This pressure cooker conversion of a classic Italian pasta dish promises creamy broccoli, crispy sausage and al dente pasta. This dish is a flavorful one pot meal that comes together with an easy technique I came up with on-the-fly after years of flops.
This recipe falls in the the category of deceptively simple pressure cooker conversion, as with the baked apples, it literally took me forever to get this dish just right. Early attempts gave me soggy pasta and gray broccoli. I couldn’t figure out how to adjust the amount of water for my pressure cooker pasta method to accommodate the broccoli. I gave up for a few years thinking it couldn’t be done.
Recently, my refrigerator was stuffed to the gills with 5 kilos (10lbs) of farmer veggies plus 2 kilos (4lbs) of supermarket broccoli. I had to use them up- and fast! I used this bounty of crucifers to refocus my efforts towards figuring out this recipe for the pressure cooker once and for all.
Easy New Technique
This time around I started using the pressure cooker heat zones to my advantage (I describe them in detail in my book on page 222). The only problem was that using a steamer basket was too kludgy and just laying the broccoli on top of the pasta left the stems unpleasantly crunchy.
But those mistakes worked me towards the idea of sticking just the broccoli stems into the pasta cooking water – the stems boil in the pasta water while the florets steam.
Pressure Cooker Pasta Timing
Every kind of cut pasta has its own cooking time written on the box . For example, the penne I use in the video require 10 minutes conventional cooking time. Halve this cooking time and use that (5 min) at low pressure to get al dente results. If the cooking time is an odd number, say 9 minutes, just halve it and round down to the nearest minute (4 min).
Don’t forget that the pasta pressure cooking time remains the same even if you change the quantity of pasta to fit your family’s needs.
More Info: The SECRET to al dente Pressure Cooked Pasta
Home-made Sausage Mix
I have easy access to fresh high-quality sausages, and that’s what I use, but if you can’t find freshly made sausages without additives and preservatives, make your own in a flash. To make enough sausage for this recipe, just mix one pound (500g) of ground pork (a mix of shoulder and belly cuts are best, but anything will work) with a teaspoon of salt, a teaspoon of crushed fennel seeds and 1/2 teaspoon of paprika (use cayenne, instead if you’d like it spicy). There’s no need to stuff the mixture into a casing because we unstuff the sausages for this recipe, anyway.
|Pr. Cook Time
|6 L or larger
- Serves: 4-6
- Serving size: ⅙th
- Calories: 509.6
- TOTAL Fat: 19.5g
- TOTAL Carbs: 62.9g
- Sugar Carbs: 3.2g
- Sodium: 724.3mg
- Fiber Carbs: 5.5g
- Protein: 22.1g
- Cholesterol: 57.6mg
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound (500g) sausage - your favorite kind
- 1 pound (500g) penne pasta
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste concentrate
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3-4 cups water - to cover
- 8-12 oz (250-350g) broccoli florets
- 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 1 teaspoon paprika, for garnish
- Add the oil to the pre-heated pressure cooker and, then squeeze the sausage meat of out its casing into the pressure cooker.
- Break-up the sausage and saute' stirring infrequently until browned - at first the sausages will release water and then they will begin to fry, become crispy and start looking golden (about 5 minutes).
- Once the sausage is crispy, lift out of the pressure cooker and set aside. You can also remove some of the fat at this point, if you prefer.
- Add a small splash of water and lift-up the browned bits stuck to the base of the pressure cooker.
- Next add the pasta, tomato paste and salt. Mix the ingredients inside the pressure cooker well.
- Smooth out the top of the pasta into a somewhat flat layer, and add just enough water to cover the pasta (a few corners and points sticking out are OK).
- On top of the pasta mixture, add the broccoli florets - stem-side down.
- Close and lock the lid of the pressure cooker.
- Electric pressure cookers: Cook for 5 minutes at LOW pressure.
Stovetop pressure cookers: Turn the heat up to high and when the cooker indicates it has reached LOW pressure, lower to the heat to maintain it and begin counting 5 minutes pressure cooking time.
- When time is up, open the pressure cooker with the Normal release - release pressure through the valve.
- Mix-in the garlic, break-up the broccoli, and add the fried sausage pieces back into the pressure cooker.
- Serve with a sprinkle of paprika.