Easy, super-fast & delicious!

I’m always looking for new ways to make our meals more healthy, nutritious and yet spend minimum amount of time in the kitchen. In my quest for this, I’ve discovered that the pressure cooker is my best friend! Really, I steam veggies for soups, make biryani and now, I even make pasta in it!

Pasta in a pressure cooker sounds weird, and I totally agree. Even I was incredulous when I read about it online. But I was curious and I did some amount of reading online to see how this would work until I was convinced to try it out.

Now since this recipe uses a negligible amount of oil compared to other pasta recipes, I decided to use the Hudson Canola Oil that the people from Dalmia Global sent me as a sample. I’d used this oil in some regular subzis and curries and I loved the way all the food would turn out to be light, fresh and non-greasy. But what has made me into a canola oil convert is the fact that it is so versatile – I’ve used it in Indian food, Italian dishes and even in baking, and every time I’ve been mighty pleased with the results!

Pressure cooker pasta
100 gms of pasta (I used a mixture of penne and shell pastas)
1 1/2 cups of milk
1/2 cup of water
3 tsp of wheat flour
1 tsp of canola oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 an onion, chopped
1/4 cup of mixed vegetables, chopped (I used carrot, beans & baby corn)
1/2 tbsp of black olives, chopped
3-4 basil leaves, shredded
1/2 tsp of black pepper powder
Salt to taste
Parmesan cheese – for garnish

Heat the oil in the pressure cooker and then saute the onions in it. When it begins to change colour, add the garlic to this and saute some more. Now lower the flame a little bit and add the wheat flour to it. Keep stirring around continuously till the flour is completely roasted. But keep an eye on the flame as the flour tends to burn very quickly.

Slowly add the milk to this and mix until the lumps disappear. As the sauce begins to thicken, add the basil to this and quickly stir it in. Now add the vegetables and the pasta along with the water. Stir it well and then secure the lid over the cooker. Keep the flame to a medium and cook the pasta for 7 minutes. You don’t have to put on the whistle, instead you can cover the chimney with a small steel bowl. Turn off the flame and allow it to cool down for a while before opening.

Check the seasoning, add the olives and grate some Parmesan cheese – serve hot!

See, the level of water + milk is equal to the pasta + veggies

* The amount of water that you use in the pasta must be at a level which is just equal to the amount of pasta and veggies in the cooker.

* The thumb rule in determining the time for cooking the pasta is simple. Look at the instructions printed on the packet and halve the time. For instance, if the pasta has to be cooked for 12 minutes in the regular method then cook it for just 6 minutes in the pressure cooker.

* This method works well as a one-dish meal for pastas with white sauce, but for a pasta dish with red sauce or pesto, you will have to prepare the sauce separately.

I’m sending this to the Healthy food for healthy kids – Italian event at Nivedhanam, an even originally started by Nithu


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