The Instant Pot is getting less frightening with every use. I’ve even found a few quick recipes to help with making dinner in a pinch. They’re far too beginner-level and honestly way too ugly to take photos of, so this recipe is unfortunately not one of them!
Bonus: How to cook boxed pasta in 1 minute in the IP!
I found an Asian-flavored chicken recipe online and figured I could bulk it up with some pasta at the end. Since I’m kind of combining 2 recipes into 1, there are 2 major steps – first pressure cook the chicken, then remove and cook the pasta under pressure as well. Sure, it’s an extra step, but it really brings the flavors throughout the entire dish.
This recipe only uses 4 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs (the rest in the photo were for another meal – ya girl’s gotta eat). Saute the chicken skin side down in the IP for a few minutes each side until brown. In the meantime, chop the cilantro, garlic, and ginger.
Remove the chicken temporarily and stir in the vegetables still on saute mode. The soy sauce, sesame oil, and worshetshire gets added along with 1-2 cups of water. This lets the steam help pressurize the chicken. 10 minutes is all it needs.
While waiting for the IP to come to pressure, then cooking for 10 minutes and slow releasing for 5, a glass of wine or two really helps with the time. I found that even though the “cook time” is 10 minutes, it can take up to half an hour for everything to be actually cooked through and lid opened. So get yourself a bottle of wine and use the downtime drinking and not stirring pots.
Once the chicken is cooked through, set aside to cool and throw in a box of pasta of your choice. Rotini or other grooved pastas are a great shape to help pick up the sauce. DO NOT mix the pasta in the sauce. I’m serious – just dump it in. Then also throw a package of frozen spinach on top.
Now listen, put the IP on pressure for 1 minute. Yes, just do it. The top right photo shows what happens when finished. Mind blown, right? Everything is cooked evenly, and just by giving it a few stirs you’ll see the liquid gets soaked up real quick.
Back to your now cooled chicken. Pull off the skin, fat, and remove the bones. You can either shred it with your fingers, use a fork, or chop it on a cutting board (like I did). Mix it in with the pasta and give it a final season to taste.
Yeah, 1 minute cooked pasta in chicken-water juices made this beautiful dish. The sauce is so light but flavorful, you would have never expected there was no actual “sauce” for it. And hey, even though the entire meal took about an hour from start to finish, really only 10 minutes total was spent prepping the meal or shredding the chicken.
- 4 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
- Handful of chopped cilantro
- 4 or so cloves of garlic, chopped
- 2 tb finely chopped ginger
- 4 tb soy sauce
- 2 tb sesame oil
- 2 tb Worcestershire sauce
- 8 oz frozen spinach package (not defrosted)
- 1 lb pasta of your choice (rotini preferred)
Salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste
- Season both sides of the chicken with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
- With the Instant Pot on high saute mode, bring some vegetable oil to heat. Place chicken skin-side down (you should be able to fit all 4 pieces of chicken in most IPs). Cook each side about 5 minutes or so until browned up. Remove chicken to the side temporarily.
- In the chicken juices, add the garlic, ginger, and cilantro on saute mode low. Stir around with a wooden spoon trying to pick up the fond. Add the soy sauce, sesame oil, and Worcestershire sauce and continue to stir for a few minutes longer. Depending on how much juices were rendered from the chicken, add 1-2 cups of water so it comes up to about an inch in the IP. Add the chicken pieces back in, close the IP lid, and put high pressure mode for 10 minutes.
- Quick release for about 5 minutes and pull the chicken out to cool. Stir the juices/water to pick up any final pieces of fond.
- Throw all of the pasta into the sauce. DO NOT mix! Just leave it as is. Add the still-frozen brick of spinach on top of the pasta, and close the lid. Pressure cook for 1 minute.
- In the meantime, prepare the cooled chicken. Remove any skin, fat, and bones from the chicken and chop or shred as you wish. It should be tender enough to pull apart with your fingers, but I prefer a smaller chop so I did it on a cooking board.
- Back to the Instant Pot: Slow release – do not quick release! Take the time for the pasta to finally cook. Once depressurized, stir the pasta and spinach around.
- Add the chicken, and taste for final seasoning. I added a few splashes of soy sauce more as well as a drizzle of sesame oil, but that’s my personal preference. Serve with chopped cilantro.