Delicious Instant Pot Rigatoni to Feed Any Circus Crowd

I hope my kids remember these last couple months and that is how they base their childhood perception of their mom. Lately, I've been getting a lot of comments like, "Mom, you're the BEST cook in the whole wide WORLD!!!" This is very new to me. Granted, they've always been sweet about what I make them, but I'm far more likley to make quick sandwiches as we dance in the kitchen to pop music while they try to teach me the latest dance move all the kids are learning (think "the dab" or "flossing"). Or we might eat our sandwiches and carrot sticks while I read our illustrated copy Harry Potter as I read to them the parts about the cool banquets with the feast that appears out of nowhere with all sorts of delicious puddings, pies and pasties.

I tell you, I'm just sure that in another life I was British. And my children. I talk in a British accent a good 23% of the time. Don't ask me why---it just feels right in my soul. Sometimes I even dream in a British accent. My two little gingers have great little British accents too.

My husband, on the other hand....he's got some work to do. He tries. Somehow he has managed to combine a Spanish and British accent into one. I didn't even know this was possible! So here's my theory: I was an actress in a traveling circus type show in the 18th century, we travelled to do a show in Spain, where a handsome green eyed man was in the audience as I delivered my best, dramatic monologue ever. He was absolutely smitten and came to meet me after the show, decided to join the crew behind the scenes, we fell in love, got married, had three beautiful children, yada yada yada....and the kids ended up with a British accent like their mum. Just a theory, but I think I might be onto something :)

Anyway, back to 2019. Here we are. No traveling circus--just us going to school and work and doing the regular life thing and we get hungry every day. Mom, or should I say Mum, is not the best cook in the world. Let me rephrase that--Mum WAS not the best cook in the world. But then something quite magical was invented. An Instant Pot. She got one for Christmas a year or two back, didn't use it much the first year, then realized how silly that was! Starting asking around for great recipes, checked the interwebs, because that's one cool thing about living in 2019, and yada yada yada, she's become the world's best cook! At least to those two adorable British speaking gingers and the Spanish accented, green-eyed baby. And that's really all that matters.

Dinner is on the table hot and ready every night, it doesn't heat up the whole house in the summer, and is perfect for hearty stews and soups in the winter. Life is great! Here is one of my favorite recipes I've been making a lot lately. I just can't get enough of these pasta recipes for the pressure cooker. They turn out so perfectly each and every time and everyone absolutely loves them! They also make great leftovers.

I've been delving into the fancy noodles, whereas the first 10 years of my marriage it was just spaghetti and lasagna noodles or bust. I had to ease on in. I started by dipping my toe in the water with fettuccini noodles--fancy, I know!--now we've worked our way into the kiddie pool with rigatoni. They are basically big, fat macaroni noodles that are ribbed and are straight instead of curved like elbow macaroni.

You make the sauce for the pasta with marinara, then you stir in cream and parmesan at the end, it is so good! You can make it with chicken or sausage--both are great options. I hope you try this recipe, your whole family will love it. Oh, and I also think you should try talking in another accent that you think is fun, because it IS really fun and your whole family will {hopefully} love it. At least it will give them a good laugh. And you can daydream about how you and your sweetheart met in another life :)


Serving size: 4
Calories per serving: 812

1/2 pound rigatoni pasta
1 pound chicken cut into bite size pieces
24 ounces marinara sauces (keep jar to fill half way with water)
2 bell peppers, cut into large pieces
1 yellow onion, sliced
3/4 cup half and half, or heavy cream
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 3 tablespoons 2-3 fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

Heat Instant Pot to Saute. Add olive oil. Once pot says HOT, add chicken. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder and then let cook until brown on one side, about 2-3 minutes. Stir and make sure no chicken pieces are sticking to the bottom. Hit cancel.

Add peppers and onions on top of the chicken. Add pasta. Add marinara sauce and then fill jar halfway and add water, about 1 cup. Push any noodles that are above the sauce into it.

Put lid on the Instant Pot and turn to sealed. Use the manual function and change the timer to 5 minutes. Let cook. Once finished, do a quick release then add the half and half and parmesan cheese. Stir to distribute. Add additional seasonings to taste. Add basil and serve.

Recipe formatted with the Cook'n Recipe Software from DVO Enterprises.

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    Mary Richardson
    Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2014
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