Monday, October 15, 2012

Macaroni and cheese pressure cooker style

pressure cooker pasta, cheese sauce and meatballs

OK, I admit it, every once in a while we go down the prepared food aisle and I try to find something Connor will like. He doesn't like boxed food as a rule, yeah, I did that one to myself.  He's a "can't you just make it at home" sort of kid. I've tried to force him to eat macaroni and cheese from a box, it's never gone over well.  He does, however, love a good Alfredo and I was determined to find a way to find the ease of a box and the speed that he can manage and make himself.  He is 13 after all and food isn't something he waits for graciously.

I was playing around in the kitchen, like I do, and I discovered a box of macaroni and cheese that I got for free and stared at it...there's got to be a way to cook this boxed stuff (and real stuff too!) in the pressure cooker! No pots to fill with water, no precarious draining or having to deal with the stove. 

Bingo, baby, I did it  Here's how I do it!

1 box of any macaroni and cheese
a single layer of dry, small, pasta like mini shells

Put a single layer of dry pasta (boxed or loose) in the pressure cooker and cover with water. Add just enough to cover totally. *there's pictures below to show you* Add a pinch of salt and a drop of oil. Lock and load and set timer for 5 minutes (high pressure) walk away.

Meanwhile, put 3 T butter and about 1/4 cup milk in a dish.  I told Connor to do this so he has something to do for the 5 minutes the pasta is cooking :)  I also think he figured it was a higher percentage of me cooking than a box which was the reason he was willing to give it a try I think.

At the end of 5 minutes, release the pressure and LOOK!  it's COOKED!!!  it's not gummy or pasty, it bugs me that it works...but it does and it works beautifully!!  I tried it with a number of small size pasta and it worked with each one just as well.  I think mini shells are the favorite now, with butter, cream, Parmesan and pepper.  These beauty shots are from a box for effect.

Drop the butter and milk onto the pasta in the pot, remember there's no need to drain!  Toss it around and then either add real cheese of your choice OR you can add some of the powdered stuff and toss it around with more pepper.  Look at this, it's crazy and it's fast and it's delicious (well, not the powdered stuff)

Serve it up straight from the cooker.  Grate some cheese on top or just serve it the way it is.  I have no problem with my 13 year old son making himself a pressure cooker meal of pasta and cheese any day of the week. I served myself up some, for science of course, and added a couple of the meatballs I'd pressure cooked earlier in the day.  Yeah, it was pretty good.

I do the same preparation, with the butter and milk/cream but use fresh grated cheese when I made this same dish using small shells.  Same thing, a single but solid layer of dry small pasta and water to cover.  IF you like it a little softer, do 6 minutes, but 5 works perfectly for us and our preference for pasta that is al dente.

Go try this, it's wacky, quick and really really good.


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