Pressure Cooker Mac & Cheese Italian Style!
This recipe is the Roman version of Mac ‘n Cheese – fresher, lighter and well… Italian! Even though you add the “sauce” after pressure cooking, this recipe takes advantage of the boiling pasta water to melt the cheese (a step that would ordinarily be done separately with the pasta cooking water).
Original versions of this dish only have Percorino Romano cheese and pepper.. lots of it! So much that the result is very spicy (like many dishes from this region). But the last couple of generations of Roman housewives have upgraded this dish without making it any more complicated with the addition of Ricotta cheese and a dash of fresh herbs.
Since Ricotta is such a dominant flavor in this dish… buy the good stuff or make it yourself from a gallon of whole milk!
Italian Mac and Cheese Pressure Cooker Recipe(Pipe Cacio e Pepe)
16 oz. or 500 g. Pipes, Elbow Macaroni, Penne or short tubular Pasta that can scoop up the cream sauce
In the pre-heated pressure cooker, add a swirl of olive oil, pasta, salt and enough water to just cover the pasta. Smooth the pasta out with a spatula to get an even layer and submerge as much pasta in as little water as possible.
Set the pan to cook on LOW pressure. Turn the heat up to high and when the pan has reached LOW pressure, lower the heat and count 4 minutes (or the recommended time). When time is up, open the pressure cooker using the cold-water quick-release method – take your pressure cooker to the sink and carefully run water over the top ensuring not to cover any of the valves.
For Electric Pressure Cookers: Open using the Normal Method – turn the valve or button to release pressure. Since Electric Pressure cookers differ in their time to pressure, cooking pressure, and require a Normal release (which can take up to two minutes) you may need to shave off an additional minute or two from the pressure cooking time to achieve al dente results.
Pour out about half of the cooking water from the pressure cooker into the sink. Mix in the ricotta cheese and parsley or basil. Top each bowl with abundant Pecorino Romano cheese and pepper and serve immediately.