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A bowl of instant pot pumpkin risotto in a black bowl topped with brown butter chestnut sauce and fried sage leaves.
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5 from 5 votes

Instant Pot Pumpkin Risotto

Our easy Instant Pot Pumpkin Risotto is drizzled with a decadent brown butter sage and Air Fryer Roasted Chestnuts sauce for the creamiest coziest vegetarian meal ever.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time6 mins
Instant Pot Heat Up Time10 mins
Total Time31 mins
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Diet: Vegetarian
Servings: 8 bowls
Calories: 422kcal
Author: HWC Magazine

Equipment

  • Pressure Cooker/ Instant Pot

Ingredients

Prep for Chestnut Brown Butter Sauce (optional) - Can be made a couple of days in advance

Pumpkin Risotto

  • 3 and ½ cups pumpkin heaping cups (about 1 pound) of raw, peeled and sliced in 1 inch cubes (we used a pie pumpkin but also super delicious with butternut squash, kabocha, acorn or other desired winter squash)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup onion
    peeled and chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic
    peeled and minced
  • 2 cups Arborio rice uncooked (Do NOT rinse!)
  • ½ cup dry white wine or dry sherry
  • 4.5 cups vegetable stock Not Including an extra 1 to 2 cups just in case you need to thin it out or want to reheat later. We used a low sodium brand. In addition, we microwaved the broth for just a minute or 2 to take the chill out- not hot just luke warm)
  • 2 cups vegetable stock These are the extra cups described above. Used to thin the risotto if needed and/or reheat later.
  • 1 teaspoons thyme
    dried or 1 tablespoon fresh
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ¾ cup parmesan cheese
    freshly grated (we also like to have a ¼ cup extra to garnish for serving)

Brown Butter Sage Chestnut Sauce (Optional BUT so Good)

  • 1 stick butter (8 tablespoons or ½ cup) if you use salted butter, there is no need to season. On the other hand, if you use unsalted butter, please add a little dash of salt to taste.
  • 4-6 whole sage leaves fresh
  • 15 Air Fryer Roasted Chestnuts should already have been previously roasted and peeled (You can do this step a couple of days in advance)

Instructions

  • If you plan on making the delicious Brown Butter Sage and Chestnut Sauce, roast and peel chestnuts first. You can do this up to a couple days in advance. The brown butter sauce is totally optional but really takes this recipe to the next level. If you do not plan on making the sauce, skip to the next step.
  • Peel and chop pumpkin or favorite winter squash (like butternut, acorn, kabocha, etc.) into one inch cubes. We had about 3.5 heaping cups or about 1 pound total. Set aside.
  • Set your Instant Pot (pressure cooker) to the sauté function. Add in olive oil, onions, garlic and sauté until aromatic and translucent.
  • Do NOT wash the rice! Add the raw dry Arborio rice to the aromatics in the instant pot. Stir and toast Arborio rice for 1 to 2 minutes or until all of the rice are well coated with oil.
  • Add peeled and cubed pumpkin or squash in the instant pot. Season with salt, pepper and thyme leaves.
  • Pour ½ cup of dry white wine or sherry over the rice and pumpkin in the instant pot to deglaze pan. Stir well. Turn off sauté function on instant pot.
  • Add in 4.5 cups low sodium vegetable broth (or chicken broth if you do not need to keep vegetarian) (Optional: If you want to cut down on the time for the Instant pot to heat up, microwave the broth for just a minute or two to take the chill out so that it is lukewarm).
  • Seal the instant pot (or pressure cooker) with lid and make sure the nozzle is set to NO VENT. Set the Instant pot on high for 6 minutes. It takes the instant pot about 10 minutes to get up to pressure and heat up.

Make Brown Butter Sage and Chestnut Sauce (optional - but so GOOD!)

  • While your pumpkin risotto is cooking, make the chestnut sauce. Place butter in a small sauce pan and slowly melt over medium low heat.
  • Add fresh sage leaves to fry until crispy. Only takes 1 to 2 minutes. Remove sage leaves from pan and set aside
  • Continue to cook and stir the butter until it gets foamy. The milk solids from the butter will turn golden brown and it will be golden.
  • Add chopped roasted chestnuts and stir into brown butter sauce and sauté for 1 minute. Remove pan from heat source and set aside.

Finish the Dish

  • When the Instant Pot (pressure cooker) is done cooking, Carefully, use the quick release method to vent out steam. Use oven mittens and point the release nozzle away from your face and others! Do NOT open the lid until the plunger has depressed or you know that the pressure is completely released.
  • Add parmesan cheese to the risotto and stir. The pumpkin cubes will start to fall apart and combine with the rice. Assess the texture.
    The perfect consistency for risotto is not too loose and not too thick but a happy medium. If you run a spoon on the bottom of the instant pot, it should leave a line and gently start to return. The texture should be creamy, but with body to hold its shape. Watch our video in the recipe card below to see it in action.
    You may need to add more broth to get the right consistency. If your risotto is too thin, add in a little more parmesan cheese. As your risotto sits and starts to cool, it gets thicker. It is best to serve right away.
    Check seasoning. Add more salt and pepper to taste.
  • Place a large scoop of the creamy risotto in each of the serving bowls. Spoon over a tablespoon of the brown butter sage and chestnut sauce or so. Garnish with a little extra grated parmesan cheese and fried sage leaves. Enjoy!

Alternative Stove Top Instructions in the Recipe Notes Below

    Video

    Notes

    Tips for Success
    • Do NOT wash Arborio rice before cooking. The starches are what make risotto creamy and delicious.
    • Toast the Arborio rice in the pressure cooker (instant pot) with the aromatics and olive oil using the sauté function. Do not burn the rice but instead coat and toast all the rice grains with olive oil. This process gives the risotto a protective coating that allows the rice to absorb the liquids without getting mushy.
    • The instant pot (pressure cooker) takes a while to heat up or come to pressure – about 10 to 15 minutes. If you warm up the broth in the microwave first (just take the chill out), it speeds up the process.
    • Don’t add the Parmesan cheese until the very end of the cooking process.
    • The perfect consistency for risotto is not too loose and not too thick but a happy medium. If you run a spoon on the bottom of the instant pot, it should leave a line and gently start to return. The texture should be creamy, but with body to hold its shape. 
    • Once the pressure cook process is complete, you may need to add more broth. If your risotto is too thin, add in a little more parmesan cheese. The reason for this difference is due to the different types of pumpkins and squash have different moisture levels. Do not add more than you need as the rice will continue to absorb the liquid.
    • Risotto should have a slight chew, but the mixture should be creamy
    How to Store
    Risotto is best enjoyed hot and right away. However, it can be stored covered in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.
    How to Reheat 
    Risotto can be reheated on the stovetop or in the microwave. You will need to add a little more vegetable broth to get it loosened up.
    Can I freeze risotto?
    Freezing is not recommended as rice gets hard and the texture is not pleasant. However, try making Risotto balls (Arancini) with the leftovers. Roll risotto in a ball and coat with egg and seasoned breadcrumbs and shallow fry or air fry until toasty golden and delicious. 
    Substitutions
    A time saving technique is to buy raw, peeled and chopped pumpkin or winter squash from the grocery store already prepared for you. In a pinch, you can substitute with frozen squash or pumpkin that has been thawed. As a last resort, you can add Plain canned/tinned pumpkin (without the pumpkin seasoning) AFTER the risotto is cooked. Fresh always tastes the best but we are all about using what you have on hand. 
    Stove Top Alternative
    If you don’t have a pressure cooker, try this pumpkin risotto recipe the old traditional way.
    1. Warm up your vegetable broth on the stove top.
    2. Pour yourself a glass of wine – very important step!
    3. Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil in a Dutch oven (or large deep pan/skillet with lid). Then, add the pumpkin or butternut squash to the pan and sauté for one minute. Add ½ cup of vegetable broth, cover and simmer for 5 to 8 minutes or until tender. Remove lid and sauté until liquid evaporates.
    4. Add in Arborio rice and toss until all the rice grains are covered in oil.
    5. Deglaze the pan with a ½ glass of white wine.
    6. Season with salt, pepper, and thyme.
    7. Add one ladle of broth at a time to the risotto.
    8. Slowly stir the risotto, meditate, and enjoy your wine, until it is absorbed. Repeat that process until the rice is al dente and creamy.
    9. Add in Parmesan cheese and enjoy while hot.

    Nutrition

    Serving: 1serving | Calories: 422kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 37mg | Sodium: 783mg | Potassium: 347mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 5045IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 141mg | Iron: 3mg