I'm an Instant Pot convert, and here's the best recipe for it you'll ever try

An Instant Pot 7-in1 cooker on a green background
(Image credit: Instant Pot)

The most predictable of all the Prime Day deals is here: Amazon is offering big discounts on multiple Instant Pot models including the Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus at £89.99 (was £129.99), and the multi-talented Instant Pot Pro Crisp 11-in-1 at £169.99 (was £249.99).

I love my Instant Pot, and it's honestly the best gadget I've ever bought: it's an everyday workhorse for this harassed parent, and its ability to do lots of different things means it's ideal for my extremely cramped kitchen. 

If you're interested, my current one is the non-Crisp Instant Pot Pro because I already had an air fryer; it isn't currently on offer so you'd be better off with the Crisp, which is identical but adds an extra air frying lid.

I've made all kinds of things in my Instant Pot. It's brilliant for chillies and curries, for pasta and for eggs – if you haven't had Instant Pot eggs you haven't lived – and it's ideal for any kind of cooking that involves throwing a whole bunch of things into a pot and making them into something magical. 

And as far as I'm concerned, the most magical thing you can make is called Roberto.

Roberto is a soup, but to call it just a soup does it a disservice. It's a little bowl of heaven, and it's easy to adapt to whatever ingredients you happen to have handy. 

I learned the recipe from New Yorker food writer Helen Rosner, whose original story about Roberto went viral back in 2016. This one's a keeper: I first made it for me and for friends during lockdown and it's been my go-to mood lifter ever since.

You don't need an Instant Pot to make it, of course. But if you're in a hurry, putting it into pressure cooking mode makes the flavours mingle in a fraction of the time it would take in a normal soup pot. You know how soup always tastes so much better the day after? The Instant Pot makes that happen on day one too.

Here's my take on Helen Rosner's recipe.

How to make Roberto in your Instant Pot

The Instant Pot Pro models are better for this because they have a completely flat bottom in the bowl for even heating; for other models you'll need to keep a closer eye and stir more to ensure you get an even heat.

As ever, you need to assemble your ingredients first. I follow Rosner's recipe as closely as I can, so:

  • 1 large white onion, diced 
  • 4 nice big cloves of garlic, finely chopped 
  • 500g of spicy Italian sausage - I've also had great results with various Chorizos, and M&S's jerk chicken sausages are brilliant too. Skip this or use vegetarian sausage for a veggie-friendly version 
  • A 400g can of good quality chopped tomatoes 
  • A 400g can of beans, rinsed – I tend to go for cannellini beans here but any beans are good 
  • A big bag of kale or cavolo nero, de-stemmed 
  • About a litre of stock – whatever you fancy, I've had great results with chicken and veg stock 
  • Pecorino cheese 
  • A lemon

First up, you want to dice a large white onion and chuck it into the Instant Pot with a pinch of salt and a good splash of decent olive oil. You're going to be using Saute mode for this, but make sure you use the lower-heat version: if you let the onions burn it'll destroy the flavour and ruin your day. 

You want to stir your onions for about 4 minutes or so until they start to go clear. Add the garlic and give it a good whoosh around for about a minute.

Now you want to add the spicy sausage (if using) and cook it evenly till it browns. If you're using chorizo or similar you'll get that lovely red tone throughout the bowl. This bit takes a while and you can go and do something else provided you come back and check regularly. I keep the lid off for this bit.

When you're sure the sausage is cooked, add the beans, the stock and the tinned tomatoes. If you've gone for big plum tomatoes you'll want to smash them up with your wooden spoon here. 

Let the mix heat until it's simmering – you can go for a hotter saute mode to speed it up – and then chuck in more kale than seems necessary. 

Rosen describes it brilliantly in her original: "The pot will look extremely full, but don’t worry—the kale will collapse like an empty wedding gown as soon as you start stirring it in, which you should do."

I normally add some freshly ground black pepper here and then cancel the saute programme, pop the Instant Pot lid on and put it into manual mode: high pressure for about an hour. You don't need to cook it for that long but I've found that when you do, the flavours are just immense.

When the soup's done give it a taste – wooden spoon only – and season; Rosen recommends twice as much pepper than seems wise, and then a bit more, but only half the salt. The cheese you're about to add is salty so you don't want to overdo it.

Now it's just a matter of serving Roberto with some grated Pecorino (Parmesan is good too; as long as it's Italian and salty) and a good squeeze of lemon into each bowl. There's no need for any fancy sides: a nice bit of bread is all you need, because Roberto is the star of the show here. 

Happy eating!

Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus 10-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker, 5.7L: £129.99 £89.99 at Amazon
Save £40

Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus 10-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker, 5.7L: £129.99 £89.99 at Amazon
Save £40
- an evolution of one of the best selling instant pots, this instant pot claims to be the fastest in the class as well as be mega easy for beginners to get their teeth in to.

This 5.7L pressure cooker can sterilize, slow cook, cook rice, make grain, steam, sauté, make yogurt, bake, warm and sous vide. It has 48 customizable preset options, too, making cooking your favorite foods easier than ever.

Instant Pot Pro Crisp 11-in-1 Electric Multi Cooker, 7.6L: £249.99 £169.99 at Amazon
Save £80

Instant Pot Pro Crisp 11-in-1 Electric Multi Cooker, 7.6L: £249.99 £169.99 at Amazon
Save £80
-  Combining an instant pot with an air fryer, this all-in-one multi-cooker will also pressure cook, slow cook, steam, grill, dehydrate and sous vide. The pot and pressure cooking lid is dishwasher safe, and it'll look smart on the countertop, too. 

We like that it has a built-in steam diffuser so it's quiet in operation. Not many we've seen have this function, and it's a good one to have - especially for evening entertainment.

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Carrie Marshall

Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall (Twitter) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR.