We’ve been continuing to use our pressure cooker (my kids think of it as our evil experiment every time they hear the escaping steam whistle.) This time we made Baked Ziti Florentine.
In a nutshell, I sauteed the onions in the pot (this seems to be a common first step in a lot of the recipes, but that’s okay, pretty much everything is better with onions in it.) I added red sauce and chicken broth (which will create the steam later on) and when it came to a boil, I added spinach and basil and waited until they wilted. Then I added the pasta.
And here’s where I made a mistake. Because we had 8 people for dinner that night, I doubled the recipe. (I always alter recipes when I cook, a little more of this, a little less of that.) That meant I used 2 pounds of ricotta cheese mixed with egg and Parmesan cheese. The directions said to layer it on top of the mixture. Let’s just say that 2 pounds was too much. Apparently I created such a seal on the top of the food with the cheese mixture that I never got the pot to high pressure. We kept waiting and waiting and waiting but we never saw steam come out.
Eventually I checked and the pasta was cooked (the pot got hot, it just never got to proper pressure.) And even though my son reminded me that he *still* had the pizza delivery place on speed dial, we were able to eat the pasta and it was well received.
Pressure cooker tips:
- In the future, at least while you’re learning, don’t try to modify the recipes too much. They are designed to create steam and if you cut back or add much, you might alter that relationship. Pressure cooker cooking is not stove and oven cooking.
- Even though we didn’t get to the steam stage, the kids still liked this dish, (it just cooked slowly on high heat) however, everyone in this lactose intolerant house, said that there was way too much cheese. As the cheese was not there to create steam, I’d definitely cut back on it next time.
- If a recipe calls for layering a heavy ingredient on top, make sure that you “drop” it on – allowing spaces for steam to pass (think chicken dumplings where you drop them into the pot.)
- The cook book did not include a photo of this recipe. I think it’s because the only way you can get it out of the pot is to scoop it, which doesn’t result in a pretty picture. If looks are important (a party or if you have guests over) you might want to consider *not* using the pressure cooker for your baked ziti.
- On the other hand, the only dish I had to clean was the pressure cooker pot so high points for that!
Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com
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