Pesto Penne with Artichoke Hearts Recipe
Pasta is always quick and easy to make in the pressure cooker, and this Pesto Penne with Artichoke Hearts recipe is another delicious one pot pasta meal. This recipe assumes you are using commercially prepared pesto and purchased artichoke hearts, but you could easily make your own to save some money (artichokes are really easy and fast to make in the pressure cooker – the artichokes shown below came from my garden, and the baby artichokes took 3 minutes on high pressure, the larger artichoke took 6 to cook.) This pasta can also be dressed up with halved cherry or grape tomatoes or chopped sun dried tomatoes, if you like (see below for additional variations). This dish is good either hot or cold, and will work as a main dish pasta or as a cold pasta salad for a picnic.
8 ounces (225 grams) dried pasta (penne, bowtie pasta, fettuccine, etc.)
1 cup cubed fresh or frozen chicken (cut into ¼” cubes, then measure)
6 – 8 tablespoons prepared pesto
1 tablespoon roasted garlic
1 teaspoon coarse Kosher salt
¼ teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
1 cup of artichoke hearts, diced into bite size pieces
Grated parmesan or romano to garnish (optional)
Electric Pressure Cooker
12″ Silicone Tipped Tongs
Long handled plastic spoon or spatula
Colander or strainer
ARTICHOKE TIPS: Artichokes aren’t the most inexpensive of vegetables, and if you buy artichoke hearts in those little jars in the supermarket they can be expensive, and if you buy them frozen, they can be really expensive. For fresh artichokes, your best bet is to check the store circulars in late spring and early summer (and by that I mean, March, April, etc.), particularly for markets like Sprouts / Henry’s that advertise fruits and vegetables as loss leaders. Cook the artichokes in your pressure cooker, cut them in half, take the hearts, and serve the leaves with a garlic mayo sauce to your family right away. For artichoke hearts in the jar, family member saw a 33 ounce jar of artichoke hearts in one of the big warehouse stores just today for about 40 percent less than the price per ounce of those tiny little jars. Artichoke hearts are not only good for this recipe, they pair well with a number of other vegetables, including fava beans, carrots, beets, leeks, mushrooms, olives and radicchio, they’re really good in salad, and they are used in French, Spanish, Italian and Mediterranean cuisine. So go ahead and buy the bulk jar, you can find lots of uses for artichoke hearts.
- Add 1 cup of cold water, 1 tsp of coarse kosher salt and the dried pasta to the pressure cooker bowl. If you are using frozen diced chicken in this recipe, add it to the pot now. Pressure cook at HIGH PRESSURE (10 PSI) for 2 minutes then QUICK RELEASE. When timer goes off, use the tongs to move the pressure release valve to the “release” setting and turn off the “keep warm” setting.
- Once pressure has been released, remove the lid, holding it at an angle to let any hot water dribble down into the pressure cooker pot. Stir the pasta briefly, then drain excess water from the bowl. Turn the pressure cooker off.
- Return the cooked pasta to the bowl. Stir in the roasted garlic. Add 1 tablespoon of pesto at a time, stirring well, before adding the next tablespoon. After the fourth tablespoon, I recommend tasting after each subsequent tablespoon is added – the amount of oil and the strength of the pesto taste can vary from brand to brand, and your pasta can not only get too strong, it might get very oily, depending on the brand of pesto.
- Once the pesto has been added, add the chicken (if it wasn’t already added in step 1), coarsely ground black pepper, and the bite size pieces of artichoke hearts. Stir gently. If your pasta has cooled too much, you can reheat it by adding a small amount of water or chicken broth and restarting the machine, lid OFF, on one of the lower settings such as “simmer”.
- Serve the pasta with a sprinkle of parmesan or romano cheese, if desired. (I recommend you avoid the “cheese” in the shiny green cylinder, its really salty, and you can do much better.)
- 8 ounces (225 grams) dried pasta (penne, bowtie pasta, fettuccine, etc.)
- 1 cup cubed fresh or frozen chicken (cut into ¼” cubes, then measure)
- 6 – 8 tablespoons prepared pesto
- 1 tablespoon roasted garlic
- 1 teaspoon coarse Kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
- 1 cup of artichoke hearts, diced into bite size pieces
- Grated parmesan or romano to garnish (optional)
- Place 1 cup of cold water, 1 tsp. of coarse kosher salt and the dried penne in the bowl of the pressure cooker. (If you are using frozen chicken, add it as well.) Cook at HIGH PRESSURE (10 PSI) for 2 minutes using QUICK PRESSURE RELEASE. When the timer beeps, use the long handled tongs to move the pressure valve to the release setting. Turn the machine off.
- Once pressure is released, unlock and remove the lid, holding it at a tilt to let any hot water in the top of the lid to drop back into the bowl, and so that any excess heat and steam are directed away from your face. Stir the pasta in the cooking water briefly, then strain the pasta to remove excess water. Turn off the “keep warm” setting.
- Return the cooked pasta to the pot. Stir the roasted garlic into the pasta. Add the pesto 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring it in thoroughly before adding the next tablespoon. (Some brands of pesto will be stronger, or have more olive oil, than others, so I advise caution, and taste testing periodically after the first four tablespoons to see when it tastes right for you.)
- Once you have finished adding the pesto, add the cubed chicken (if it wasn’t already added prior to pressure cooking), the ¼ teaspoon of coarsely ground pepper, and the diced artichoke hearts. Stir gently. If necessary, you can warm up the pasta again by adding a small amount of water or chicken broth and turning the pressure cooker back on (with the lid OFF) on one of the lower settings like “simmer”.
- Plate up the pasta and garnish with grated parmesan or romano cheese. (Don’t use the stuff in the green can, its mostly salt, and it doesn’t taste very good.)
Vegetarian Pesto Pasta. Obviously, you’d have to omit the chicken. If you wanted to “beef up” (apologies, couldn’t think of a better phrase) the pasta as a main dish, you could add cooked cannellini beans (small white beans) – don’t buy them canned, pressure cookers are GREAT and FAST at cooking dried beans. You could also add cooked greens like arugula or spinach, sautéed mushrooms, diced zucchini, grilled corn, roasted peppers, or cubed goat cheese. For vegans, the problem will be the pesto, which has cheese in it. I did find one source of Vegan Pesto, or alternatively, you could toast pine nuts, grind them up in a food processor, food process some basil to “green mush”, combine the two, add a little olive oil, and have more or less the same flavor as pesto.
Pesto Penne with Sausage. This recipe would work equally well with chicken, turkey or sweet Italian sausage, and it would be a great way to use up leftover sausage from breakfast, or those couple of links in the freezer you don’t know quite what to do with. If you want to use spicier sausage, like andouille, that would probably work as well, but I’d recommend adding small amounts at a time and taste testing, to make sure you don’t overwhelm the pesto flavor.