Pressure Cooker mac and cheese – quick, easy, and better than the dreaded blue box.
Adapted from: America’s Test Kitchen Pressure Cooker Perfection
- 1 pound dried elbow macaroni
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
- 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
- 1 tablespoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt or 2 teaspoons table salt
- 4 cups water
- 1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
- 16 ounces shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
- 6 ounces shredded Parmigiano cheese
Bread Crumb Topping (optional)
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- Pressure cook the pasta for 4 minutes with a quick release: Stir the macaroni, butter, mustard, hot pepper sauce, salt, and 4 cups water in the pressure cooker pot. Lock the lid on the pressure cooker and cook on high pressure for 4 minutes in an electric PC or stovetop PC. (For an Instant Pot, use Manual or Pressure Cook mode, and set the time to 4 minutes.) When the cooking time is done, quick release the pressure and remove the lid.
- Stir in the evaporated milk and cheese: Turn the heat under the pot down to low (or turn the electric pressure cooker to sauté-low or keep warm mode), and stir in the evaporated milk. Test a piece of pasta by taking a bite – it should be al dente, but cooked through. If the pasta is still tough in the middle, simmer it for a few minutes, until it is tender. Stir in the cheese one handful at a time, stirring constantly and waiting for the current handful to melt before adding the next handful.
- Top with breadcrumbs and broil: Optional step, if you like a toasted bread crumb topping: Pour the macaroni into a 3 quart broiler-safe dish, patting it down to level out the surface. Sprinkle the panko over the macaroni and cheese in an even layer. Broil the macaroni and cheese on high until the bread crumbs are toasted, about 5 minutes. Check the bread crumbs often – they go from pale brown to burnt in a flash.
4 cups of water is just enough to cook 1 pound (16 ounces) of pasta. No draining is necessary; the water will be absorbed by the pasta. If you have a smaller box of pasta – 12 ounces and 13.25 ounces are common sizes of whole wheat pasta – cut the water back to 3 cups. (Everything else can stay the same.)
Serve with a bottle of hot sauce at the table. I like Frank’s Red Hot or the smoky flavor of chipotle hot sauce.
I have burned a lot of bread crumbs in my day. I set a timer for 1 minute intervals while I’m broiling, in case I get distracted. (By a homework meltdown…just to pick a hypothetical example). I have the timer to remind me – “Oh no! The breadcrumbs!”