With a mix of seasonal, colorful vegetables, this pasta primavera is just the thing as the seasons transition from spring to summer.
A Quick, Vegetarian Weeknight Meal
A pressure cooker makes quick work of this vegetable-packed Pasta Primavera— and I love my Instant Pot! Broccoli, carrots, and bell peppers add a rainbow of colors and flavors to a big pot of penne pasta. Then it all gets tossed with olive oil and Parmesan cheese.
The veggies steam in just 10 minutes in the pressure cooker, and then the pasta takes about 20 minutes more. It’s a convenient, easy meal that I love to whip out on weeknights. I’m always up for a pasta dish that’s packed with produce, especially when there’s not a lot of work involved!
- New to the Instant Pot? Check out our post How To Use an Instant Pot: A First-Timer’s Guide.
How to Cook Pasta in the Pressure Cooker
Cooking pasta in the pressure cooker sounds kinda crazy, but it really does work! The texture might come out a little bit more chewy, because cooking under pressure with less liquid means that more starch stays in the pasta. I actually enjoy it.
I keep the basic rule in mind of using a 2:1 weight ratio of liquid to dry pasta , and it always comes out great. I find that short, sturdy pastas such as penne, macaroni, and rigatoni work best.
You can use either salted water or broth. I like broth in this recipe, because the rest of the flavors are so simple and the broth contributes a savory flavor that gets absorbed into the noodles as they cook. When you’re foregoing a creamy sauce (or any sauce at all, really), it’s nice to infuse some extra flavor into the pasta itself.
How to Time This Pressure Cooker Meal
Once the proper pressure has been achieved, the pasta requires just 5 minutes of cooking under pressure, and the vegetables take even less time—just 1 minute at low pressure.
Because they cook at different rates, the pasta and vegetables should be cooked separately to avoid mushy vegetables or undercooked pasta. If you want to speed up the recipe, though, you can microwave your vegetables while the pasta cooks in the pressure cooker.
More Easy Pressure Cooker Meals!
- Pressure Cooker Weeknight Paella with Chicken and Sausage
- Pressure Cooker Saag Tofu (Indian Spinach and Tofu)
- Pressure Cooker Chicken Adobo and Rice
- Pressure Cooker Ground Beef Chili
- Pressure Cooker Chicken and Rice Casserole
Pressure Cooker Pasta Primavera
Recipe note: Using a stovetop pressure cooker is not advisable for this recipe, as the higher pressure tends to create more foaming and sputtering issues with foods such as pasta.
- 1 large crown (about 8 ounce) broccoli, cut into 1-inch florets
- 1 large (about 8 ounce) red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch strips
- 4 large (about 8 ounces) carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
- 1 pound penne pasta
- 4 cups low sodium vegetable broth (or 4 cups water and 1 teaspoon kosher salt)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
- 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Steam the vegetables in the pressure cooker:
Pour a cup of water into the pressure cooker. Combine the broccoli, bell pepper, and carrots in a steamer basket and place it in the pressure cooker.
Secure the lid in its sealed position, then select the Steam program and set the cooking time for 1 minute at low pressure. (It’ll take about 10 minutes for the pot to come to pressure before the cooking program begins.)
When the cooking program ends, perform a quick pressure release by moving the lid to its venting position. When the pressure has fully released, open the pot and lift the steamer basket out of the pot using heatproof oven mitts. After removing the vegetables, lift the inner pot out of the pressure cooker housing, pour out the water, and return the inner pot to the housing.
Cook the pasta:
To the now-empty pressure cooker, add the pasta and broth. Secure the lid in its sealed position, then select the Manual program and set the cooking time for 5 minutes at high pressure. (It’ll take about 10 minutes for the pot to come to pressure before the cooking program begins.)
When the cooking program ends, let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes, then move the lid to its venting position to release the remaining steam. When the pressure has fully released, open the pot.
Mix everything together and serve:
Add the steamed vegetables, olive oil, parsley, Parmesan cheese, and black pepper to the pot. Stir gently until the vegetables and pasta are fully combined and evenly coated.
Spoon the pasta into serving bowls and serve hot.