A quick and easy weeknight recipe for Butternut Risotto with Leeks and Spinach made with very little fuss, on your stovetop or in your Instant Pot pressure cooker. Vegan-adaptable and Gluten-free.
The best way to predict the future is to create it. ~Abraham Lincoln
This Butternut Risotto is perfect for cozy fall nights when time is limited. When using an instant pot, it only requires only 15 minutes of hands-on time before letting the Instant Pot take over and in the end, you’ll have a comforting nourishing meal on the table with very little fuss. You can also make this on the stovetop in about 40 minutes.
Now if you don’t have an instant pot, there is a stovetop version in the video and also in the recipe notes, and it is yummy. For the stovetop version, we roast the butternut.
how to make butternut risotto (on the stovetop)
I’ll be honest, I was a little surprised that this recipe turned out as good as it did. I’m not a huge fan of mushy veggies, so the idea of putting cubes of raw butternut in the Instant Pot was a little off-putting. I much prefer them roasted and caramelized. But I just wanted to experiment and an interesting thing happened.
Well besides the obvious, yes, the butternut did get a little mushy. But what I didn’t expect was how creamy the butternut turned out, giving the risotto a lovely richness without adding cheese or butter, almost turning into a butternut sauce.
Kind of like the broccoli sauce in this Orchiette recipe.
The recipe starts with prepping the leeks. Cut and rinse them well. If they are very muddy, soak in a big bowl of water and separate the rings.
Save the Leek tops for Leek Oil – which is optional but would be delicious on this!
Set the Instant Pot to the saute setting. Heat the oil and add the leeks, stirring until they soften.
Add the garlic, sage and the Arborio Rice, sauteing the rice until translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
Then add the raw butternut squash that has been cut into cubes, salt and spices.
Give a few stirs then, add a splash of white wine.
Scrape up all those browned bits, let the wine evaporate then add the broth. Be doubly sure to get all the browned bits. Using a wooden spoon helps.
I have been using this veggie boullion – it has great flavor.
Pressure cook on high for 6 minutes.
Naturally, release for 5 minutes, then manually release.
Give a little stir and toss in a couple of handfuls of baby spinach to bump up the nutrition.
If you like a looser risotto, add a little more broth or water to get the consistency how you like it.
As you keep stirring the butternut will bread down a bit. It will add a nice creaminess.
Don’t over stir though, just a little. 🙂
The pecans give such good texture.
And the Leek Oil is just a fun way to not waste those flavorful leek tops.
I know you…. you’ll find many uses. 🙂
Happy cozy fall weekend! Let us know what you think of this Instant Pot Butternut Risotto in the comments below!
butternut squash risotto ( instant pot or stove-top)
- Author: Sylvia Fountaine
- Prep Time: 15
- Cook Time: 15
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 5 cups
- Category: vegan, dinner recipe,
- Method: Instant Pot, stove top
- Cuisine: Italian
- Diet: Vegan
Cozy up with a comforting bowl of Butternut Risotto with Leeks and Spinach made with very little fuss, in your Instant Pot pressure cooker. Vegan-adaptable and Gluten-free. Stovetop version in the notes below!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (or butter)
- 2 cups sliced leeks (one extra large leek)
- 4 garlic cloves, rough chopped
- 8 sage leaves, chopped
- 1 cup Arborio rice or short-grain Spanish rice (Bomba)
- 2 heaping cups butternut squash, cubed
- 1/4 cup white wine (or skip it)
- 2 cups veggie stock or chicken stock or broth (or water and one teaspoon or cube veggie bouillon)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon white pepper (or sub black pepper to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg the nutmeg makes this- don’t leave it out!
- 2–3 handfuls baby spinach or chopped kale
- OPTIONAL: 1/4 – 1/2 cup parmesan, pecorino, manchego, goat cheese, vegan cheese or cashew cheese – or the leave cheese out and use LEEK OIL for garnish. Or stir in 1-2 tablespoons of butter or ghee, or a drizzle of olive oil.
- Optional: Maple Glazed Pecans
- Set Instant Pot to the “Saute” function.
- Slice and rinse leeks, separating rings (rinsing will help them to soften faster)
- Heat oil in the instant pot, add leeks and stir for 2 minutes. Add garlic, sage and rice, stir for 2 minutes. Add butternut squash, and keep stirring for a couple of minutes, until there is a bit of browning on the bottom of the instant pot.
- Add the wine and scrape up the browned bits- a wooden spoon is good for this. Let all the wine cook off, about 2-3 minutes. Add the stock or broth. Scrape up more browned bits. Add the salt, pepper and nutmeg, and give a good stir.
- Seal the instant pot and pressure cook on HIGH for 6 minutes. Naturally release for 5 minutes, then manually release.
- While the Instant pot is going you could make the leek oil and/or the maple glazed pecans.
- Stir the risotto, adding the spinach and cheese or butter if you like, or leave them out. As the butternut breaks down a bit, it will add a nice natural creaminess to the risotto.
- Garnish with optional leek oil or maple glazed pecans.
The butternut in the instant pot will break down and almost becomes the sauce here.
STOVETOP INSTRUCTIONS: ( you will need 4-5 cups warm stock)
- ROAST BUTTERNUT: Toss the butternut with olive oil, salt and pepper and ROAST the butternut in a 400 F oven on a parchment-lined sheet pan until caramelized and tender 25-30 minutes. At the same time make risotto.
- RISOTTO: In a large heavy-bottomed pot or dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the washed leeks. Saute until fragrant and tender, covering with the lid for a few minutes to let them steam a bit. Add garlic and sage, saute 2 more minutes until fragrant.
- Add the rice and saute 1 minute, stirring. Add a splash of white wine, and cook this off. Add the salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add 1-2 cups warm stock (enough to cover the rice), stir and bring to a gentle simmer. Simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed. Continue adding broth 1 cup at a time, letting the rice absorb it slowly, stirring often over med-low heat, until the rice is plumped, slightly al dente, yet creamy, about 20-25 minutes. If adding kale, add it with the last cup of broth. If adding spinach, you can stir it in at the end. Keep the risotto thick and hearty or add more stock to loosen it up a bit.
- Stir in the roasted butternut and spinach and optional cheese or butter. Taste, season and adjust salt and pepper. If bland, it probably needs more salt.
- Garnish with the leek oil and maple glazed pecans.