Pressure Cooking: Pasta with Spinach “Pesto” (Casarecce ai Spinaci) by Laura Pazzaglia

This is the third post in a quick series, prompted by a little look at predicted food trends for 2012, starting with a lovely guest post on Pressure Cooking by Laura from Hip Pressure Cooking

Yesterday’s recipe was a Crema Catalana using the bain marie method and today, Laura is sharing her tips on how to make a very quick, one-pot family friendly pasta dish called Casarece ai Spinaci. This is the recipe that has convinced me to dust off my pressure cooker and so we’ll be trying this for tonight’s supper! 


Pasta with Spinach “Pesto”

Serves 4-6
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 15 minutes
Total time 25 minutes
Meal type Main Dish
Source Child Friendly
Region Italian
Website Laura at Hip Pressure Cooking


  • 500g Casarecce, Fusilli or Rotini Pasta (any other short, twirly pasta that can capture the Spinach )
  • 500g Spinach (fresh or frozen)
  • 4 Garlic Cloves (2 smashed, 2 finely chopped or pressed)
  • 50g Pine Nuts (whole or chopped according to preference)
  • 2 teaspoons Sea Salt
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 wedge Pecorino Romano (to garnish)


Step 1
In the pre-heated pressure cooker, on medium-high heat without the lid, add a swirl of olive oil to the smashed garlic cloves and spinach. Stir occasionally to ensure the spinach doesn't scorch and reduce all of the liquid. For fresh, or defrosted spinach... about 8-10 minutes (for frozen it may take about 15). Then, add the pasta, salt and enough water to cover the pasta. Mix well and smooth it out with your spatula to get an even layer.
Step 2
Set the pan to cook on LOW pressure. Turn the heat up to high and when the pan has reached LOW pressure, lower the heat and count 5 minutes. When time is up, open the pressure cooker using the cold-water quick-release method - take your pressure cooker to the sink and carefully run water over the top ensuring not to cover any of the valves. For electric pressure cookers, open using the Normal Method - turn the valve or button to release pressure. Since Electric Pressure cookers differ in their time to pressure, cooking pressure, and require a Normal release (which can take up to two minutes) you may need to shave off an additional minute or two from the pressure cooking time to achieve al dente results.
Step 3
Add the finely chopped or pressed garlic, give the contents a stir and let the pasta sit for about a minute while you gather the bowls and utensils. Top each bowl with a sprinkling of pine nuts a small swirl of fresh olive oil, and optional flakes of cheese (peel them off the block with a vegetable peeler). Caution your guests that the pasta is very hot and to test out the temperature before taking a big bite!


Photographs and recipes are the property of and re-published with permission.
Many thanks to Laura for her guest post and for sharing her recipes and know-how with us.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little mini-series by Laura Pazzaglia. Laura’s blog Hip Pressure Cooking is really packed with great tips, step-by-step photographs, modern and quick recipes all based around pressure cooking, so do go and visit and let Laura know how you are getting on.

I’ll be adding Laura’s recipe to the Family Friendly Fridays blog event here on Fabulicious Food! which opens later on today.

What’s cooking tonight at your house?


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