Recipe Review

This Easy Chicken Pesto Pasta Is an Instant Pot Favorite

published Feb 20, 2019
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(Image credit: Eating Instantly )

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Over the past few weeks I’ve seen a redux of interest in Instant Pots among my friends, family, and friends of people my cousins went to high school with. And without fail, any time one of them posts on Facebook to ask “What do people think of these Instant Pot things?” I burst into the thread like the Kool-Aid man to tell everyone the Instant Pot is wonderful, easy, and a total game-changer — plus, you can even make pasta in it!

I’ll admit I was skeptical about Instant Pot at first: Won’t the pasta come out all gummy and overcooked? But truly, it does not. Just put the uncooked pasta in the pot with a sauce, like this chicken pesto pasta, and you’ll have a one-pot pasta dish cooked perfectly in no time.

Just put a bit of olive oil in the Instant Pot, then add diced, raw chicken breasts, minced garlic, four cups of water, and a pound of pasta to the pot. The order is important when stacking ingredients in the Instant Pot, because if you put the pasta on the bottom, you can wind up with a “burn” error and pasta scorched to the bottom of the pan. (Resist the urge to stir the pasta after adding it to the pot!) Just layer all your ingredients and make sure most of the pasta is just below the surface of the water, then cook on high pressure for three minutes. (It’ll take about 18 minutes, because the Instant Pot takes about 15 minutes to heat up and come to pressure.)

After three minutes, do a quick release of the pressure; take off the lid; and stir in grated Parmesan cheese, a jar of your favorite store-bought or homemade pesto, diced red pepper, diced red onion, and chopped broccoli. Mix all those together well, then put the lid back on the pot and let it stand for 10 minutes. The Instant Pot’s “Keep Warm” function will keep the food hot, and 10 minutes in the heat will steam the vegetables nicely.

All that’s left is to take it out and enjoy. Instant Pot pasta is extremely easy to make, and it yields a huge amount of food. That makes it great for meal prepping, and also for big families. I often have a hard time getting through a whole batch of Instant Pot pasta in a week, so individuals and smaller families might want to stash some in the freezer.

If you want to make less pasta and more vegetables and protein, the author says this recipe works just as well if you cut the amount of pasta in half and double the amount of chicken and vegetables. Just make sure to reduce the amount of water by half as well so it doesn’t wind up soupy, and follow the rest of the directions the same way. Made that way, it’s sort of like eating a big bowl of chicken and vegetables with a side of pasta, which sounds like a pretty great lunch arrangement.

Get the recipe: Instant Pot Chicken Pesto Pasta from Eating Instantly

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

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