Risotto is a labor-intensive dish that is also a bit tricky to master, which is why most people who make it do it on special occasions. If you’ve never made risotto before, it is likely because you’ve heard how long it takes, and you don’t want to put all that energy into a dish you’re not familiar with. If you have an Instant Pot, all of these reasons for not making risotto on a more regular basis are no longer valid excuses. Everyone’s favorite small appliance, the Instant Pot, makes creamy and delicious risotto at a lightning-fast speed. Check out how to make it below.
What is risotto?
Risotto is a northern Italian rice dish that is cooked with broth until it reaches a creamy consistency. Risotto comes from the word riso in Italian, which means “rice.” The process traditionally takes a long time because the rice has to absorb the broth ladle by ladle so that it swells and turns creamy. Risotto is not a dish you can walk away from — you must stir in each batch of broth before adding the next one. The type of rice used for risotto is typically Arborio, a high-starch, short-grain white rice. Short-grain rice is needed because short-grain rice can absorb liquids and release starch, creating the desired texture for risotto.
Typically, risotto is made with butter, onion, white wine, and Parmesan cheese, but from there, the possibilities are limitless. The recipe below is for a base risotto made with the ingredients mentioned above. This base is delicious as is but can also act as a starter for you to experiment with. Try adding different proteins, such as shrimp or chicken, and veggies, like peas or mushrooms. You really can’t go wrong once you make the Parmesan risotto and add ingredients based on your taste. And since this version of the dish is so quick, you’ll have plenty of time to figure out which ingredient combo is your favorite.
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 2 cups Arborio rice
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Heat broth in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
- Set your Instant Pot to sauté and melt the butter before adding the onion. Cook onion until soft (about five minutes), then add garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper, and cook for about one more minute.
- Add rice to the onion-garlic-butter mixture and stir until toasted (about two minutes).
- Add white wine to the pan to deglaze the pot. Cook until most of the wine is absorbed, and turn the sauté setting off.
- Add the warm broth from the saucepan to the Instant Pot and cover with the lid. Set to Manual: High, and set the timer for four minutes.
- When the timer goes off, turn the valve on the Instant Pot to Quick Release. Remove the lid and stir in the Parmesan cheese.
- Taste and re-season with salt and pepper as needed.
Most of the work for this dish comes in the prep. As promised, once you put the ingredients in the Instant Pot and set the time, the finished dish comes together in four minutes. As with most recipes, feel free to substitute as you see fit based on your food preferences and tastes. For example, to make the dish vegetarian, use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock. You can’t get around using butter and Parmesan cheese, though — they are integral to the dish. If you decide to add a protein, it should cook in the same time as the rice in the Instant Pot, so you can usually add it in step five, but be sure to check your Instant Pot instructions to ensure proper cooking of all proteins.
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