the secret to AL DENTE pressure cooker pasta!
UPDATE: Since a lot of pressure cookers don’t have two pressure settings (should have read my buying guide ; ) I have included a note in the article and sample recipe on how to execute this technique in these kinds pressure and multi cookers.
The literal translation of Arrabiata is Angry but that what Italians call something hot and spicy like this pasta!Cooked in the sauce, and not just coated with it, the pasta changes color and promises to be flavorful, spicy – and also al dente! Here is the recipe and “secret formula” to always get perfectly cooked pasta from your pressure cooker.
Since the cooking time for each brand, and shape, of pasta, vary always refer to the pasta package to determine the correct cooking time. Then, cut that time in half to determine the LOW pressure cooking time. If the pasta would normally need 12-13 minutes cooking time, it should be pressure cooked at LOW pressure for 6, 10-11 minutes pressure cook for 5, and 8-9 minutes should be pressure cooked for 4. If the pasta needs 7 minutes or less to cook using the traditional method, the shape is not a good candidate to pressure cook. This timing formula also works on specialty grain and gluten-free pasta.
Note: For lower-end pressure cookers which only cook at one pressure, which is usually “high” the pasta cooking time as indicated above, and then shave off a minute or two from the resulting cooking time.
In Italy the cooking time of pasta is almost always printed on the front of the package – Italians take this number seriously- but in other countries, the cooking time could be written on the side or back of the package or box.
Use a digital timer, cell phone or microwave clock to keep track of such a short cooking time.
Figuring out the liquid is easy (no sputters)
The hip method for pressure cooking pasta does not actually measure any of the cooking liquid. As noted in the recipe, only the amount of water that is needed for the amount of pasta to be cooked is used. This ensures that there is almost no liquid left in the cooker by the time the pasta is finished cooking – nothing left to foam or sputter when pressure is released.
The kinds of pasta you can pressure cook
Any short to medium cut hard semolina pasta can be pressure cooked. Nests of dried egg fettuccine can also be pressure cooked they should be strained since they require more water to cook than they will absorb. Frozen or dried stuffed pasta, like ravioli or tortellini, may work – follow a specific recipe to be sure you don’t get a watery sauce.
You SHOULD NOT pressure cook
- Any pasta that requires 7 minutes or less will not give you al dente results.
- Spaghetti. You cannot break Spaghetti it in half to fit it in your pressure cooker. Ever.
- Orecchiette. They have a tendency to fall into little stacks and will turn into a solid mass in the pressure cooker.
- Very small pasta intended for soups like Stelline, Quadratini, Orzetto could clog the safety mechanisms of your pressure cooker. However, they can be added after pressure cooking the sauce or soup in the open pressure cooker – follow a specific recipe.
- Fresh pasta will fall apart if pressure cooked
- Potato Gnocchi needs to stop cooking when they float, if you cannot see them you cannot stop your pressure cooker. However, there is a pasta “shape” called Gnochetti which is made of semolina flour and they are ok to pressure cook.
|Pressure Cooker||Accessories||Pr. Cook Time||Pr. Level||Open|
|5 L or larger||none||5-6 min.||Low (1)||Normal|
- Serves: 4-6
- Serving size: ⅙th
- Calories: 300.6
- TOTAL Fat: 1.6g
- TOTAL Carbs: 64g
- Sugar Carbs: 5.4g
- Sodium: 1,108mg
- Fiber Carbs: 4.3g
- Protein: 10.7g
- Cholesterol: 0.0mg
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed
- 2 fresh hot chili peppers, chopped (or 1 tsp. of hot pepper flakes)
- 1 pinch oregano, dry
- 16 oz. (500g.) Farfalle or Bow-Tie Pasta
- 14.5 oz can (or 2 cups or 400g) Tomato Puree (Passata)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- Olive Oil
- In the cold (not-pre-heated) pressure cooker, on low heat without the lid, add two swirls of olive oil, the smashed garlic cloves, hot peppers/flakes and oregano (grinding it between your fingers as you sprinkle it in the pan). Allow the ingredients to infuse the oil until you hear the garlic cloves sizzle and turn lightly golden.
- Pour in the pasta, the tomato puree, and just enough water to cover the pasta- it's ok if a few points stick out here and there - and the salt (do not omit this since you would ordinarily add salt to the pasta cooking water). Stir everything together and flatten the pasta out in an even layer with your wooden spoon, or spatula, to make sure as many farfalle are immersed as possible.
- Close the lid and set the valve to pressure cooking position.
- Electric pressure cookers and stove top pressure cookers: Cook for 6 minutes at LOW pressure (or half of the time indicated on the pasta package). NOTE: For pressure cookers with just one (high) pressure, also half the tie indicated on the pasta package, and then subtract 1-2 minutes more.
- When time is up, open the cooker by releasing the pressure.
- Give the contents a stir and let the pasta sit for about a minute while you gather the bowls and utensils. The pasta is still cooking from the heat of the pressure cooker so don't leave it longer than that. Then, serve and caution your guests that the pasta is very hot and to test out the temperature before taking a big bite!
- Top each bowl with a small swirl of fresh olive oil.