Tired of the traditional stovetop method of cooking pasta? Sure it gets the job done, but who among us hasn't dreamt of just throwing everything in a pot, pressing a button and walking away, without having to worry about the pot boiling over? Thanks to the instant pot, that dream is now a reality.
A multifunctional device that takes the place of a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker and more, the instant pot uses steam to build pressure in an air-tight container and cook food faster.
Add your pasta to the instant pot first. If making spaghetti, break the pasta in half in order to get it to fit inside the pot properly. Spaghetti noodles and other noodles that are long and thin can clump together during the cooking process in an instant pot. Add a teaspoon of vegetable oil to the pot to help reduce clumping.
Add water to the pot by pouring it over the pasta. The liquid should fully cover the contents. If the water volume is lower than the level of your food, the instant pot won't be able to reach full pressure, and your pasta won't cook properly. A good rule of thumb is to fill the pot to over a half-inch above the pasta to ensure the appropriate level of moisture for your dish.
Chop up any veggies you'd like to include in your pasta dish. The vegetables can be prepared in the instant pot at the same cooking time and heat as your pasta. Simply add them to the pot when you add your noodles. Just make sure the food is fully covered with liquid to ensure the instant pot builds to the right pressure.
Include any spices in the instant pot that you feel will perk up your pasta. A pinch of salt and pepper is always a popular choice. Consider a teaspoon of oregano and a teaspoon of thyme for more of an Italian flavor or a teaspoon of onion powder or garlic powder to add a savory taste to your pasta.
Once the pasta, liquid and any extras are in the pot, close the lid. Then, turn the valve on the instant pot to the sealing position. This will ensure an airtight seal and allow your pasta to cook at a much faster rate than it would in a stovetop pot.
Check the pasta box and locate the minimum cooking time for the quantity you placed in the instant pot. Take whatever time is indicated on the box and divide it by two. For example, if the indicated cooking time is 12 minutes, cook your pasta in the instant pot for 6 minutes. If you prefer al dente pasta, subtract a minute from your cooking time. If you like softer pasta, add a minute.
Plug in your instant pot, make sure the lid is sealed and then press the "Manual" button located at the front of the pot. Adjust the temperature using the [+] and [-] buttons until you have the appropriate cooking time set. The instant pot will build up the correct level of steam and cook your pasta with no additional work on your part!
You need to relieve the pressure built up in the instant pot before opening it. Instant pressure release isn't recommended for starchy dishes such as pasta since starch can foam up in the pot and shoot out of the valve when pressure is released. Natural pressure release allows the pressure to escape much more slowly, but your pasta will continue to cook during this process. After you hear the pot beep, indicating the pasta is done, use the intermittent pressure release technique by quickly opening and closing the valve to release the steam in short bursts to help control the release. Once the steam is done escaping, you can safely open the lid and access your pasta dish.
Pour the pasta into a strainer or colander to remove any leftover liquid in the bottom of the instant pot. Be sure to place the colander in or over a sink to catch the hot water. Wear oven mitts during the procedure to protect your hands from any hot liquid that may splash out.
Deposit your pasta into a serving bowl or plate and top with your favorite flavorful spices, sauces or other additions. Shredded parmesan cheese is a classic texture-filled pasta topper. Basil, parsley and a light sprinkle of salt and ground pepper also add zest to your dish. However you serve it, pasta fresh out of an instant pot is guaranteed to be an instant hit!
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