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Sloppy Lasagna

Cookbook

Hip Pressure Cooking

Published by St. Martins Griffin

This image courtesy of Laura Pazzaglia

This is not your traditional lasagna as there is really no way to stack and layer rectangular pasta in a round pressure cooker and get even close to the result you would normally get from the oven. However, the flavor is all there and so are the satisfyingly long mozzarella strands that stretch from the pressure cooker—or serving dish—to the plate. Use any “wavy” pasta: lasagna strips, campanelle, or reginette are all fine choices. Note: This recipe cannot be halved. It may be doubled provided the total volume of the ingredients does not exceed half the pressure cooker’s capacity.

Get Hip About the Pressure

Recipes for pressure cooking indicate whether they are to be cooked at high or low pressure. In this book, the pressure cooking step is written like this:

“Close and lock the lid of the pressure cooker. Cook at high pressure for 7 minutes/stovetop or 8 to 10 minutes/electric (or nonstandard stovetop.)”

Although the way pressure is achieved and maintained differs for stovetop and electric pressure cookers, the meaning is the same for both: Once you lock the cover on the cooker, you select a pressure level, heat the cooker until it signals the selected pressure has been reached, and then you start counting the cooking time; electric cookers do some of this for you. When you come to the pressure cooking step in the recipes, bring the cooker to pressure in the manner appropriate for its type. Here’s the process for each type, in a nutshell.

For Stovetop Pressure Cookers

1. Add ingredients and liquid to the pressure cooker and select high or low pressure. Put the cooker on the stove burner.

2. Turn the burner heat to high and leave it there until the cooker signals pressure is reached.

3. Turn the burner heat down to the minimum required to maintain the pressure and begin counting the cooking time.

4. Release pressure and serve!

For Electric Pressure Cookers

1. Add ingredients and liquid to the pressure cooker and select a cooking program or set the pressure cooking time.

2. Press start and then wait for the beep that signals the end of cooking.

3. Release pressure and serve!

10-Minute Natural Release. There are also instances where Natural Release may take too long but you want the benefit of its continued cooking time. When this is the case, turn off the heat and wait 10 minutes; then, if the cooker hasn’t opened, release any remaining pressure using Normal Release. If the pressure comes down before the 10 minutes are up, which may be the case for a stovetop cooker, wait the full time before opening the cooker. This 10-Minute Natural Release technique is especially useful for rice and other grains, which benefit from the extra 10 minutes in the cooker’s steam. (If the cooking was done at low pressure, the recipe will instruct you to use this procedure but count only 5 minutes.)

Serves4 to 6

Cooking MethodPressure Cooking

CostModerate

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

One Pot MealYes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party

Recipe CourseMain Course

Dietary ConsiderationPeanut Free, Soy Free, Tree Nut Free

EquipmentPressure Cooker

MealDinner

MoodStressed, Tired

Taste and TextureCheesy, Savory

Type of DishPasta

Ingredients

  • Basic Meat Ragù prepared and hot in the cooker
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • One 8- or 9-ounce package wavy lasagna strips (not precooked), broken into 2-inch pieces
  • Water, as needed
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, diced

Instructions

  1. Add the salt and lasagna strips to the cooker, mixing them into the hot sauce. Pour in just enough water to cover the pasta (if using an electric cooker, add an extra ½ cup water). Smooth down the top pieces of pasta so they are submerged as you do this.

  2. Close and lock the lid of the pressure cooker. Cook at low pressure (see Notes) for 4 minutes/all cooker types or for half the cooking time indicated on the pasta package. When the time is up, open the pressure cooker with the Normal Release method (see Notes).

  3. Sprinkle the mozzarella over the lasagna; stir, and let stand, uncovered, for 2 minutes before serving.

  4. Pressure Cook Pasta to al Dente

  5. To achieve al dente results for pressure cooked pasta, it is important to cook at low pressure and use only half the recommended cooking time for each shape. For example, if the pasta package says the shape needs 9 to 10 minutes of conventional boiling, it should be pressure cooked for 5 minutes at low pressure; 12 to 13 minutes would be 6 minutes at low pressure, and so on. The cooking time is the same for all types of pressure cookers.

  6. To achieve al dente results for pressure cooked pasta, it is important to cook at low pressure and use only half the recommended cooking time for each shape. For example, if the pasta package says the shape needs 9 to 10 minutes of conventional boiling, it should be pressure cooked for 5 minutes at low pressure; 12 to 13 minutes would be 6 minutes at low pressure, and so on. The cooking time is the same for all types of pressure cookers.

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