May 2020

A series about creating, learning, and thriving today

How to prepare a delicious Saffron Risotto with Pancetta in just 45 minutes using a pressure cooker

Cooking is a passion for Darcie, one of the talented folks on our Design team. Here she shares a favorite pressure-cooker recipe for a quick, easy, delicious dinner we think you and yours will bookmark on the favorites list.  

Darcie’s Recipe for Pressure-Cooker Saffron Risotto with Sausage, Pancetta, and Burst Tomatoes

This recipe makes 4 servings, and from start to finish takes about 45 minutes, including 7 minutes in the pressure cooker.
Download a PDF of the recipe.

Garnet Hill Tea Towel


3 tablespoons olive oil
2/3 c diced onion (about ½ medium onion)
4 garlic cloves minced
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 cup Arborio rice
1 pound ground Italian sausage
2-3 ounces diced pancetta
2 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup white wine
1 teaspoons saffron threads
¾ cup grated Pecorino Romano (can use parmesan)
2 tablespoons basil chiffonade (fresh basil sliced in thin ribbons)

Chef’s Tip
If you remove sausage, pancetta, tomatoes, and saffron, this becomes a versatile, basic pressure-cooker risotto from which to build your own recipes.


  • Start with the removable cooking pot from your pressure cooker, with the lid off. Turn the pot on to Sauté.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, then add sausage and pancetta, stirring and breaking up the sausage into small chunks until it is cooked through
  • Remove contents from pot and set aside.
  • Using the Sauté setting, add 2 tablespoons of oil and heat.
  • Once heated, add onion, garlic, and rice, stir occasionally until onion is translucent. It will take about 5 minutes.
  • Move mixture to one side of pot and add tomatoes. Stir occasionally and cook until they start to burst. This will take about 5 minutes.
  • Add sausage and pancetta mixture back to pot.
  • Add white wine, broth, and saffron threads. If you are not familiar with cooking with saffron, I love (and always use) Zaran Saffron.
  • Stir.
  • Turn off Sauté setting.
  • Close and lock lid of pressure cooker. Set to Pressure Cook for 7 minutes.
  • When it’s done, Quick Release the pressure.
  • Open cooker when it’s safe to do so.
  • Stir in cheese, then basil.
  • Serve with extra Pecorino Romano cheese and garnish.

Chef’s tips

  • If the risotto seems dry after the cheese is added, add a bit more broth — a little at a time.
  • Garnishing when plating makes everything taste better! I garnished my dish with fresh microgreens from a small farm nearby. I use local produce in my cooking and find that it inspires my meals for the week.
  • To find additional recipes for your pressure cooker, try MILK STREET FAST & SLOW: INSTANT POT® COOKING AT THE SPEED YOU NEED by Christopher Kimball. It’s one of my new favorite cookbooks from magazine and cooking school 177 Milk Street in Boston.

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