Looking for an easy way to cook your pasta? It is something we make here often except for when we make our veggie noodles. I have to admit that sometimes I just don't feel like boiling and draining it, so I started to cook the pasta in the Instant Pot.
This is for boxed pasta only. As much as I love making homemade pasta, I do not cook homemade in the Instant Pot. The times would vary and I fear it might stick together.
Why cook pasta in the Instant Pot?
I feel like it is easier to know for sure how long it will take. You will learn how long it will take to build up pressure - should be about 15 minutes here, but your IP might vary slightly. You ever notice that the amount of time to boil water can vary? Sometimes it feels like it takes an eternity, right?
My biggest reason (because it is the one of the reasons why I am using boxed pasta) is so I can be lazy - yes I admit it! I don't have to drain it over a strainer and risk getting burned. It will come out done with the water soaked up. The only drawback is that I won't have extra pasta water if making a homemade sauce.
Should I rinse the pasta after cooking?
This is your choice and I would judge by if you normally would. I don't rinse my pasta if I am serving it warm, only when making a pasta salad with it. If it's not rinsed it, it does leave that same starchy residue like you get if you boil it. When you don't rinse, it helps the sauce to stick to your pasta better.
This will not need to be drained, but if rinsing just pour it into a strainer and rinse as you normally would.
Does this work with spaghetti noodles?
To be honest, I wouldn't recommend doing spaghetti with it. I haven't tried it due to the fact that it sticks together easier without being stirred even when boiling. Maybe if you add oil it will work, but I cannot guarantee that.
I will update if I try it and have success, but I feel it will stick together.
How to Cook the Pasta
In the picture above is bow tie or farfalle pasta (different names with different makers.) You will see that the water is just up to the top of the pasta. The water needs to cover most of the pasta and all of it has to be at least touching the water - no noodles high above the water! You can gently push it down to be sure it is covered.
I have made many different pastas with this method and it comes out perfect. This also is a great reference for when you find dishes like cheesesteak pasta or taco pasta for the Instant Pot. Sometimes you don't use the same noodles as the recipe creator and this will give you a better idea of times.
How much liquid?
I always use 4 cups of water to a pound of pasta. I have done quite a variety of pasta but haven't cooked them all. If you do more pasta, just be sure it is covered in the water, but typically you add another cup per 1/4 pound of pasta.
Do you want to add flavor? You can cook it in broth as well, use the same amount of broth as water.
The cook times:
Please note that we are not adding any salt or oil to this, this picture is just to reference cook times. I do not add salt or oil to the pasta - tho you could add a little bit of each, it isn't required.
We will refer to the chart above as an example so you know what I mean here. This is not for the bow ties, the bow tie/farfalle pasta I cooked did not have a chart like this.
See the 3 different times? I pick the highest time and divide in half. Now with this one, we obviously can't set it for 3 and a half minutes so I round up. I would do 4 minutes for this chart.
Now some boxes say a time like 8-10 minutes and so you do the same thing. Take the 10 minutes and cut it in half. My bow tie pasta said 11 minutes. I did it for 6 - divide in half and round up.
Cooking on high pressure:
Use the above information to determine the amount of water you will need and how long you will need to set your high pressure for. Add the pasta and water into the inner pot.
Be sure the seal is in the lid (the silicone ring) and place the lid on the Instant Pot, turn it to lock it on. Be sure the valve is set to sealing - this is only on some models as some automatically have vent to sealing position.
Hit the manual/high pressure button and adjust to your desired cook time. It will beep once when it is up to pressure (about 15 minutes) and then it will beep multiple beeps to let you know it is done cooking. Once it is done cooking, carefully do a manual quick release.
Your pasta will be done at this point, enjoy!