Friday, May 27, 2016

Pressure Cooker Cheese Sauce Slow Cooker - Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and cheese is a dish that goes over well with everyone in my circle of friends and family. I’m known for my variations on this dish as I do not shy away from getting creative with flavors. I’ve never attempted to make macaroni and cheese in the slow cooker or pressure cooker, so when we were notified about the Instant Pot challenge, I decided now was as good a time as any to experiment.

Instant Pot has made many cooks' lives much easier. I know friends who have two or three pots and use the appliance at least once a day. I’ve made steamed rice, pot roast and a chicken dish in my Instant Pot and was pleased with the results (really pleased I didn’t have any of those dishes on the ceiling of my kitchen). As I began to experiment with the pot the last week, I’m annoyed with myself that I don’t use it more – it really is a spectacular appliance.

Back to the recipe, a major problem with some macaroni and cheese dishes made in a slow cooker, or even made the traditional way, is the texture or consistency of the finished product – who wants a giant bowl of mushy pasta? Not me.

The way to get around this is to make the cheese sauce first in the pressure cooker and then add the pasta in the slower cooker to cook for a short amount of time. These two steps can even be done on separate days. I’ve made sauce in the Instant Pot, refrigerated it, and added the pasta in the next day to slow cook (or bake in the oven). The benefit to making the sauce in the Instant Pot is that there is no grating necessary, no whisking, no standing over the stove, no warming the milk. The Instant Pot does it all!

Pressure Cooker - Cheese Sauce
Slow Cooker - Macaroni and Cheese
by Jenny Blogging at The Cookbook Junkies

For the sauce:
7 ounces of sharp cheddar, cut into cubes
7 ounces of horseradish cheddar (or any flavor you prefer), cut into cubes
10 ounces of mild cheddar, cut into cubes
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
1 cup of heavy cream
1 1/2 cups of whole milk
1 teaspoon of ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon of fresh ground nutmeg

Place the above ingredients in the Instant Pot, secure the lid and select the Soup program – reduce time to 12 minutes – natural release. Twenty minutes later, I removed the lid and stirred the sauce.

To make the macaroni portion:
Add one pound of uncooked pasta to the pot – I used large rigatoni shapes this time. Stir to combine, make sure there is enough sauce to cover the pasta (you can add a little more whole milk if necessary). Place the glass slow cooker lid on the Instant Pot, select slow cooker for one hour. 

After one hour, the noodles were al dente and perfect for us. If you like your pasta a little less firm, extend the time 30 minutes, or allow the warm function to remain on for 30 minutes. 

Note: The glass slower cooker lid needs to be ordered separately and does not come with the pot.

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