This Instant Pot Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta is like a walk down Farmer's Market memory lane. Tangy sun-dried tomatoes, light garlic/herb sauce, tender bites of chicken, and a fat dollop of pesto on top to be enjoyed with every bite. Best Instant Pot Pasta dish ever!
My favorite food pairing of all time goes to TOMATO + BASIL, do you agree?
I've showcased this pairing before in this fantastic Hasselback Caprese Chicken and again with this Homemade Mozzarella recipe. Slices of fresh, warm mozzarella with slices of tomato, basil, and a drizzle of balsamic . . . this is what I live for.
My sister Maegan created an Instant Pot freezer meal version of today's recipe for our InstaFreeze Meals Menu Plans – and after two bites I was begging her permission to put the recipe on my blog.
After back and forth squeals of,
- “Oh my gosh, this is so good!”
- “I know, right?! I don't even like pasta and I just ate half the pot!”
- “Those tomatoes, AHHHH, they are like little flavor bursts in my mouth!”
- “I know, right?! The chicken was so juicy!”
- “I know! I topped mine with pesto and it was like, BOOM! SO GOOD.”
Suddenly I notice my children are looking at me like I'm “so lame” and I realize I do indeed sound like a Valley Girl swooning over “this, like, totally hot guy.”
That's how you know when a dish is REEEAAAL good. It just changes you, ya know?
WHY YOU WILL LOVE INSTANT POT SUN-DRIED TOMATO PASTA
- Tangy, marinated sun-dried tomatoes do a masterful job of flavoring the entire pot of pasta. No bland noodles, here!
- One pot wonder – pasta, tomatoes, chicken, and sauce all in one pot while you whip up a quick side salad. Weeknight dream dinner!
- The sauce, my goodness the sauce. It's so light, smooth, and creamy. Unlike other heavy, cheesy pasta dishes, it leaves you feeling nourished and happy the way REAL comfort foods should.
- Remember this Kale Walnut Pesto I can't stop gushing about? Put a dollop of that on top and let it warm and sort of melt into the hot noodles. That's where the TOMATO + BASIL magic happens.
HOW TO MAKE SUN-DRIED TOMATO PASTA IN THE PRESSURE COOKER
- Add the pasta, chicken, herbs, and tomatoes into the pot
- Add liquids and whisk briskly
- Pressure cook your one pot wonder (see tips for determining cook time)
- Stir in the parmesan cheese
- Let sit a few minutes to thicken
- Serve with a dollop of pesto
SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW FOR DETAILED COOKING INSTRUCTIONS
TIPS FOR MAKING THE BEST SUN-DRIED TOMATO PASTA
- Let's talk pasta. I prefer to use a whole grain pasta, but whole wheat pasta is a little strong for this light sauce. Brown Rice Penne, however, is 100% whole grain and the taste and texture is even better than white pasta (in my opinion). Basically, for best results, look for a pasta that has a 10-12 minute cook time on the box, and you'll be good to go.
- When cooking pasta in a pressure cooker, take the pasta package cook time, divide it in half, and subtract 2 minutes. For example, my favorite Jovial Brown Rice Penne calls for a 12 minute cook time so I pressure cook it for 4 minutes. When in doubt, always round down to prevent overcooked pasta. If the pasta isn't quite as soft as you like it, just hit the saute button and simmer until it's to your liking. See this Instant Pot Pasta post if you'd like for details.
- I know it's a debatable topic in the pressure cooking world, but I like to use a little cornstarch when I cook pasta. It makes the pasta super creamy without the need for heavy cream and excess cheese. It also acts as a binding agent for skim milk so that it doesn't curdle under high heat. If you prefer to use whole milk with pasta dishes, you can omit the cornstarch.
- To prevent the cornstarch from settling to the bottom of the pot, give the pasta a really good whisk after adding the liquids, then start the pasta cooking right away.
- I prefer to use the sun-dried tomatoes that are bottled with oil. They add a ton of flavor to the pasta and I like the texture a bit more than the packages of dried tomatoes.
- If you tend to be someone who might hoard all the tomatoes for your own dish, you might want to double the amount called for in the recipe . . . just sayin'.
- Again, I'm gonna put a plug in for this homemade Kale Walnut Pesto. Any pesto really will be good, but KWP right here is just “epic” (thanks, son, for helping me find the perfect word). This homemade version isn't nearly as oily as store-bought so having a bite of it with every fork full of pasta will still feel light, herby, and bright.
HOW TO STORE, REHEAT, AND FREEZE SUN DRIED TOMATO PASTA
- Store: Leftovers can be stored in a sealed container for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
- Reheat: Reheat leftovers in the microwave or on the stovetop. Add a splash of milk or broth if needed to bring back the creaminess. Another idea: reheat leftovers in an air fryer. Crispy pasta on top, creamy underneath, it's so good!
- Freeze: I haven't tried freezing this pasta, but I'm guessing the sauce will turn grainy and unpleasant.
VARIATIONS OF SUN DRIED TOMATO PASTA
- Double Sun-Dried Tomato: Top the pasta with a scoop of sun-dried tomato pesto in place of the green pesto – delightful!
- Vegetarian Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta: Omit the chicken and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.
- Caprese Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta: Right after you stir in the parmesan cheese, very lightly stir in a handful of bite-size mozzarella balls. They will melt slightly from the heat of the pasta. Drizzle your dish with thick balsamic vinegar or glaze.
I'm so proud of my sister for the amazing, intuitive cook she is becoming. We all owe her big for her many Instant Pot freezer meal creations. Whether you make this dish with today's method or with her freezer meal method, you will be so incredibly happy.
And if you suddenly erupt into Valley Girl style expressions of love for your giant bowl of pasta, just know, I totally understand, and your eye-rolling kiddos at the table just need to mature a little to know how to properly express deep food infatuation.
MORE INSTANT POT PASTA RECIPES
- Instant Pot Creamy Mac and Cheese (Healthy, whole grain version)
- Instant Pot Italian Pasta Salad
- Instant Pot Pizza Mac and Cheese
- Instant Pot Spring Meatball Soup
- Instant Pot Sweet Corn and Tomato Pasta
TOOLS/INGREDIENTS USED TO MAKE INSTANT POT SUN DRIED TOMATO PASTAPrint
Instant Pot Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta with Chicken and Pesto
One Pot Wonder pasta dish! Light, tangy, creamy pasta dish made quick and easy in the Instant Pot.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 4 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
- Category: Entree
- Method: Pressure cooker
- Cuisine: Italian
- 12 ounces penne pasta – I like Jovial Gluten Free Brown Rice Penne
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- ½ cup drained sun-dried tomatoes, (from a bottle of julienned sun-dried tomatoes in oil)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley
- ¼ – ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups milk (skim, 1%, or 2% all work)
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
For serving: Kale Walnut Pesto or store-bought pesto
- Add pasta, chicken, butter, cornstarch, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, salt, oregano, basil, parsley, red pepper flakes, and pepper to the pressure cooker pot.
- Add chicken broth and milk and whisk briskly and thoroughly (this will prevent the cornstarch from settling and sticking to the bottom of the pot – see notes).
- Secure the lid and turn pressure release knob to a sealed position. Cook at high pressure for half of the pasta package cooking time minus 2 minutes. (For example, the Jovial pasta calls for a 12 minute cook time so I cook it for 4 minutes).
- When cooking is complete, unplug the cooker and use a quick release. If liquid sprays from the valve, close valve, wait 30-60 seconds and try again. You may need to do this 2-3 times depending on the brand of pasta.
- If the pasta isn’t done, use the saute function to cook with the lid off until your desired texture is reached.
- Add parmesan cheese and stir. The pasta might be a little runny right when you open the pot, but within 5 minutes, the extra liquid will absorb and it will be perfectly creamy.
- Serve hot with a dollop of pesto on top.
- I prefer a whole grain pasta, but any penne will work. The Jovial Brown Rice variety is fantastic. Make sure and check the suggested cook time on your box of pasta. To determine the cook time, divide the lowest time in half, then subtract 2 minutes.
- The bottled sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil give the best flavor. If you buy julienned there is no need to cut them. If you buy halved, slice them into 3 or 4 pieces. Dried tomatoes in a bag will work, they just won’t have as much flavor.
- I like to use cornstarch in pasta because it prevents low fat and fat free milk from curdling. If the cornstarch settles to the bottom of the pot, it can cause some sticking. To prevent this, whisk it thoroughly when you add the liquids and immediately start cooking. If you use 2% or whole milk, you may not need the cornstarch at all.
Keywords: Instant Pot pasta, sun-dried tomato pasta, healthy pasta recipe