Chapter 11 Rice and Pasta

11.1 Rice

11.1.1 Basmati Rice in the Instant Pot®

The link above will take you to a very informative discussion of how to do this, including a variety of cooking parameters that lead to different textures of the final product. Since I like mine on the softer side, here’s what I’m going to try.


3/4 cup basmati rice
7/8 cup of water

  1. Rinse the rice through a sieve until the water runs clear. Let it drain.
  2. Add the water to the inner lining of the IP and layer the rice on top of it, pressing as necessary to be sure all of it is moistened.
  3. Pressure cook on high, followed by a 10 minute natural release.
  4. If desired, add a pinch of salt for flavoring. Notes

While the above works fine, an alternative that makes cleanup easier is the “pot-in-pot” method. Rather than cooking the rice directly in the IP inner lining, one does so in a smaller, preferably stainless steel pot, that fits within the liner. As is the case with cheesecake, it is best to have a sling under it to lift it out after cooking. One can either make one out of aluminum foil or (preferably) use a silicone sling - it obviates the need to use a trivet when cooking.

So here’s the method:

  1. Thoroughly rinse 1 cup of basmati rice.
  2. Place the sling in the IP inner lining, along with one cup of water.
  3. Place your inner pot in the sling and add the rice and 1 cup of water to it.
  4. Pressure cook on high for 7 minutes, followed by 10-15 minutes of natural release.
  5. Fluff with a fork. To increase the tenderness (but still maintaining firmness) let it sit on the “keep warm” setting for an additional 10-15 minutes. ### Rice Pilaf {#pilaf}

I am a huge fan of rice, and while it is great plain, sometimes it’s good to add some flavor. This recipe is simple and yet tasty. Note that I have scaled down the rice and broth by two thirds. In addition, I prepare it in a slow cooker, but it could be done equally well on the stove top (and Instant Pot® instructions are provided).


1.5 tbps butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tbsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 cup long grain white rice (I use basmati)
2 cups chicken broth
fresh parsley or cilantro

  1. Strain rice and rinse well. Drain thoroughly.
  2. Set your slow cooker to sauté, melt the butter, and sauté the rice until golden.
  3. Add onion, garlic, salt and pepper and cook until onion has softened.
  4. Add the broth and put slow cooker on rice setting.* Cook, covered, until completion.
  5. Remove lid, fluff with fork, and stir in cilantro or parsley.

* If cooking on a stove top, bring to boil and then cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 15-18 minutes.

For more flavor, consider adding other vegetables, such as raisins, peas, dried apricots, diced carrots, or chopped peppers.

11.1.2 Creole (Yellow) Rice

One of the joys of the 26 years I spent in Florida was the availability of Tampa Cuban food. It’s a unique cuisine - originating around the beginning of the 20th century, it is based on Cuban approaches (as you would find in Miami or Havana) with Italian influences, resulting from the confluence of the two immigrant cultures in the cigar industry of the time. The basics of this cuisine are contained in the cookbook Clarita’s Cocina, which I purchased years ago. This is one recipe that is relatively simple to prepare. I have modified it a little bit and have taken the liberty of adapting it to preparation in a rice cooker. In addition, this is half of the recipe as originally published.


1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1.2 tsp salt (optional)
1/2 tsp white pepper
2 ripe roma tomatoes, chopped
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 scup long grain rice (I use Basmati)
Pinch of toasted saffron (expensive but necessary)
1 cup chicken broth
1/8 cup beer (or additional chicken broth)

  1. Heat butter and olive oil in slow cooker set to sauté
  2. Add onion and cook until transparent (6-8 minutes)
  3. Add salt, white pepper, tomatoes and lemon juice. Cook on low heat until mushy.
  4. Add the rice and cook for ~10 minutes, until golden.
  5. Add chicken broth and saffron, and bring to a boil.
  6. Change slow cooker setting to rice, cover, and cook until done.
  7. Add beer, recover, and let stand for 15 minutes. Notes

This can easily be made in the Instant Pot® - pressure cook for 8 minutes, followed by 5-10 minutes of natural release. It goes well with pork carnitas or blackened fish.

11.1.3 Mexican Rice

Again, I’ve made this in Geneva, sautéing some chorizo first to make it a meal.

11.1.4 “Spanish Rice”

This is one I used to make regularly a long time ago. In fact, one time while on a short backpacking trip I was able to prepare a vegetarian version of this on a primus stove. I put the name in scare quotes because I have no idea how well it would conform to either Mexican or Spanish cuisine - I cooked up the recipe by trial and error. Below is an adaptation for the IP.


1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 lb ground beef 1/2 onion, minced
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup water 1/2 cup red wine
1 cup rice (basmati works well)
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp Italian seasoning (or a mixture of basil and oregano)
2 roma tomatoes, chopped
1 small can tomato sauce

  1. Set IP to saute and add olive oil.
  2. When it is hot, add the ground beef and break it up with a spatula. Cook until lightly browned.
  3. Add the onion, garlic, and green pepper and sauté for 5 minutes or so.
  4. Press cancel and add the water and wine. Deglaze the liner as needed. Add the spices, followed by the rice, tomato sauce, and tomatoes.
  5. Pressure cook on high for 8 minutes, followed by 5-10 minutes of natural release.

11.1.5 Basmati Pilau

This is another recipe from Pitre - a fairly simple Indian spiced rice. I’ve adopted a suggestion she had in another recipe (for Lamb Biryani) by calling for broiling the onions rather than frying them.


3-4 green cardamom pods
6-8 black peppercorns
4 whole cloves
2 inch piece cinammon stick
1 tbsp ghee or other cooking oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 thinly sliced red onion
1 tsp salt
1 cup basmati rice
1.5 cups water

  1. Rinse the rice in a strainer until the water runs clear. Set aside.
  2. Spread the onions on a foil lined baking sheet. sprinkle with salt and drizzle with a little oil. Broil for about 15 minutes, until brown and crisp.
  3. Combine the cardamom, cinnamon, peppercorns and cloves in a spice bag or infuser.
  4. With the IP set on sauté, heat the oil or ghee. Add the cumin seeds and cook for about 30 seconds, until they sizzle and become aromatic.
  5. Add the onions, followed by the water, rice and spice bag.
  6. Pressure cook on high for 5 minutes, followed by a 10 minute natural release.

11.1.6 Jambalaya

The above is an IP version; Paul Prudhomme has an excellent stove top version. Prudhomme’s recipe calls for tasso ham (and Thermoworks has a recipe for making it), however I prefer to use good quality andouille sausage.

So below is a hybridization of the two, which turned out extremely well for me.


Spice mix (for 1 cup rice)

1 bay leaf
1-2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt
1.5 tsp white pepper
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp sage

Other Ingredients

2 tbsp butter
1/2 lb andouille sausage
3/4 lb boneless chicken thighs
1 chopped onion
1 cup celery (I omit)
1 cup chopped green pepper
3 cloves garlic, mixed
1 cup tomato sauce
2 roma tomatoes, chopped
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup long grain rice (Basmati)

  1. Combine all of the spices in a small bowl.
  2. Set the IP to sauté and add the oil, chicken, and sausage . Cook 3-5 minutes until the chicken is lightly browned.
  3. Remove the sausage and chicken chicken and drain on paper towels.
  4. Add the onions, peppers and celery and sauté until soft.
  5. Add the spice mix and garlic and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.
  6. Press cancel, and then add the remaining ingredients except the rice. Stir gently.
  7. Add the rice, making sure it is submerged, but do not stir.
  8. Pressure cook on high for 10 minutes, followed by 5-10 minutes of natural release.
  9. Remove lid, stir, and serve. Notes

I found this to be absolutely delicious. When I first opened the pot, it was a bit soupy, but I left it on “keep warm” with the vent on the lid open for about 20 minutes, and it was fine. That was with five minutes of natural release; I may try a little more in the future.

I used 1.5 teaspoons of cayenne, resulting in a very hot jambalaya. I like it that way, but if you prefer milder flavoring, reduce the amount of cayenne accordingly.

Shrimp always tastes good with jambalaya, but pressure cooking would destroy it. This recipe recommends sautéing some prior to cooking everything else and then adding it back after the release is complete, allowing it to sit on “keep warm” for five minutes to warm it up. Alternatively, you could quickly grill some shrimp after the jambalaya has reached the “keep warm” stage, perhaps using this recipe


shrimp (as many as you need - I’m going to try about six 16/20, with tails on)
1/2 cup butter 2-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. cajun seasoning
1 tbsp. lemon juice (juice of 1/2 lemon) salt to taste

  1. Soak wooden skewers for 30 minutes, enough for 3-4 shrimp per skewer.
  2. Ignite your grill and let it heat to 450o F.
  3. Combine everything except the shrimp in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer and then remove from heat.
  4. Brush one side of the shrimp with marinade and refrigerate for 2 minutes.
  5. Turn the shrimp over and repeat.
  6. Grill the shrimp until they are opaque - about 2 minutes per side.
  7. Brush on any remaining marinade and add hot shrimp to the jambalaya.
  8. Serve immediately.

11.2 Pasta

11.2.1 Arrabiatta Sauce

This one is from “The Barefoot Contessa”, AKA Ina Garten. I’ve mostly cut the original by half.


1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup peeled garlic cloves (1-2 heads) 1 28 can whole San Marzano tomatoes, drained
2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste
1/3 cup dry red wine
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup diced fresh basil

  1. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a dutch oven.
  2. Add garlic and saute for 10-12 minutes, until softened and light brown.
  3. Place the tomatoes in a food processor and pulse until roughly chopped.
  4. Add the garlic to the food processor and process again until it is chopped.
  5. Add the tomato and garlic mixture back to the dutch oven and add fennel seeds, red peppers, salt and black pepper.
  6. Bring to a boil and then simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat. Stir in the basil and adjust the seasoning. Notes

This sauce is excellent. It cooked will in the Instant Pot® without pressure. The garlics were cooked on sauté high, and then the final mixture was simmered on sauté low, uncovered, for about 20 minutes. While it was simmering, I broiled some sliced up green peppers and onion to go with it - excellent.

11.2.2 Cooking Pasta

11.2.4 Sausage and Pepper Pasta

This is a simple one pot meal. Note that the sausages can be sauted and sliced ahead of time. I’ve scaled the recipe for a generous single serving.


1 tbsp olive oil
1-2 italian sausages
1/2-1 bell pepper
1/2-1 onion, minced
1-2 cloves garlic
salt and pepper to taste
1/2-1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 cup arrabiatta sauce
1.25 cup chicken broth or water
6 oz tube pasta (penne or similar)
grated parmesan cheese for garnish

  1. Set the IP on saute. Add the olive oil and sausages, and sauté for 3-4 minutes.
  2. Remove the sausage and set aside. When cooled, slice the sausage into bite sized pieces.
  3. Sauté the bell peppers for 5 minutes. Remove.
  4. Add an additional table of olive oil, along with the remaining ingredients, layering as follows:
  • oil, sausage, onion, garlic, spices, chicken broth, pasta (pressing down to submerge) and finally the arrabiatta sauce.
  1. Pressure cook on high for five minutes, followed by a quick release.
  2. Stir in the peppers and serve, with grated parmesan to garnish.

11.2.5 Macaroni and cheese

This is an old classic of mine, one that I developed in the 1970’s. As I noted earlier, it was derived from a recipe for cheese sauce in The Joy of Cooking; I have changed the cheese mix, livened up the spicing, and incorporated use of my microwave oven into the preparation.


3 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp flour
1 cup whole milk
1/2 tbsp dry mustard
1/2 tbsp hot paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
6-8 oz pasta (penné, rigatoni or ziti work well)

  1. In a glass casserole with a cover, melt the butter in the microwave (about 1 minute on high).
  2. Add the flour to the melted butter and stir briskly with a fork to make an lump-free slurry
  3. Slowly add the milk, stirring initially with a fork and then with a spoon. Again, you want to end up with a lump-free mix.
  4. Sprinkle the three spices on the mixture and mix in.
  5. Microwave the mixture, covered, on medium, for about two minutes.
  6. Remove and stir. Your goal is to have the mixture thicken to the consistency of a thick gravy. If it has not thickened, return it to the medium microwave for 1-2 minutes more.
  7. Add the cheese and microwave on medium for another two minutes. Stir and repeat. Now all of the cheese should be melted and you should have a nice alfredo-style sauce. If it is two thick, stir in a little more milk and microwave briefly.
  8. At some point, cook the pasta al denté with a little olive oil added. Drain, combine with the cheese sauce and serve.

Note that this recipe is one that does not reheat well. You can try if you want to, but I generally eat it all or discard any leftovers. It goes very well with pilsner. Notes

Turns out this one works real well in the IP. I did it in a 3 quart model as follows.

  1. Add 3/4 cup of water to the IP along with 6 ounces of tube pasta.
  2. Pressure cook for 5 minutes and do a quick release.
  3. While the pasta is cooking, cream the butter and flour together. Add the milk and spices and microwave for about 2 minutes to thicken.
  4. When the quick release is complete, add the cheese and stir.
  5. Add the milk mixture, stir, and you are done!

11.2.8 Cacio e pepe

I’ve done this one on the stovetop, using this recipe from Wine Spectator, twice. The first time came out great, the second time not so much. Here’s how I’m going to try it next:


1/2 lb. pasta (spaghetti is traditional, but I like shaped pasta like mini-shells or somesuch)
2 cups chicken broth
4 tbsp butter, halved
1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2-1 tbsp coarsely (and preferably freshly) ground black pepper

  1. Pour the chicken broth into the IP and layer pasta over it. If using spaghetti or (recommended) bucatini, break the pasta in half prior to layering.
  2. Place two tablespoons of butter on the top.
  3. Select pressure cook at high temperature and cook for 5 minutes (an initial guess based on rules for IP pasta cooking.
  4. Quick release.
  5. Add the remaining butter and stir until melted.
  6. Stir in the cheese until melted.
  7. Add the black pepper, stir, and serve Notes

I made this (using water instead of broth), and it tasted fine but was a little too soupy for my taste. Next time I will try reducing the amount of broth and perhaps adding a bit more cheese. However, the pasta cooked beautifully. It was bucatini, with a recommended stove top cook time of 10-12 minutes. I gave it five minutes on high pressure, followed by immediate release of pressure. Stay tuned as I fool with this one.

11.2.9 “Raging” Rigatoni

This is another old one, dating back (for me) to the 1970’s and is derived from The Complete Book of Pasta, by Jack Denton Scott. A more formal name for it is Rigatoni All’Arrabbiatta. It is simple to make, and leftovers reheat well. The biggest change I made was to add onions and garlic to it. I also do not saute the bacon; rather I let it cook with the sauce, resulting in what I think is a much more flavorful dish.


1 tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, coarsely sliced
2 garlic gloves, grated
4 slices bacon
2-3 jalapeno peppers, sliced
1 28 oz can tomatoes, (San Marzano are the best, but any will work)
Italian seasoning and black pepper to taste
6-8 oz pasta (the original calls for rigatoni, but I often substitute penné, ziti, or some other similar tube variety)
grated parmesan or romano cheese

  1. Sauté onions and garlic in oil until soft in a 12 inch skillet, about 5-10 minutes
  2. Add tomatoes, bacon, peppers and seasoning.
  3. Cook uncovered over medium heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally with a spatula, chopping the tomatoes and breaking apart the bacon as you do so.
  4. Cook uncovered over medium heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally with a spatula, chopping the tomatoes as you do so.
  5. While the sauce is reducing, cook your pasta by your favorite method (I use water with a dash of olive oil) al denté and drain.
  6. Combine the sauce and the pasta and serve, with parmesan or romano cheese available to sprinkle over servings.

Like all Italian food, this goes well with a serving of crusty bread (like baguettes and a side salad. Note

This might be adaptable to the IP using the recipe for Spaghetti and Meat Sauce as a template. Worth a try. If so, here’s a possible scenario.

  1. Saute onion and garlic as above.
  2. Add the bacon and sauté until it is broken apart but still soft.
  3. Add 1/2 cup broth or water and deglaze.
  4. Add jalapenos, black pepper and Italian seasoning.
  5. Add an additional cup of water or broth (assuming 6 oz. of pasta).
  6. Layer pasta on top and press to submerge.
  7. Drain the whole tomatoes and layer them on top.
  8. Pressure cook for 5 minutes (or half the recommended time - 1 minute if applicable), followed by a controlled quick release.
  9. To thicken, heat on sauté for a few minutes, breaking up the tomatoes with a spoon.