Not so long ago, we were hungry and tired and the fridge was almost bare.

I was *this* close to ordering a takeaway, closely followed by a night of a sore tummy and guilt but I somehow managed to force myself to cook and I’m so glad I did.

This Instant Pot Meatball Risotto is now a firm favourite and has saved both our waistlines and our wallets more than a few times already!

Instant Pot Meatball Risotto

Hungry Hubby and I love meatballs and they are brilliant things to make in huge batches, then freeze for hungry and tired days ahead. I make quite a few versions – from my slow cooker ones, served with pasta or on soft sub rolls to my Swedish meatballs served with mash, gravy and lingonberry jam.

As long as they aren’t curried, pretty much any meatball will do in this risotto, just so long as they aren’t too big so that they are fully reheated by the time the rice is done.

Meatball sub on homemade Italian herbs & cheese sub

After you have sweated down a leek, added the cooked but frozen meatballs then stirred a little red pesto through the rice, boom, you are 7 minutes away from an extremely tasty midweek meal. I like to use white Vermouth (or white wine) as I don’t want red wine overpowering the dish but I do use red pesto to bump up the flavour.

As opposed to green variety, red pesto is usually made from a purée of sundried tomatoes and/or red peppers. It has a unique flavour that together with a little beef stock to cook the rice in, makes for a very satisfying meal indeed.

You’ve probably noticed I add sweetcorn to a lot of dishes – it’s true, I do – but we both love it and the sweet pop of the juicy kernels work well with the meatballs, as well as upping the veg content of your meal.

Instant Pot Meatball Risotto

As well as varying the meatballs to suit your mood (or more realistically, what you have in the freezer), you can add as many as you like. I tend to do 6 for me and 8 for Hungry Hubby which is plenty, even when we are famished.

The recipe reads longer than it is, in reality, to throw together so don’t be put off and get cooking! Your hungry tummy will thank you later 🙂

5 from 1 vote
Instant Pot Meatball Risotto
Instant Pot Meatball Risotto

Quick, easy, filling and darn tasty. This is exactly the recipe you need for when your cold, hungry and too tired to think past a little stirring. 

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: English
Servings: 2 people
: 646 kcal
Author: Just Jo
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 skinny leek, finely sliced and washed
  • 12-16 frozen meatballs*
  • 175 g risotto rice (canaroli or arborio work)
  • 3 tbsp red pesto
  • 1 small can sweetcorn (about 180-200g)
  • 2 tbsp Vermouth (or 4 tbsp white wine)
  • 350 ml beef stock (it's helpful to have some extra to finish the dish with)
  • 2 tbsp parmesan, finely grated
  • 1 tbsp parsley, chopped, to garnish (optional)
  1. Start by heating the oil in the Inner Pot on Sauté. Add the leek and cook for a few minutes until softened and translucent - the finer you cut them, the faster this happens. 

  2. Add the still-frozen meatballs and cook for 2 minutes until the frostiness is gone then add the rice, pesto, sweetcorn and stir very well. Cook for 2 further minutes to ensure all the rice is coated with the leeks, oil and pesto.

  3. Deglaze with the Vermouth or white wine and then pour in the stock. Now, it is very important to stir very well so that there is no pesto stuck to the bottom of the pot as it can catch and burn. Put the lid on, close the valve and set to Manual High for 7 mins. QPR when done. 

  4. Stir well, if needed, add some more stock then add the parmesan and parsley if using. Taste for seasoning then serve straight away. 

Recipe Notes

*= you can use whatever meatballs you like, just so long as they are about 1-inch in diameter, no bigger so that they cook through with the tice. I use frozen meatballs straight from the freezer. Homemade or store bought will do nicely. 

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Instant Pot Meatball Risotto