Introduction: Macaroni and cheese is a classic comfort food that has delighted taste buds for generations. This dish, with its creamy, cheesy goodness, has a history that can be traced back to the 14th century in Italy. Over the years, it has evolved and been adapted in countless ways to suit different palates. Today, we’re going to explore a modern twist on this beloved favorite – Instant Pot Mac and Cheese Bliss. With the help of your trusty Instant Pot, you can whip up a batch of creamy, dreamy mac and cheese in no time. It’s the ultimate comfort food that will satisfy both kids and adults alike.
Historical Context: Macaroni and cheese, or “mac ‘n’ cheese” as it’s commonly known, has a fascinating history. It is believed to have originated in Italy, where pasta and cheese were combined to create a simple and satisfying dish. In the 18th century, Thomas Jefferson encountered macaroni in Europe and brought it back to the United States, helping to popularize it in American cuisine. Over time, mac and cheese recipes evolved, with different regions and families putting their unique spin on the dish. Today, it’s a staple in many American households and is often served at holidays, potlucks, and family gatherings.
Step 1: Prep the Ingredients Gather all your ingredients and measure them out. Shred the cheddar and mozzarella cheeses, grate the Parmesan cheese, and chop any fresh parsley for garnish. Having everything ready will make the cooking process smoother.
Step 2: Cook the Pasta Place the 2 cups of elbow macaroni into the Instant Pot. Add 4 cups of water, 1 teaspoon of salt, and give it a quick stir. Close the Instant Pot lid, ensuring the valve is set to the sealing position. Cook on high pressure for 4 minutes.
Step 3: Quick Release and Drain Once the cooking cycle is complete, perform a quick pressure release by turning the steam release valve to venting. Be cautious of the steam. When the float valve drops, carefully open the Instant Pot lid. Drain the cooked macaroni in a colander and set it aside.
Step 4: Prepare the Cheese Mixture Return the Instant Pot insert to the base and set it to the sauté function. Add 2 tablespoons of butter and let it melt. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon each of black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika. Cook for about 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
Step 5: Add Cheeses and Cream Reduce the sauté heat to low. Add the shredded cheddar, mozzarella, and grated Parmesan cheese to the pot. Stir continuously until the cheeses start to melt and the mixture becomes creamy. This should take about 3-4 minutes.
Step 6: Creamy Finish Once the cheese is melty and smooth, pour in 1 cup of evaporated milk, 1/2 cup of heavy cream, and 1/4 cup of softened cream cheese. Continue to stir until the mixture is creamy and well combined. It should be rich and luscious.
Step 7: Combine Pasta and Cheese Add the drained macaroni back into the Instant Pot with the cheese mixture. Stir until the pasta is well coated and the cheese sauce envelops every noodle. The result should be a heavenly, creamy mac and cheese.
Step 8: Serve and Garnish Transfer your Instant Pot Mac and Cheese Bliss to a serving dish. If desired, sprinkle chopped fresh parsley on top for a pop of color and freshness. Serve immediately, and watch it disappear!