Thursday, May 12, 2016

Instant Pot Risotto with Butternut Squash and Dried Mushrooms

I was full of skeptical curiosity the day my Instant Pot arrived. It's a big thing on the cooking-related Internet, and you can read all kinds of glowing recommendations, just as I did. It's an electric pressure cooker, sure. But, it does so much more than that! It steams, sautés, slow-cooks, keeps warm. It knows how to make rice and yogurt. It has pre-programmed routines for poultry, soups, porridge, and stews. Now I tend to be an old-fashioned cook. Would this new-fangled machine really make me love it?

I unpacked my new 6-quart Instant Pot IP-DUO machine, washed it, made it welcome, and tried the necessary first pressure test with plain water. Yes, it gets to pressure; yes, seems to work fine. Now it was on to cooking!

I love risotto. It's both luxury and comfort in a bowl. What I don't love about it is standing at the stove, constantly stirring, so the texture is perfect. So I tried a savory risotto made with butternut squash, dried mushrooms, and saffron.

Wow! What a taste, and so easy! While my recipe instructs you to check the consistency at the end, and simmer again if the squash was watery, my risotto didn't need this at all. It was perfect just as it was.

Instant Pot Risotto with Butternut Squash and Dried Mushrooms
by Maurita Plouff blogging at Get the Good Stuff!
Serves 6

1 medium leek, white and pale green parts only, halved lengthwise and washed free of dirt
1 small butternut squash (to yield 2 cups peeled and chopped)
1 ounce dried mushrooms (you can use as little as half an ounce of dried porcini, morels, or a mixture) 
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups white Arborio rice
1/4 cup dry white wine (I used vermouth)
4 cups (1 quart) chicken or vegetable broth
1 teaspoon dried thyme
A generous pinch saffron threads
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 ounce)

Slice the white and pale green parts of the leek into thin slices. Peel and chop a small butternut squash, so that you have about 2 cups of squash in half-inch cubes. If you're using prepared pre-cut squash, cut it into smaller pieces, so it will get tender. Crumble the dried mushrooms so they're in fairly small bits.

Put the liner in the Instant Pot - always make sure that the liner's in there! Push the "sauté' button, and melt the butter. Add the leek and cook, stirring often, until softened - about 2 minutes. Add the rice and stir until it is coated in the butter. Pour in the wine and stir over the heat until fully absorbed into the grains, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the broth, squash, dried mushrooms, thyme, and saffron.
Lock the lid onto the pot. Use the manual mode, and set the machine to cook at high pressure for 10 minutes.

At the end of these 10 minutes, use the quick-release method to bring the pot’s pressure back to normal. Unlock and open the cooker. Stir the risotto gently to check its consistency. Sometimes the squash will have released lots of moisture, and if it has, a quick simmer-and-stir at the end will fix it. Push the 'sauté' button again, and bring the risotto to a gentle simmer. Stir until it's thickened, about 2 minutes, then turn off.

If you will be using cheese, stir in the Parmesan now. Replace the lid onto the cooker without locking it in place. Set aside for 5 minutes to melt the cheese and blend the flavors. Stir again before serving.

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