I recently discovered making pasta in the pressure cooker, and it’s life-changing!
- Oh my goodness, can you imagine making pasta without having to boil water and using a strainer?
- Without having tomato sauce splatters on your clothes and counters?
- Without having to constantly watch and stir your boiling pasta and the pasta sauce?
And yet, the result is delicious! Since the pasta cooks in the tomato sauce, it absorbs all the flavors and results in a more flavorful dish. After mastering some pressure cooker pasta recipes, I don’t think I will go back to the old way of making pasta unless I’m experimenting.
CONTADINA HOLIDAY RECIPE
This easy but utterly delicious Penne Arrabiata recipe has now become my go-to recipe this December. It is easy to prepare without much trouble – and it is something I will be bringing to potluck parties! Or serve during dinner parties at home. And serve for Noche Buena. Why? Because it’s easy, convenient, and can be prepared in a jiffy as long as you have the ingredients on hand. No need to defrost anything, too. And it’s done in less than 30 minutes, from start to finish.
Have unexpected guests suddenly staying for dinner during the holidays? Not a problem!
Spend more time enjoying the holidays and less time slaving over a stove and washing up!
COOKING WITH CONTADINA
I am using half a box of Contadina Penne pasta. It is made from 100% Durum Wheat Semolina flour, which will stand up well to pressure cooking.
I am also using a bottle of Contadina Arrabiatta Pasta Sauce, which is already delicious by itself, so there’s no need for me to add any additional spices or to tweak the flavor. I also like that Contadina’s pasta sauce tastes fresh, without the metallic taste that other tomato sauces can have. Contadina’s Arrabiata Pasta Sauce also contains chunks of tomato, making the dish feel more rustic and “made from scratch” even when it’s not. But just let that be our secret! We can tell everybody else that we made the pasta from scratch!
A quick look at the ingredients list also shows that it contains real ingredients. No chemical-sounding ingredients are listed. There are also no thickeners like xanthan gum or starch — this makes Contadina’s Arrabiata Pasta Sauce ideal for pressure cooker pasta.
Arrabiata is a spicy sauce made from tomatoes and peppers. Contadina’s version is mildly hot and I think most people would be okay with the spiciness level.
I am also using Contadina Pure Olive Oil for sauteeing, and Contadina Extra Virgin Olive Oil for final touches.
PENNE ARRABIATA RECIPE
I am making 250g of pasta (uncooked penne, good for 4 servings). You can easily double the recipe if you want to make more.
250g of Contadina Penne, uncooked (half of 500g box)
1 bottle of Contadina Arrabiata Pasta Sauce
3 tablespoons of Contadina Pure Olive Oil
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 can of luncheon meat, diced
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 1/4 cups of water
Contadina Extra Virgin Olive Oil, to taste, about 1-2 tablespoons
Grated Parmesan cheese
Heat the pressure cooker on medium heat. Add the olive oil.
Saute the onions and luncheon meat in the olive oil until fragrant and lightly browned.
Turn the heat to low. Add in the arrabiata sauce, water and salt. The reason for adding the salt is to flavor the pasta. Remember, when we boil pasta the regular way, we boil it in oiled, salted water. But here, instead of boiling the pasta in salted water, we are cooking it with the sauce, so we need to add additional salt to compensate for that.
Add the uncooked pasta. I also added a few basil leaves but reserved the rest for garnish. Stir to mix.
Make sure that the all the uncooked pasta is submerged in the liquid.
Close the lid of the pressure cooker. Check to make sure that the pressure cooker lid and the rubber gasket is placed properly. Fit the pressure cooker regulator in the proper location.
Turn the heat to high. Wait for the pressure cooker regulator to start hissing steam. This means that the pressure cooker has already reached pressure. Lower the heat to medium, make sure that the regulator continues to hiss steam. Start the timer for 10 minutes. Start counting 10 minutes as soon as the pressure cooker starts hissing steam.
Let the pasta cook in the pressure cooker for 10 minutes.
Once the 10 minutes is up, turn off the heat. Do not open the pressure cooker yet.
For al dente pasta: After turning off the heat, do a quick release of the pressure. How to do this? Get something like a long wooden spoon, stay as far as you can from the pressure cooker, use the wooden spoon to “lift” the regulator a little. Steam will escape. Be careful. Do not open the pressure cooker until all the steam has escaped. After no more steam is coming out of the pressure cooker, wait for a minute then gently remove the regulator. That’s the only time it is safe to open the pressure cooker, and always open the pressure cooker facing away from you.
For softer pasta: We like softer pasta, and I also have senior citizens at home who have trouble with al dente pasta, so I just let the pressure dissipate naturally. This means, after turning off the heat, I leave the pressure cooker alone for about 10 minutes while it de-pressurizes. I check if no more steam is escaping, then remove the regulator before opening the pressure cooker.
Here is what it looks like after opening the pressure cooker:
The pasta absorbed all the liquid, and there are no burnt bits at the bottom. It’s just perfect!
I drizzled some extra virgin olive oil for added flavor, and sprinkled some parmesan cheese, too. Mix.
Garnish with more basil leaves. Yum!
We have a small pot of basil, and I encourage you to get a basil plant. They’re usually sold 3 small plants for P100 and are easy to grow as long as you water them. This way, you always have fresh basil!
Pure olive oil is usually used for sauteeing, while extra virgin olive oil, which is more fragrant, is usually reserved for final flavoring.
I like that the Contadina pasta was still not mushy even if we like our pasta softer than al dente. It still had bite and kept its shape. Not one piece broke! I love the texture of the cooked pasta.
It’s really important to use good quality pasta like Contadina Penne for pressure cooking. Low quality pasta will just end up being mushy, but good quality pasta will be perfect!
YOU CAN ALSO MAKE THIS RECIPE THE TRADITIONAL WAY. Just boil the pasta like normal, drain. Saute the onions and luncheon meat. Add the bottle of Arrabiata sauce and heat until bubbling. Mix in the cooked pasta. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil and mix in some parmesan cheese and basil leaves. Serve.
ADVANTAGES OF MAKING PASTA IN A PRESSURE COOKER
- less clean up – you only need to wash one thing, the pressure cooker
- you don’t need to constantly watch over your boiling pasta or your sauce while cooking
- if you have a party at home, and if you’re dressed up and have makeup on, you won’t get splatters or ruin your makeup if you’re cooking via pressure cooker
- it’s faster
- it’s eco-friendlier – it uses less energy / gas and water
CONTADINA PACKAGE GIVEAWAY!
Want to receive your own set of Contadina products to try?
Join the Contadina giveaway! Just follow the steps below:
Contadina Giveaway Steps:
- Follow BaratAko on Facebook and Instagram.
- Follow Contadina on Facebook.
- Share this blog post on Facebook with the hashtag #TheBaratQueenxContadina. Tag the person or people you want to cook the holiday dish with / for.
- Leave a comment below telling us who you want to cook this dish for.
- Fill out the Google Form below so I know how to contact you if you win!
- That’s it!
The giveaway will run from Dec. 13 – Dec. 25, 2016. I will announce the winner on Dec. 26. Claiming of giveaway will be in January, so you can start the new year loaded with Contadina goodies! I will contact the winner with the details.
Winners will be chosen at random. Giveaway is limited to Metro Manila only. The winner needs to be able to pick up the goodies from the Makati office in January. GOOD LUCK!
To know more about Contadina, you can visit their website at http://www.contadina.com.ph.
Update: Dec. 26, 2016
Thank you to everyone who joined the giveaway! I’ll try to have more giveaways for you soon!
AND THE LUCKY WINNER IS…!
Congratulations, Jermaine! Please wait for an email from me.
I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please feel free to leave a comment below, I love hearing from you!