Lightened-up classic mac and cheese with the healthy addition of spinach, artichoke, and garlic for a perfect one-pot weeknight dinner.
We enjoy pasta though out the year but it is especially comforting in the cold winter months. We love the creaminess of the Pasta dishes cooked in the Instant Pot. The starchy water that is not drained out makes the pasta creamy and rich so there is no need to add too much cream or cheese.
Our newest pasta obsession is this spinach artichoke macaroni and cheese pasta cooked in the Instant Pot. Toss with some red chili flakes, to add a nice hint of spice to this flavorful and comforting dish.
This recipe does not use milk, plus the recipe can be modified to as much or as little cheese you like. With the convenience of canned artichokes and baby spinach, the prep-time and cleanup are so minimal. You can add your favorite cheeses as much or as little that you like. We love a small amount of cream cheese, parmesan, and lots of ooey-gooey mozzarella cheese.
Here is a step by step recipe with photos explaining how to cook the perfect Instant Pot mac n cheese:
Heat oil, add onion, and cook for 2 minutes. Add garlic and stir well cooking for a minute. Add artichoke hearts and sauté for another minute. Stir in the uncooked pasta, broth, and water. Mix well and gently push the pasta under the liquids.
Note: Each pasta shape is different and you may need more or less water. Close Instant Pot with pressure valve to sealing. Cook on Manual/Pressure Cook mode for 4 minutes followed by a quick release. Open Instant Pot, give a quick stir to the pasta.
Add remaining broth to the pasta, if the pasta looks a bit watery skip this step. Gently fold the spinach into the pasta and cook on sauté mode for a couple of minutes as the spinach wilts. Add cream cheese, mozzarella, and grated parmesan. Add red pepper flakes and mix everything well until the cheeses blend well in the pasta. Enjoy hot!
MOC’s BEST Tips to make perfect Instant Pot pasta:
- Most of the pasta should be submerged under liquids
- Each pasta shape has a different cook time. To cook in an Instant pot, pressure cook it for – half the cook time on the package and minus 1 minute – So if the Pasta says 10 mins, pressure cook it for 4 mins. This same formula works when cooking gluten-free pasta in the Instant Pot
- Quick-release after pressure cooking cycle is complete
- Always stir in cream, cheese, etc after the pressure cooking cycle
- Add more or less cheese depending on how creamy you like
- All the cheese can be substituted to low fat for a lighter take
- Add a cup of milk instead of water after the pressure cooking cycle is done for more protein and calcium
- To make spicy mac n cheese add extra red chili flakes or skip them altogether for non-spicy pasta
Do you enjoy the ease and convenience of making pasta in Instant Pot? Here are some more pasta recipes:
- Pasta Caprese – Pasta tossed with tomatoes, basil, fresh mozzarella, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar
- Penne Alla Vodka – Italian classic pasta dish made in a creamy tomato, garlic, vodka sauce
- Creamy Tomato Pasta – Incredibly creamy and delicious pasta with an EASY recipe
- Spicy Taco Pasta – Spicy taco pasta with ground chicken, onions, jalapeños, cilantro, and cheese
- Spinach Mushroom Lasagna – Lasagna layered with spinach, mushrooms, garlic, and cheese
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Spinach Artichoke Macaroni and Cheese
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion finely diced
- 5 garlic cloves minced
- ¾ cup artichoke hearts drained and rough chopped, I like Trader Joe's bottled marinated artichokes
- ½ lb uncooked macaroni shells or any pasta
- 6 oz baby spinach
- 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- 1 cup water
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes optional
- 2 oz cream cheese, room temperature room temperature
- 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese grated
- ½ cup mozzarella cheese grated
- Set the Instant Pot to sauté mode and heat oil. Add onion and mix well. Cook for 2 minutes with a glass lid on.
- Add garlic and stir well cooking for a minute. Add artichoke hearts and sauté for another minute.
- Add uncooked pasta, broth, and water. Mix well. Make sure that most of the pasta is under the liquids. Note: Each pasta shape is different and you may need more or less water.
- Close Instant Pot with pressure valve to sealing. Pressure Cook mode for 4 minutes followed by Quick Release.
- Open Instant Pot, give a quick stir to the pasta. If the pasta looks dry-ish add another cup of broth, water, or low-fat milk
- Set the Instant Pot to sauté mode and gently fold the spinach into the pasta and cook just until the spinach starts to wilt.
- Add cream cheese, mozzarella, and grated parmesan. Add red pepper flakes and mix everything well until the cheeses blend well in the pasta. Enjoy hot!
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