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.
|Pressure Cooker||Accessories||Pr. Cook Time||Pr. Level||Open|
|6 L or larger||none||5 min.||Low(1)||Normal|
- 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.
Pressure cooker is the best way to prepare the meal. Easy and fun! I often prepare chicken and vegetables in the pressure cooker. Now it’s time for pasta, too. Thanks a lot!
I will add carrots as we don’t have any broccoli atm(trying to eat whatever we have in fridge and freezer to make some room for Christmas food).
With using an electric pressure cooker is it best to do npr or qr?
“10. When time is up, open the pressure cooker with the Normal release – release pressure through the valve.”
This is commonly called “quick release”. Laura prefers the term “Normal”
Unless you like your pasta very thoroughly cooked I wouldn’t ever use natural release for pasta. You’ll wind up with mush.
Then again, I’m pretty picky about pasta. I generally prefer to cook pasta traditionally, so I can check it constantly when it’s close to done. But there is something to be said for the convenience of making a pasta dish in minutes in a single pot. I think this is an application where stove-top cookers are clearly superior, because they come to pressure so much more quickly and consistently, assuming a powerful burner.
I generally try to shoot for slightly underdone pasta in a pressure-cooker, and finish it by simmering until it’s just right. This has the added advantage of reducing the sauce a bit, and concentrating its flavors.
My instant pot only cooks on high pressure. How many minutes on high pressure can I cook this on?
Look at the amount of time on the box of pasta and split it in half, then take off another minute. You can also add a teaspoon of basil and one half teaspoon oregano, makes it even more delicious.
I appreciate the free recipe however, I’m having difficulty with your directions. First I tried to preheat, but the manual doesn’t state how to preheat (neither does your recipe). So I just put in on Saute and waiting until it heated up. Second you do not indicate what Function so I used Soup. It would have been helpful if you put those in your instructions. I writing this as I wait for the meal to finish…hopefully it won’t be mush!
Laura writes her recipes so that they will be suitable for as many pressure cookers as possible. To do so, she uses manual settings wherever possible. Because the built in functions are very model specific, she avoids referencing them. Depending on your make and model, you may need to do some interpretation to work out what setting to use on YOUR PC.
1. Using saute is as good a way as any to preheat the pot. Well done for working that one out.
2. This recipe requires low pressure. If the “Soup” setting on your PC uses low pressure, then that will be a correct setting. However, not all pressure cookers have a “low pressure” setting. If yours is one of these, then yes, you are likely to end up with mush. Some people have reported success with pasta on high pressure by halving the time required. Broccoli will always be a problem at high pressure. It cooks really really quickly.
I’ve read that IP uses lower wattage than most pressure cookers, so one needs to increase the times by some percentage?
The wattage is only relevant to how quickly the cooker heats-up to build pressure. It is true that other electric pressure cooker manufacturers have cookers that are a higher wattage but the cooking time, once they all reach pressure, would be the same. ; )
I typically use the saute function to preheat and the manual function when setting time to cook. Don’t typically use the presets.
I would like to try this recipe in my Tefl Cook4Me but I’d like to add at least one other vegetable, any suggestions?
Made It For The First Time. It Was Easy & Delicious. Next Time I Will Put In More Brocoli :)
Really Tasty :)
I have an instant pot. When you say normal release that doesn’t mean quick release does it? Thanks
Yes, Normal is also known as a Quick Release.
I’m travelling in Italy with my kids and the trusty instant pot! This dish has been such a huge hit with all of us the kids have been demanding it over and over (cooking it again as I type!) Thank you so much for the great recipes this website has been a lifesaver for inspiration. 2 of the kids have been converted to broccoli by this dish, also pears in red wine changed the opinions on that fruit! Any other websites or blogs you suggest for our trip? We are cooking our way around the country :)
Hi Rebecca, I’m located in Italy so you’ve come to the right place. : ) So… what other veggies should we have your kids fall in love with?
BTW, another great combo is to make the “plain” pasta (like this http://www.hippressurecooking.com/italian-mac-cheese-pipe-cacio-e-pepe-pipes-with-cheese-and-pepper/) but add a pound of raw green beans sliced into 1″ lengths on top before closing the cooker. When finished, mix-in some fresh basil pesto!
Also, same “plain” pasta starter but add peas on top. When finished pressure cooking add garlic, and 1/2 cup of heavy cream and smoked salmon!
I’m always in a hurry so I’ve come up with lots of “complete” pasta meals.
Quick question: Can I use very small florets of broccoli to get the creamy effect, without people necessarily noticing the broccoli as a separate ingredient? I’m dealing with an audience of broccoli sceptics, and would like to try to use this recipe to break down some barriers.
You can but be aware that some of the “buds” from the cauliflowers will remain intact. Good luck!
BTW, you can also do this with cauliflower – and it will be less noticeable. Just don’t have them around when you do the pressure release – you know that cuali cooking smell could fool your bressica nay-sayers into thinking the dish will taste like that! : )
Is there an easy conversion for a 3qt IP?
Can I use broccoli from frozen? I hate cutting up broccoli, so I usually buy it in frozen bags.
Yes, you can use frozen broccoli for this recipe.