You’ll never make risotto on the stove again, after you see how easy it is to make perfectly creamy risotto in an Instant Pot! Basil Pesto Risotto is incredibly flavorful and deliciously gluten free.

Serve it as a side dish or make it into a meal by adding roasted cherry tomatoes, Italian sausage and burrata. This entire meal is easily made in just 29 minutes and I promise, this is a meal you’re going to want to make over and over again!

Pesto risotto in bowl, topped with sliced sausage, roasted cherry tomatoes and burrata cheese

This year for Valentine’s Day, Kurt requested Italian food. For some reason, I associate risotto with a romantic dinner, so that’s what I made for our Valentine’s Day meal.

Luckily for me, making risotto is so much easier now that I learned how to make it perfectly in the Instant Pot! I first introduced Instant Pot Mushroom Risotto on the blog in February 2019. And ever since then, I’ve been hooked on how easy it is to make super creamy risotto in a pressure cooker.

No more standing over the stove for 45 minutes spooning broth into the risotto. No way my friends, those days are long gone! Now you can simply saute veggies in an Instant Pot and the arborio rice and broth, then let the Instant Pot do it’s thing.

The risotto is honestly so amazing on it’s own, but add roasted cherry tomatoes on top and O-M-G, you’re headed straight for flavor town! I also added sliced Italian sausage that I roasted right along with the cherry tomatoes and a ball of creamy burrata cheese.

These additions were made with love on Valentine’s Day, as Italian sausage and burrata cheese are two of Kurt’s favorite things in the world! And I’m not going to lie, they were seriously delicious additions!

The best part about this meal is that no matter which of the toppings you decide to add, the entire meal is still completed in just 29 minutes! That’s right, the cherry tomatoes and Italian sausage roast in the oven while the risotto cooks in the Instant Pot. And miraculously, they’re both done at the same time! Time to toss it all in a bowl and dig in!

Pesto risotto in bowl topped with roasted cherry tomatoes, sliced sausage and a ball of burrata cheese

How to make Risotto in the Instant Pot?

  • Saute onions and garlic in butter in the Instant Pot. One of the greatest features of the Instant Pot is that you can saute and pressure cook in the same pot without dirtying any more dishes. Can I get an amen for less dishes?!
  • Toast arborio rice in the Instant Pot. While the Instant Pot is still on the saute function, you’ll want to add arborio rice and let it toast in the bottom of the pot for 3-4 minutes.
  • Pressure cook the risotto. Add vegetable or chicken broth to the Instant Pot. Switch from the saute to pressure cooker function and pressure cook on high for 6 minutes. After the cooking time is up, wait 10 minutes, then release any remaining pressure before unlocking the lid.
  • Stir in the magic (AKA parmesan cheese and pesto)! I like to use traditional basil pesto in this recipe. But sometimes, I also switch it up with Sun Dried Tomato Pesto or Spinach Pesto.

What to serve with Pesto Risotto?

  • Roasted Cherry Tomatoes – in my eyes, you’ll never regret adding roasted cherry tomatoes to any dish, but SERIOUSLY, add them to this dish! They roast at the same time as the risotto cooks in the Instant Pot, they’re so easy to make and add so much flavor on top of an already flavorful risotto! Boom, that’s a flavor explosion people!
  • Roasted Italian Sausage – this is the perfect way to add protein on top of the risotto. Roast the sausages in the oven with the cherry tomatoes, or by themselves if you’re skipping the cherry tomatoes. But please, for the love, do not skip the cherry tomatoes!!
  • Pesto Salmon – another great protein option to top this risotto is salmon. The recipe linked to is for a roasted pesto salmon with… guess what? Roasted Cherry Tomatoes! Double up on the pesto, double up on the fun! Once again, the salmon and cherry tomatoes roast at the same time as the risotto cooks, so no additional time is added to the recipe!
  • Burrata Cheese – if you’re not familiar with burrata cheese, it’s decadent, silky, creamy, dreamy, cheesy goodness! It’s basically Mozzarella cheese with a creamy center, I mean, what isn’t there to love about that?
  • Mozzarella Cheese – not ready to go all in with the burrata cheese? No problem, sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese or slices of fresh mozzarella cheese over the risotto.
  • Roasted Kale – toss kale leaves with olive oil and salt, then place in an even layer on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven next to the cherry tomatoes. (Have I sold you on the cherry tomatoes yet? 😉 ) The crispy kale chips add a great texture on top of the risotto.

How to make Pesto Risotto Vegan?

To make vegan pesto risotto, use a dairy free butter, vegan parmesan style cheese and a pesto that does not contain dairy, like this Kale Pistachio Pesto.

Pesto risotto in bowl, topped with sausage, tomatoes and cheese

Looking for more easy Instant Pot Recipes? Try these 5 favorites!

  1. Instant Pot Chicken Stroganoff
  2. Instant Pot BBQ Chicken
  3. Pressure Cooker Chicken Tacos
  4. Instant Pot Beef Ragu
  5. French Onion Pot Roast
Bowl of pesto risotto topped with cherry tomatoes, sliced sausage and burrata cheese
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Instant Pot Pesto Risotto

You'll never make risotto on the stove top again, after you see how easy it is to make perfectly creamy Pesto Risotto in an Instant Pot!

Ingredients

Risotto

  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • ½ cup basil pesto
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese, grated

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper

Bowls - Optional Toppings

  • 8 oz burrata cheese
  • 4 links Italian chicken sausage
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil leaves, chopped

Instructions

Risotto

  • Add the butter to an Instant Pot, or electric pressure cooker, on the sauté function.
  • Add onions and garlic, sauté 4-5 minutes.
  • Add the arborio rice and toast it in the bottom of the Instant Pot for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the vegetable broth to the Instant Pot. Place the lid on the Instant Pot and make sure it is set to “sealing”.
  • Press the cancel button on the Instant Pot to turn off the saute funtion, then press the manual button and set the Instant Pot to high pressure for 6 minutes.
  • After the cooking time is up, wait 10 minutes, then release any remaining pressure before unlocking the lid.
  • Remove the lid and stir in the pesto and parmesan cheese.

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

  • While the risotto is cooking in the instant pot, prepare the roasted cherry tomatoes.
  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Toss the cherry tomatoes and 4 whole garlic cloves with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Italian seasoning, sea salt and black pepper.
  • Spread the tomatoes out on a foil-lined baking sheet and place in the oven for 20 minutes.
  • If you’d like to add sausage to the bowls, roast the sausage in the oven on a separate baking sheet at the same time and temperature as the cherry tomatoes.

Bowls

  • Divide the risotto between four bowls.
  • Top with the roasted cherry tomatoes.
  • Slice the sausages and add one sliced sausage link to each bowl.
  • If desired, add burrata cheese and basil leaves to each bowl.

Notes

  • The nutritional information provided does not include the toppings, only the nutrition for the pesto risotto.
  • To make this recipe vegan, use a non dairy butter, vegan parmesan style cheese and pesto that does not contain dairy, like this Kale Pesto.

Nutrition Facts

Calories 660kcal (33%)Carbohydrates 90g (30%)Protein 13g (26%)Fat 27g (42%)Saturated Fat 11g (55%)Cholesterol 41mg (14%)Sodium 1534mg (64%)Potassium 155mg (4%)Fiber 4g (16%)Sugar 5g (6%)Vitamin A 1578mg (32%)Vitamin C 4mg (5%)Calcium 218mg (22%)Iron 5mg (28%)
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