Yes, you read that title right: Pressure Cooker Pizza AND Mac and Cheese. Healthy, Whole Grain, Creamy Mac and Cheese meets Pepperoni Pizza and we all get to fall in love!
If I give my kids an opinion of what’s on the dinner menu for that week, they unfailing will request pepperoni pizza and/or mac and cheese. Which is why I don’t ask for their opinion very often cause this mama don’t want pizza and mac and cheese every week. Until now! Cause this Pizza + Mac and Cheese is a match made in heaven! Picture this!
Pepperoni gets thrown in a hot pot until it’s all crispy – startin’ off good, right?
Then in that flavorful pepperoni oil we’ll saute up some peppers and onions (more flavor!) and add some spices to make sure it keeps a pizza flavor vibe.
Pressure cook it in skim milk to make it creamy and keep it still in “healthy” realm (refer to this Mac and Cheese post to see why skim milk won’t curdle in this recipe).
I love this Tinkyada Brown Rice Pasta brand. Whole wheat pasta sometimes tastes a little strong for my family and I, but the Tinkyada brand has the perfect taste and texture! I have it in every shape and size! But you can use any kind you like.
After it’s done cooking I use my favorite pizza cheese combo of parmesan and cheddar and then add some glorious melty quesadilla cheese to make sure it turns out smooth and creamy.
Oh wait, that’s not all. Top it with a quick and easy tomato sauce and sprinkle the crispy pepperoni and a few sliced olives over top and you have every child’s (and adult’s) dream meal – PRESSURE COOKER PIZZA MAC AND CHEESE!
I should mention, it’s awesome cold too so it’s perfect for a school lunchbox. Which means you’re gonna be the coolest mom in school. Cue Meghan Trainor singing “You might have a mom, she might be the bomb, but ain’t nobody, got a mom like mine.”
Pizza Mac and Cheese + Cool Mom + Meghan Trainor on max volume = Bucket List Moment. Make it happen (fist bump).
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Pressure Cooker Pizza Mac and Cheese
Pizza and Mac and Cheese come together in this creamy, healthy, whole grain bowl of goodness. It’s meant to be and a total match made in heaven!
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: varies
- Total Time: -25279425.116667 minute
- Yield: 6 servings
For the Mac and Cheese
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 cup turkey pepperoni, quartered (regular pepperoni is fine, it will just be more greasy)
- 1 cup diced red bell peppers
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 pound of uncooked whole grain elbow pasta (I like Tinkyada Brown Rice Pasta)
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 3 cups milk, divided (skim, 1%, or 2% all work great)
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 cup shredded quesadilla cheese (like Cacique queso quesadilla cheese or Supremo queso Chihuahua quesadilla cheese)
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
For the Tomato Sauce (can substitute with your favorite jarred marinara or pizza sauce)
- 3 cups cherry tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon butter
- salt and pepper to taste
Toppings (optional): sliced black olives, diced pineapple, crispy bacon, extra red pepper flakes, shredded parmesan cheese, etc.
- Preheat the pressure cooker by selecting sauté . Add the butter. When butter is melted and slightly bubbling, add chopped pepperoni sauté 6-7 minutes or until pepperoni starts to brown and crisp. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate, leaving oil in the pot. If using regular pepperoni vs turkey pepperoni, there may be quite a bit of oil left in the pot. You will only need 1-2 tablespoons for the next step.
- Add bell peppers and onions; saute 5-7 minutes or until tender. Add garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes and stir for 1 minute.
- Add pasta, water, only 2 cups of the milk, 1 tablespoon kosher salt, and 2 tablespoons cornstarch. Stir well to incorporate cornstarch.
- 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 1 minute. (Example: If cook time is 16 minutes, cook for 7 minutes. If it says 12-13 minutes, cook for 6 minutes).
- While the pasta is cooking, place a skillet on your stovetop and turn to medium high heat. Add cherry tomatoes to the pan and let them get a light char on 1-2 sides. Add butter and lightly smash tomatoes (be careful! When the tomatoes burst, that juice is HOT). Season with a pinch of kosher salt and pepper. Turn heat down to medium or medium low and allow sauce to simmer until nice and thick, about 2-3 minutes. Take off the heat, cover, and set aside.
- When pressure cooking is complete, use a quick release. If liquid sprays from valve, close valve, wait 30-60 second, and try again. If pasta isn’t done, use sauté function to cook with the lid off for 2-3 minutes.
- Select saute function and add 1/2 cup milk (adding another 1/2 cup if too dry), cheddar, quesadilla cheese, and parmesan cheese; stir until melted and creamy.
- Serve immediately topped with a scoop of Tomato Sauce (or favorite marinara sauce, warmed), crispy pepperoni, and any other of your favorite pizza toppings like pineapple, sliced olives, bacon, extra parmesan cheese, etc.
All images and text © Marci Buttars / TIDBITS
Adapted from Cooks Illustrated magazine