Instant Pot Asparagus Risotto is my first attempt to recreate some of the glorious food I had in Italy. (Did I mention I went to Italy?)
La Serenissima, the Serene Republic of the Venetian Empire, lasted for over a thousand years. The Venetian Empire was fueled by trade, their navy’s control over the Mediterranean, and the Veneto, their inland breadbasket.
Or should I say…rice basket? Venetians filled up on risotto, not pasta.1 The Veneto is a broad plain, perfect for rice paddies, stretching from the Po river to the Dolomite mountains. We visited the rice mill at Riseria Ferron, just south of Verona. There we learned all about the local Vialone Nano rice…by eating a fantastic lunch.2
Quote from the Sous Chef at Ristorante Pila Vecia
We only make asparagus risotto for about ten days a year - when asparagus is at the height of its season.
Each course centered around a different type of rice dish. The asparagus risotto, though - that one grabbed me. It was loaded with fresh asparagus and tasted like Spring. It made me think of the first fresh vegetables of the year, that flash of bright green at the farmers market after a winter of root vegetables.
We got to talk to the sous chef, and he gave us a quick overview of how they make the dish. Now, I’m not going to make asparagus cream - that’s too much, even for me - but the rest of the instructions were easy for a home cook to follow. Simmer the rice in vegetable broth, and stir in a lot of butter (and, optionally, grated cheese). Put par-cooked asparagus tips in with the rice, cover, and let them steam through.
I loved Italy - I did not want to leave - but I was itching to get home and try this recipe before asparagus season ended. Pressure cooker risotto is one of my secret recipes.3 Risotto in the pressure cooker does not need the repeated stirring of traditional risotto. Pressure replaces the stirring, releasing the starch from the rice, resulting in a creamy, delicious risotto. Add some asparagus, and...fantastico!
- Olive Oil
- Arborio rice
- Vegetable Broth
- Grated pecorino Romano
See the recipe card for quantities.
How to Make Instant Pot Asparagus Risotto
Slice the asparagus: Trim the tough end from the asparagus and discard. Cut the asparagus tips from the bunch. Thin-slice the remaining asparagus stalks (I aim for ¼ inch slices, so they mix in with the grains of rice).
Sauté the asparagus, shallots, and rice: Heat the olive oil in an Instant Pot using the sauté function until the oil is shimmering, about 3 minutes. (Use medium heat with a stovetop pressure cooker). Add the asparagus tips and sauté until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Remove the asparagus tips with a slotted spoon and set them aside for later, leaving as much of the oil behind as possible. Add the shallot and sliced asparagus pieces to the pot, and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt. Sauté, stirring often, until the shallots soften and the asparagus turns bright green, about 3 minutes. Stir in the rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until it the rice turns a little bit translucent at the edges, about 5 minutes. Stir in the vegetable stock and 1 teaspoon salt, and scrape the bottom of the pot with a flat edged wooden spoon to make sure no rice is sticking.
Pressure Cook the Risotto for 5 Minutes With a Quick Release: Lock the lid on the pressure cooker. Cook at high pressure for 5 minutes in an Instant Pot, other electric pressure cooker, or a stovetop PC. (Use Manual, Pressure Cook, or Pressure Cook - Custom mode with an Instant Pot). Quick release the pressure. Carefully remove the lid, tilting it away from you to avoid the scalding hot steam.
Stir in butter and steam the asparagus tips: Leave the pot in keep warm mode (or put a stovetop pressure cooker over low heat.) Stir the butter into the rice, then spread the asparagus tips out on top of the rice in a single layer. Cover the pot (but don’t lock the lid) and steam the asparagus tips until they are tender, about five minutes. Add the (optional) grated cheese, then stir the asparagus tips and cheese into the rice. Serve and enjoy!
Regular white rice does not work for risotto. You need to find short grain rice, which works best in this recipe.
Arborio rice is my default for risottos, because it is the easiest one to find at my local grocery stores. I prefer Carnaroli rice for pressure cooker risotto, when I can find it. All that said, Vialone Nano rice is what I used, because it's the rice grown at Riseria Ferron.
If you use store-bought broth, watch out for “regular” vegetable broth – it’s loaded with salt. If you can’t find low-sodium chicken broth, use water.
But, please, try homemade vegetable broth. If you have an Instant Pot, you will love it.
You can use homemade chicken broth if you have it, but I like the lighter taste of vegetable broth with the asparagus in this risotto.
Grated parmesan is a good (if more expensive) substitute for the pecorino Romano. Or, skip the cheese. My kids are picky about cheese in their rice - it's a very particular concern, I know - so I'll often leave it out of risotto.
Want to wine?
A little wine? Most risotto recipes use a little wine. I skipped it in this one, but if you want, you can add white wine. Add ¼ cup wine at the end of sautéing the rice, and bring it to a boil before adding the vegetable broth.
A 6-quart pressure cooker. Pressure Cooker risotto converts a lot of people to pressure cooking - no tedious stirring needed, just a few minutes under pressure.
This recipe doubles easily in a 6-quart pressure cooker. Cut all the ingredients in half and this recipe will fit in a 3-quart pressure cooker.
Tips and Tricks
- Pressure cooking is the key to easy risotto. No need to stir for 30 minutes, carefully ladling broth into the pot. I can lock the lid on my Instant Pot, set it to cook for 5 minutes, and have a fantastic risotto without all the extra work.
- Homemade vegetable broth is another key to this recipe. I know, I know, it's extra work. But it is SO GOOD. Make it ahead, freeze it in 2-cup containers, and you'll always be ready to make a fantastic risotto or vegetable soup.
What to Serve With Asparagus Risotto
Asparagus risotto makes a great main dish for vegetarians. Or, I serve it as an appetizer, or a hearty side dish with a roast chicken.
According to the USDA, Leftover rice lasts for three days in the refrigerator, or three months in the freezer, as long as it is refrigerated (or frozen) within an hour of cooking in an airtight container. (I portion out my rice in 2-cup containers before I put it in the fridge or freezer.) Also, be sure to reheat the rice all the way through - to be precise, an instant read thermometer should read 165°F in the middle of the rice.Print
Instant Pot Asparagus Risotto Recipe
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
Instant Pot Asparagus Risotto. Creamy risotto is easy in a pressure cooker - no stirring needed!
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pound asparagus, tough ends trimmed, tips and stalks separated
- 1 medium shallot, minced (or a small minced onion)
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 cups Italian medium grain rice (Vialone Nano is traditional, Carnaroli or Arborio are also good choices)
- 4 cups homemade vegetable broth (or store-bought low-sodium broth)
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt (½ teaspoon if using store-bought low-sodium broth)
- 4 tablespoons butter, cut into 1 tablespoon pieces
- ¼ cup (1 ounce) grated pecorino Romano cheese (optional)
- Slice the asparagus: Trim the tough end from the asparagus and discard. Cut the asparagus tips from the bunch. Thin-slice the remaining asparagus stalks (I aim for ¼ inch slices, so they mix in with the grains of rice).
- Sauté the asparagus tips, shallots and asparagus slices, and rice: Heat the olive oil in the pressure cooker pot over medium heat (sauté mode in an Instant Pot) until the oil is shimmering, about 3 minutes. Add the asparagus tips and sauté until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Remove the asparagus tips with a slotted spoon and set aside for later, leaving as much of the oil behind as possible. Add the shallot and sliced asparagus stalks to the pot, and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt. Sauté, stirring often, until the shallots soften and the asparagus turns bright green, about 3 minutes. Stir in the rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until it the rice turns translucent at the edges, about 5 minutes.
- Pressure Cook the risotto for 5 minutes with a Quick Pressure Release: Stir in the vegetable broth and 1 teaspoon salt. Lock the lid on the pressure cooker. Cook at high pressure for 5 minutes for both electric pressure cookers and stovetop pressure cookers (Manual Mode or Pressure Cook for an Instant Pot). Quick release the pressure. Carefully remove the lid, tilting it away from you to avoid the scalding hot steam.
- Stir in butter and steam the asparagus tips: Leave the pot in keep warm mode (or put a stovetop pressure cooker over low heat.) Stir the butter into the rice, then spread the asparagus tips out on top of the rice in a single layer. Cover the pot (but don’t lock the lid) and steam the asparagus tips until they are tender, about five minutes. Add the (optional) grated cheese, then stir the asparagus tips and cheese into the rice.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 35 minutes
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Pressure Cooker
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: Pressure Cooker, Instant Pot, Risotto, Rice, Asparagus
According to the USDA, Leftover risotto is good for up to three days in the refrigerator, or three months in the freezer, as long as it is refrigerated (or frozen) within an hour of cooking. (I portion out my rice in 2-cup containers before I put it in the fridge or freezer.) Also, be sure to reheat the rice all the way through - to be precise, an instant read thermometer should read 165°F in the middle of the rice.
🤝 Related Posts
Pressure Cooker Brown and Wild Rice Pilaf
Pressure Cooker Risotto with Edamame
Pressure Cooker Risotto with Goat Cheese
My other Pressure Cooker Recipes
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- And polenta. The plains are good for grains and corn, and the Veneto loves thier polenta. But why let corn (an American import from back in the 1500s) get in the way of a good rice story?↩
- Oh, that lunch. I didn’t pace myself and took seconds of the asparagus risotto (and another risotto, with ground meat and cinnamon). I was struggling to keep up by the time the last course arrived. ↩
- Shh! Don’t tell anyone. This is just between you and me. ↩
This is my favorite risotto, easy to prepare and consistent! SO delicious. I have always loved risotto but it was so tedious to prepare. This takes a bit of effort, but no where near as much as risotto without a pressure cooker/instant pot! Kudos!
Mike Vrobel says
I'm glad you enjoy it!
Easy to follow step by step instructions. I had some grilled chicken breast left over from the prior night. I cut it in chunks and put it in at the end when I put in the butter and sautéed asparagus tips to steam. This made a full one pot meal.
I absolutely loved this recipe.
Mike Vrobel says
I'm glad you enjoyed it!
Sheryl L Cox says
This came exceptionally wonderful. Made 1/2 recipe (since I live alone) and followed your recipe and your easy instructions. (Oh, I did deglaze with a bit of white wine). I don't think I'll be stirring forever at the stove top any longer to make risotto.
Mike Vrobel says
Great! I'm glad you enjoyed it.
Thanks for posting this great recipe, Mike! I love the way the asparagus tips maintained a bit of crunch. This has the perfect consistency and
Mike Vrobel says
Joe Mangan says
Thanks, Dad. The recipe came out better than expected. I'm a Dad, too, and not very experienced with the Instant Pot - but the recipe was easy to follow. Even my wife was surprised with the results!
Mike Vrobel says
I made your veggie stock last weekend in anticipation of making this. I used arborio rice because that's what I had, and thanks to the pressure cooker you spend more time prepping than actually cooking.
To make it a main course I diced some ham up fairly small and fried it until crispy, then served it over the top of the risotto with some freshly grated cheese. I bet prosciutto would work well too.
Holy cow, this is good. Simple enough for weeknights, fancy enough for guests and it makes enough for leftovers. Win!
John Bolz says
Most recipes for Risotto call for a deglazing with white wine before adding the stock. Your other two risotto recipes call for wine as well. Yet this recipe does not. Can you explain?
Mike Vrobel says
I don't think it needs it, since the focus is on the fresh taste of the asparagus. (And the original recipe from Pila Vecia doesn't use any wine.) But, don't let that stop you, if you want to deglaze the pot with some wine, go right ahead.
sigrid trombley says
In an e-mail from Jill Nussinow, she mentioned that it was "Likely the stock that made that risotto was asparagus stock - makes wonderful stock and really pumps up the flavor of the asparagus in the dish." I hadn't thought of that, but she's absolutely right, making a stock from asparagus would be wonderful for asparagus risotto. One typically doesn't use those tough parts of asparagus stalks but they'd be perfect for making an asparagus broth.