How to Cook Pasta in a Pressure Cooker – Blue Jean Chef
Why cook pasta in a pressure cooker?
Good question! We all know that cooking pasta on the stove is an easy task (to learn all about how to cook pasta correctly, check out this page and video), but it requires you to pay attention. Pasta has a tendency to foam as it boils and all home cooks have been cleaned after a starchy paste boils at some point in their culinary life. When you cook pasta in a pressure cooker, you don’t have to watch it or control the heat under the pot. It cooks quickly and unattended in a pressure cooker. In addition, you can cook pasta directly in a sauce in a pressure cooker, which saves you from having to go one step further in a recipe and one more pot to clean.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you, though, that there are downsides to cooking pressurized pasta. With the lid attached to the kitchen, you will not have the possibility to check the progress of the pasta to know definitively when it is cooked to your liking. That said, you can get pretty close if you follow the instructions and tips below.
How to cook simple pasta in a pressure cooker I’m going to tell you how to
cook simple pasta in a pressure cooker
, but first I need to make a couple of disclaimers. The most important thing to remember is that there are a lot of different brands of pasta in stock and not all of them are created equal. What works for one brand may not be exactly the same for another brand, even if they have the same shape. Also, different forms of pasta tend to cook differently as well, so what works for macaroni might not exactly be suitable for fusilli. Still, for the most part, unless you’re very picky about your pasta, the rules and proportions below will work for most pasta shapes and brands. Here is the overall ratio to use:
1 cup of dry pasta + 1 cup of liquid (water or broth) + 1/2 teaspoon of
salt + 1 teaspoon of fat (oil or butter)
Most forms of pasta can be measured in a measuring cup. However, if you’re trying to cook long pasta like spaghetti, you’ll need to break that pasta in half (I know this is sacrilegious to most Italians and I understand that!). In general, there are about 4 cups of pasta per pound, so if you use a whole pound of spaghetti that doesn’t fit in a measuring cup, assume it’s 4 cups and add 4 cups of liquid.
It is important to understand that when you are cooking under pressure, liquid means water or broth. Strained or pureed tomatoes or marinara sauce do NOT count as liquids.
Salt and fat are optional (but not really). If you’re on a low-sodium diet, I’ll let you not add salt to pasta water. However, if it is not, it is very important to season the water well so that your paste also seasons well. The fat added to the pot is to help limit the amount of foam produced by the pasta. The grease will rest on the surface of the water and minimize foam that could interfere with the pressure valves. I think that’s very important, so it’s not really optional.
Regarding pasta timing, there is another general rule to follow. However, this is where your personal preference comes into play.
The lowest cooking time suggested in the instructions of the rounded pasta package to the nearest even number, divided in half, minus 1 OR
If you are one of those who really like pasta al dente, subtract 2 minutes. If you are not picky about your pasta and you like it a little softer, subtract only 1 minute. For example, if the cooking instructions on your pasta packet say 13 to 15 minutes, take the bottom number (13 minutes) and round down to the nearest even number (12 minutes), divide it in half (6 minutes), and subtract 1 OR 2 minutes (4 or 5 minutes). So, you would put your pressure cooker for 4 minutes if you like your pasta al dente, or 5 minutes if you like pasta a little softer.
What pressure release method to use for
I use the quick release method to release the pressure inside the pot. Many people don’t like this method for pasta because starchy water can spit out of the pressure release valve. I solve this by simply placing a kitchen towel over the release valve to catch any jet of water. For me, it’s more important to stay in control and stop cooking pasta as quickly as possible. Once the pressure has been released, remember to drain the remaining water from the pot.
<img src="https://bluejeanchef.com/uploads/2020/02/Chicken-Ragout-919-819×1024.jpg" alt="Chicken ragout pappardelle
in a pressure cooker.” /> How to cook pasta in a sauce in the pressure cooker My preferred way to cook pressurized pasta is directly in a
sauce (usually one made in the pressure cooker
). In this case, there should already be some liquid in the pressure cooker, but it is not enough to cook your pasta and leave it with a sauce. You need to add more liquid to the pot so that the pasta has something to absorb and so that your sauce does not burn while doing so. How much liquid to add is the question. Here’s the answer:
1 cup pasta + pasta sauce
+ 1/2 cup liquid (broth or water)
There is no need to add fat to the pot because pasta sauce will prevent pasta from foaming. You also shouldn’t need to add more salt because your sauce should be seasoned to your liking and that sauce will season the pasta.
What type of paste can be used
in a pressure cooker? The best pasta
to use is the best pasta, and this is especially true in a pressure cooker. As I mentioned before, pasta brands are not all the same in quality. Really good pasta has two big advantages beyond the fact that it tastes better: it won’t crumble when you cook it and it doesn’t foam as much as minor brands. If you are wondering how to choose a good pasta, check out this page that has many tips for buying and cooking pasta.
Short-form pasta is easier to cook in a pressure cooker because it fits more easily. You can cook long pasta in a pressure cooker, but you will have to split it in half and this hurts the hearts of many Italian cooks. If you’re not Italian, close your eyes, break the pasta in half, put it in the pot and don’t tell anyone what you’ve done.
Tips for cooking pasta in your pressure cooker or instant cooker®
- Use the best quality pasta. It will not break in the kitchen and will foam less.
- Add a fat (oil or butter) to the water when cooking pasta alone to minimize the foam produced.
- Separate the pasta as you put it in the kitchen. This mainly applies to long pasta that has a tendency to stick.
- Stir the pasta well in the water or sauce before closing the lid in place.
- Cover the release valve with a tea towel when quickly releasing pressure to stop any running paste water.
- Stir the pasta well as soon as you remove the lid so that it is redistributed in the sauce.
- Let the paste stand for a couple of minutes before serving. That will help absorb any remaining liquid and let the paste cool to an edible temperature.