Monday, August 29, 2022

Instant Pot Butternut Squash and Herb Risotto

This is a sponsored post by Challenge butter, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible!

One of my favorite parts about the change in seasons is the new produce that becomes available. The start of September signifies the start of autumn in my mind, and I crave warm, hearty flavors and foods, like butternut squash.

Butternut squash is a "winter squash," because we harvest it when the rind is tough, making it suitable for winter storage, unlike summer squash, which is harvested when the rind is still tender.

Butternut squash usually reaches maturity in September, but some farmers are finding their squash is ready to harvest a little early because of the unseasonably hot summer.

Butternut squash has long been a welcome addition to creamy risotto. In fact, it was the most popular vegetarian entrée at Courses Restaurant, and I made it every week when I worked in the Courses kitchen while I attended culinary school. But the traditional way of making risotto is time-consuming and requires a lot of stirring and standing over the stove. Fortunately, I discovered a much easier method using the Instant Pot.

Even though pressure cookers and slow cookers are generally considered hands-off cooking methods, you can't just dump all the ingredients in and hope for the best. You first have to saute the aromatics in order to release and build flavor. You also should saute the arborio rice before adding the liquids. Sauteeing the rice helps it to develop a nutty flavor, and it also creates a thin coating that prevents the grains from clumping together.

After sauteeing the rice, I add dry white wine—1/2 cup wine for every cup of rice. The wine adds a tremendous amount of flavor. The purpose isn't for the risotto to taste boozy. The acidity in the wine adds dimension and prevents it from tasting flat. Once the wine evaporates, add the rest of the liquid and cook it at high pressure for 5 minutes.

When the 5 minutes is up, quick release the lid and stir it up. You have perfectly cooked risotto! But it isn't complete just yet. I recommended stirring in freshly grated parmesan cheese and a big spoonful of Challenge Seasoned Garlic Parmesan with Herbs Snack Spread. The spread contains real Parmesan cheese, garlic, parsley and butter—flavors that pair perfectly with the risotto.

Instant Pot Butternut Squash and Herb Risotto

Yield: Makes about 6 servings

Time: About 30 minutes


  • 2 Tablespoons oil
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1 pound butternut squash, small dice
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 1 Tablespoon rosemary, minced
  • 20 sage leaves, chiffonade
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 3 tablespoons Challenge Seasoned Garlic Parmesan with Herbs Snack Spread
  • Optional: chopped walnuts for garnish


  1. Set the pressure cooker to saute setting and add oil.
  2. Once oil is hot, add shallots and cook for several minutes until soft and translucent.
  3. Add butternut squash, season with salt and pepper, and cook just until it starts to soften.
  4. Stir in the arborio rice, rosemary, and sage. Cook until rice is lightly toasted and smells nutty.
  5. Use wine to deglaze the pan and stir until evaporated.
  6. Pour in vegetable stock, cover pot with lid, and set pressure cooker to normal pressure for 5 minutes.
  7. After it's done cooking, quick release pressure and open lid. Stir in parmesan cheese and Challenge Seasoned Garlic Parmesan with Herbs Snack Spread. 
  8. Season risotto to taste with salt and pepper and serve topped with extra cheese and chopped walnuts if desired.


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