Learn how to cook pasta on your Instant Pot, Ninja Foodi or other brand of electric pressure cooker. This is the easiest and hands-off way to make perfect pasta every time.
If your home is like mine, you love a nice pasta dinner! There are so many delicious options that it’s the perfect dinner, whether you’re serving yourself alone or a hungry crowd.
Making pasta in the Instant Pot is one of the easiest ways to do it. No need to babysit, stir or boil water! (And it didn’t splash tomato sauce all over my oven afterwards either!)
Formula: Calculate the perfect pasta cooking time For the perfect Instant Pot pasta, there’s a pretty simple formula for finding
the right cooking time
: Take the time shown on the box, cut it in half, and then subtract an extra minute.
For example, for pasta with bow tie, if the package says to cook for 12 minutes, you would cook it under pressure for 5 minutes. (12 minutes divided by 2, minus 1 additional minute).
This formula works for regular pasta, whole wheat pasta, gluten-free pasta, rice-based pasta, or just about any type.
Tip: If the cooking time is an odd number, I usually round down.
Fit for softer or firmer pasta
I recommend starting with the above formula for the first time you make pasta in your Instant Pot. Then next time, if you want a little more bite, subtract a minute from the cooking time. If you want it softer, add a minute until you get your perfect texture.
After making pasta several times, you’ll know the perfect time to cook your brand of pasta to your preferred taste
Use an intermittent pressure release
Starchy foods such as potatoes and pasta often lather while cooking under pressure. Usually, a long, slow natural pressure release is better to allow the foam to subside. However, pasta will cook too easily, so it needs a quick release of pressure to prevent it from becoming soft.
That’s why you’ll be using an intermittent version. Here’s how:
- When the cooking time is over, turn the pressure valve from Sealing to Ventilation. Let the pressure release until you see foam or large water droplets coming out of the valve.
- As soon as this happens, put the switch back to Sealing and wait 20 to 30 seconds. This will reduce foam.
- Ventilate again and repeat as needed until all pressure is released.
You should only need to do this once or twice.
you are concerned about foaming, the best way to reduce foam is by adding cooking fat. You can add oil or butter to pasta and water.
Or if you’re making a meat sauce, sauté ground beef or chicken in the pressure cooker as a first step. Remove the meat from the pot before adding the pasta and water.
Also, keep in mind that some brands foam more than others. If you have problems with foaming, consider switching brands and see if that helps.
Know your noodles
Some forms of pasta are better for pressure cooking than others. Unless I’m following a specific recipe, I prefer to use shorter noodles like rotini, penne, farfalle (bow tie) or shells. Longer pastes, such as spaghetti, linguine, and angel hair, tend to cluster together.
you want to cook spaghetti, cut the noodles in half and add a tablespoon or two of butter or vegetable oil to the pressure cooker. This will help minimize clumping. After releasing the pressure, gently stir the noodles. If necessary, use a fork to separate the individual noodles.
How much water to add?
Whether you’re cooking a single serving or an entire box, use enough liquid to barely cover the pasta. (Of course, be sure to follow the minimum liquid requirements of your pressure cooker.) After cooking, drain your pasta through a strainer or use a ladle to remove the extra liquid.
Unless I’m following a specific recipe, I prefer to cook pasta in water and cook pot sauce over pasta. However, you can cook pasta in a sauce.
If you do this, it is SO IMPORTANT to add enough liquid to the pot. Many sauces in jars include thickeners, which can create a film at the bottom of the pot that will change the way pasta is cooked and can trigger a burn warning.
If the sauce is thin when you remove the lid after pressure cooking, turn off the instant pot. The paste will continue to absorb liquid as it cools.
If the sauce
has too much liquid, select Sauté and simmer the pasta until the sauce is somewhat thick.
Salt your water
For a really tasty pasta, there is no substitute for salting water. It absorbs into the noodles and really improves the taste.
I rarely use a measuring spoon, usually, I just look at a teaspoon and throw it out
(Also, for the record, Martha recommends avoiding iodized salt for this job.)
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