Fast, One-pot Pasta. With veggies!!! Shhh! Don’t tell the kids! Yes, it’s all true (read: minimal effort and minimal clean-up) and it is a family-friendly meal. The one draw-back: you’ll need an electric pressure cooker. You may not think you need yet another kitchen appliance, but the electric pressure cooker is now my most-used appliance!
I purchased my first electric pressure cooker in the USA about 18 months ago (Instant Pot brand). Once I learned how to use it by watching YouTube videos, I couldn’t stop using it. It steams veggies & rice, incubates yoghurt, keeps food warm, slow cooks, sautés, pressure cooks and so much more. I use my about 3-4 times a week.
After I moved to Gabs, I found a Russell-Hobbs model at Edgar’s/Boardman’s in Airport Junction that has many of the same features as my Instant Pot. Not all electric pressure-cookers are created equal, so make sure you research them first or just take my suggestion to get the Russell-Hobbs one. Caution: they make a model without the yoghurt function, so if yoghurt making is important, look for the one with this feature!
What Else Can You Make?
Mashed potatoes have never tasted so good. Boiled eggs that are perfectly cooked with insanely easy to peel shells, oatmeal, stews/soups, applesauce, and ‘roasted’ meat are all a cinch. I know I sound like an infomercial, but these appliances are life-style changing. I no longer need to plan ahead by thawing frozen meat to use with my slow cooker, but if I really want slow-cooked food I can still do it with this appliance as there is a slow-cook feature. My rice comes out amazing and not water-logged. I can make a pot roast in about an hour and a half, and I don’t have to be home to make sure I’m not burning down the house with the oven!
What Recipes Should I Start With?
First, I recommend you do a water test (e.g. steam water for 2 minutes). This helps you get comfortable using the pot. Next, I recommend steaming rice or making hard boiled eggs. You can follow my board on Pinterest if you’d like to see some suggestions for recipes. The Hip Pressure Cooking, Pressure Cooking Today, and This Old Gal blogs are very helpful as well. However, if you’re ready to go straight to making dinner and you are at novice level, then this recipe is a perfect one for you!
Time: 10 minutes to sauté; 5-6 minutes of pressure cooking time.
- 1-2 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 medium carrot, grated
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 stalk of celery, minced
- 500 g beef steak mince
- ½ cup dry red wine
- 1 box of pasta (gluten-free, whole-wheat, & regular pasta)
- 2 small jars (420 g size) of pasta sauce (napoletana, basil, marinara) or 1 large jar
- ½ cup Grana Padana/Parmesan/Romano Cheese, grated
In your electric pressure cooker, add olive oil and onions/carrot/celery and sauté until veggies are translucent ~ 5-6 minutes. Add minced garlic and stir until fragrant ~ 30 seconds. Now add your ground beef and break it up with your spoon and cook until all the small bits are browned. After the beef is browned, then de-glaze your pot by adding ½ cup of dry red wine to the beef mixture and cook for about 1 minute.
Turn the sauté feature off and add the following ingredients to the beef mixture in this order: Jar(s) of pasta sauce, box of penne, and then fill the empty jar(s) with water and add to the beef/sauce/pasta until water is just covering the pasta. Stir together, gently.
Put the lid on your electric pressure cooker and set the cooker to manual mode on high pressure for 5-6 minutes.
Tip: I look at the pasta cooking directions and half the cooking time to find the pressure cooker time. Example – if the pasta says cook for 10-12 minutes, then I usually set the cooker to 6 minutes. Once the pressure cooker beeps to alert you the cooking program has finished, then quick release the steam (this means you flip the steam sealing valve to let off the steam as soon as the program finishes). Carefully, open the lid once the steam valve has been released and stir the pasta well.
Dish up the pasta and grate fresh grana padana/parmesan/romano cheese on top & serve immediately. Enjoy.