Alright…. I’m not the happiest elf this time of year – and getting my chops in gear to do anything other than just exist, is damned near impossible… (I’m just not your holiday food guy.)
Luckily, in talking to my sis today, I found out she was using her Microwave Pressure Cooker to make…
of all things…
MAC n CHEESE!
I roped her into doing a guest post (slash) recipe test on it for Plate Fodder.
Go grab a bowl of popcorn and get ready to be amazed!
(I’m going to go steal the neighbor’s inflatable snowman…. again…)
After seeing Toby demo his microwave pressure cooker several times, I had to get one for myself. This seemed like such a marvelous gadget! I have cooked many different things in the pressure cooker… Pot Roast, Chili, Rustic Bolognese Sauce, Lemony Chicken Thighs with Potatoes, Olives and Oregano. Everything so far has turned out well.
I had a couple of lamb shanks hanging out in the fridge that I thought I would take for a spin in the microwave with some wine and veggies with herbs and spices, and serve it over couscous. Unfortunately, I discovered a tiny hole in the cryovac packaging and the shanks now reeked to high heaven. Therefore, they have been quarantined outside in a Ziploc bag on the back step.
I opted to do a quick grilled pork loin instead with a bbq and apricot preserve glaze, and serve it with Bacon Mac ‘n’ Cheese that was in the cookbooklet which came with the pressure cooker. Any recipe title that has little apostrophes around the ‘n’ has got to be good, right? The recipe looked straightforward enough and I had all of the ingredients – all bonuses in my book for a weeknight meal. Judging by the time involved, I could have this potential dish of cheese and carbo goodness on the table in 15 minutes. Sweet!
Now I had my reservations. Would the pasta turn to mush in the pressure cooker? Could it really only take 10 minutes? My thoughts on the finished dish… surprisingly pretty good. If there is any negative comment, it would be that I felt that the pasta was a tiny bit overcooked. I might back down on the time by 30 seconds to a minute. Also, what they don’t tell you is that there will be a fair amount of water still in the cooker at the end of the cooking time. Don’t throw this out! This starchy water will blend with the cheeses to make the sauce.
Bacon Mac ‘n’ Cheese
adapted from Microwave Pressure Cooker, A Month’s Worth of Dinners
As I was gathering the ingredients, I realized that I didn’t have one of the ingredients – the cream cheese. What I did have was a cream cheese based spinach and artichoke spread which I substituted for the cream cheese. It added a nice touch of garlic and herbs to the Mac ‘n’ Cheese.
I also only had Cheddar cheese, so I used the amount of the cheeses combined – 1 1/2 cups total – of just Cheddar.
2 cups dry elbow pasta
3 cups water
1/4 cup sour cream
1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup cream cheese
1/2 cup grated Asiago cheese
1/4 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 tablespoon butter
salt and pepper to taste
1. Place the pasta, water and a pinch of salt into the pressure cooker.
2. Place the lid on the pressure cooker and lock into the closed position.
3. Cook the pasta on HIGH for 10 minutes.
(see your guide for time adjustments based on your microwave’s wattage)
4. When the time is up, release the pressure manually
by pressing on the pressure indicator with the back of a spoon.
Mix well until all the cheese and butter is melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
6. Serve immediately.
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