can be cooked with any type of sweet winter squash or pumpkin and it’s perfect as a side dish on a Thanksgiving and Christmas table or as a special main dish for a family dinner. It’s vegetarian and gluten-free, with a vegan option.
We love making Instant Pot risotto because, for something that’s so hands-off and fuss-free, the dish always turned out perfectly creamy and delicious. No stirring or gradual adding of stock; you simply add all ingredients and set it to cook. Plus, it’s much quicker than on the stovetop.
You can get pretty creative with your pressure cooker risotto recipes. We’ve made a beetroot and goat’s cheese risotto, vegan cheese-free version, budget-friendly pea and celery and many more. So, in the leadup to Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, we’ve decided to get a little festive.
We’re taking advantage of seasonal pumpkins and winter squashes and adding a few touches like herbs, spices, dried fruit and nuts to make an Instant Pot risotto with a twist. We call it the Thanksgiving risotto (or Christmas risotto), although you can make it any time of the year. We hope you enjoy our butternut squash risotto with cranberries and pecans, let us know in the comments what you think if this combo.
HOW TO MAKE BUTTERNUT SQUASH RISOTTO IN INSTANT POT
You will find the full list of ingredients, instructions and nutritional breakdown for this Instant Pot pumpkin risotto in the recipe card below. Here are simple steps and process photos to guide you along.
Step 1. Begin by preparing all the required ingredients. To save time, you can also start by dicing all the vegetables and getting those to start cooking while you prepare the rest.
Step 2. Using the Saute function of the Instant Pot, cook the vegetables and garlic for a few minutes. Then add the butternut squash, rice, spices and stock and stir everything through. Cancel the Saute function at this stage.
Step 3. Secure the lid and press Manual/Pressure Cook button and set the timer to 5 minutes on HIGH pressure. The Instant Pot will take about 10 minutes to come to pressure (maybe even less) and the timer will commence. Once the timer finishes, allow the pressure to release naturally for 5 minutes (simply leave the IP alone for a while). Then use the steam releasing handle/button on the top to let off the remaining pressure.
Step 5. Open the lid and stir in a little lemon juice, Parmesan cheese and butter to make our risotto extra creamy and delicious. The butternut squash will blend into the rice when your stir it giving it that lovely color and sweet flavor.
Serve the risotto with extra dried cranberries, chopped pecans and Parmesan cheese on top. You can present it on one big platter or serve in individual bowls.
REHEATING & USING LEFTOVER RISSOTO
You can store leftover risotto for a day or two, not much longer as rice doesn’t keep that well in general. The cold risotto will get thick and stodgy as all that cheese and creaminess will firm when refrigerated. The best way to turn it back into that creamy consistency is by adding ½ cup of vegetable stock, wrapping it in cling film and microwaving for 1 minute and 30 seconds (we used 1000 Watt microwave). Then stir through and it will be as good as new!
Our other favourite way for using up leftover risotto is to add extra grated Parmesan cheese and a little flour to the cold rice to make arancini balls or patties. Pan-fry these in a bit of oil until crispy and you serve with a side salad or a lovely tomato dipping sauce or aioli. Great as finger food, lunch or a brand new meal!
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Whether you want a different side dish for Thanksgiving or Christmas, or you’re after a slightly festive main that’s vegetarian and gluten-free friendly, this Instant Pot butternut squash risotto with dried cranberries and pecans ticks a lot of the boxes. Plus, it’s super easy, delicious and looks great! Vegan options included.
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
1 carrot, diced
1 celery rib, diced
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups, diced butternut squash, Kabocha squash or another sweet winter squash
5 cloves garlic, finely diced or minced
½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried rosemary or thyme (whatever is available)
1/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped
2 cups Arborio rice
4 cups vegetable stock
1 tablespoon butter or dairy-free alternative
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese or 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast for vegan-version
2 tablespoons lemon juice
⅓ cup dried cranberries, chopped
½ cup pecans, chopped
Rosemary needles, sage or thyme and extra shaved Parmesan
- Turn the Instant Pot on and press the Sauté function. Once hot, add the olive oil, onions, carrot, celery, and salt and cook for 2-3 minutes to soften.
- Add the rest of the cooking risotto ingredients and stir through. Press Keep Warm/Cancel to stop the Sauté function.
- Pop the lid on top, close and set to Pressure Cook/Manual for 5 minutes. After 3 beeps, the Instant Pot will start to build up the pressure. Once cooking finishes, let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes and then use the quick release (QR). Please note, don’t let the pressure release naturally for more than 5-7 minutes as the risotto keeps cooking during this time and might lose some of its texture.
- While the risotto is cooking, prepare the finishing and serving ingredients.
- Open the Instant Pot and stir the butter, Parmesan cheese and lemon juice into the risotto. Taste for salt and pepper.
- Serve with extra cranberries and chopped pecans on top. Garnish with extra Parmesan and some herbs like rosemary, thyme or sage.
This risotto can be made with any sweet pumpkin or winter squash. Pecans can be omitted or swapped for other nuts or seeds.
Keywords: Arborio rice, rice, main, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Festive, vegetarian