I love Italian dishes – they are hearty and stick to your ribs. But I hate cooking pasta – all that water wasted, and it takes lots of time to wait for the water to boil. Recently we had dinner at a friend’s house and she made an Instant Pot pasta dish. It took thirty minutes and was done. It was also delicious. So as I resolved to use my Instant Pot at least once a week and share my adventures here, I was on the search for a pasta recipe to try and share.
Not all pasta can be cooked in the Instant Pot, I’d never try actual spaghetti, vermicelli, or fettucine. However, penne, bowtie, or shells could all work I think.
The following recipe was quick, easy, and absolutely delicious. Chou chou put it in the top three favorite dishes I’ve ever made, and MC dug in with a large table spoon and fork. She devoured this. Kid friendly, husband approved, and quick? Check, check, and check.
Click on the link above for the exact recipe I found online. Below are the ingredients I used and the directions for the way I made it.
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- healthy shakes (teaspoon or so) of spices of choice: rosemary, garlic powder, minced onion, Italian spices, salt & pepper etc.
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 small jar of sun-dried tomatoes, drained and roughly chopped
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup evaporated canned milk
- 3 cups penne pasta
- 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature & diced
- 1 ½ cups parmesan
- 4-5 cups fresh spinach
- On a plate, shake spices of choice & blend together. place chicken breasts on plate, flip on both sides to cover in spices.
- Set instant pot to Sauté, once hot add the olive oil.
- Cook chicken on both sides for 2-3 minutes (until golden brown). Remove from pot.
- Add oil as necessary, then add onion and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add Italian seasoning and chopped sun dried tomatoes. Stir.
- Add chicken broth & with a wooden spoon scrape the bottom of the pot.
- Add pasta and evaporated milk and stir gently.
- Place chicken breasts on top.
- Cover & seal the lid. Make sure valve is sealed.
- Pressure cook on high pressure for 4 minutes.
- Once the Instant Pot has cooked on high pressure for 4 minutes, instant release.
- Open cover & remove chicken to a cutting board.
- Select sauté and add cubed cream cheese. Gently stir for 1 minute.
- Add parmesan and stir gently for another minute.
- Add the spinach to combine.
- Turn off the pressure cooker.
- Cube chicken and add to the pot. Gently stir one last time.
Surprisingly, I did follow the directions, more or less. I didn’t have all the seasonings for the chicken, so I just used the ones mentioned in the above ingredients list (rosemary, garlic powder, minced onion, Italian spices, salt & pepper).
I also didn’t cover the chicken with foil at any time – it seemed to add a step when I was moving along through the recipe and the chicken stayed warm anyway.
Frozen prep version:
The recipe requires one cup of evaporated milk, and the cans that I have are two cups, so I made another batch to use the remaining milk. I’ve frozen this to have a ready-made dinner upon our return from France. I’ll keep you posted as to how well this works out!
I had enough chicken, evaporated milk, and spinach, but I didn’t realize I didn’t have enough sun dried tomatoes until I was just about to make this again. So for my frozen version, I substituted a can of diced Italian style tomatoes for the sun dried tomatoes. Instead of 2 cups of chicken broth, I took the empty can of diced tomatoes and filled it ¾ of the way with water. We tried this version with shells instead of penne as well.
I hesitated adding the cream cheese and parmesan before freezing. I’m not exactly sure how that would turn out. I’d rather make a “sauce” with the cream cheese and parmesan when I thaw the meal. and then incorporate it together before serving.
Have any Instant Pot insights involving pasta? Ever had any success freezing dishes with cheeses? Share your tricks in the comments section!