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Aug 17, 2020

Instant Pot Pasta and Cheese with Cauliflower

This cheesy pasta dish with cauliflower tastes rich and cheesy and is super easy to make in the Instant Pot.

Instant Pot Pasta with Cheese in a bowl

This pasta with cheese and cauliflower is a lot lighter than it tastes. While it tastes really cheesy, it actually has only about 1/2 ounce of cheese per serving.

There is also an entire 2 pound head of cauliflower in this dish, along with 8 ounces of pasta (before cooking). The only additional ingredients are garlic, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper. The cauliflower is tender and cheesy, and melts into the dish.

Instant Pot Pasta and Cheese with Cauliflower in bowls

This is the first time I've made pasta with a pressure cooker and I'm really happy with how it turned out. The pasta was just the right texture.

You never really think that pasta a pressure cookers would go together. I always assumed you make the sauce in the Instant Pot, but you will need to cook the pasta on the stovetop. This is so much easier than waiting for a pot of water to come to a boil!

How to make this pasta in an Instant Pot:

First, you wash, dry, trim, and cut the cauliflower into quarters and cook it using the sauté setting, along with the garlic, browning the pieces on all four sides.

Next, you add the pasta and water and pressure cook the pasta and cauliflower for three minutes.

After that, you break up the cauliflower into bite-sized pieces and then stir in the cheeses, pecorino Romano and provolone, which will melt in the hot pasta.

Be sure to use a short, curly pasta such as fusilli, which is what I used.

This recipe serves four as a main course, and six as a side dish.

Pressure cooker pasta and cheese bite on a fork

Additional tips for making this pasta and cauliflower dish:

After washing the cauliflower, make sure you dry it as much as possible. This way, the cauliflower will brown more easily and will not splatter in the oil.

Be sure that almost all of the pasta is covered by the water.

While the instructions say to set the time to three minutes, the pressure cooker does take a few minutes to get to pressure before the three minutes to begin. While it is building pressure, it will say "on."

I bought my Instant Pot multicooker (affiliate link) about 4 years ago, but I hardly used it until recently. I'm not sure what I was waiting for, because I really enjoy using it!

Some of my favorite pressure cooker dishes: 

Beef Burgundy
Leek and Potato Soup
Saffron Risotto
Turkey Meatloaf
Carolina-Style Pulled Pork

Pressure cooker pasta and cauliflower with cheese

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Multicooker Monday August 2020:

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Pressure cooker pasta and cheese with cauliflower

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Instant Pot Pasta and Cheese with Cauliflower

Instant Pot Pasta and Cheese with Cauliflower
Yield: 6 servings
Author: Karen Kerr
This cheesy pasta dish with cauliflower tastes rich and cheesy and is super easy to make in the Instant Pot.


  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large clove of garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 two-pound cauliflower head, trimmed and quartered
  • Salt and pepper
  • 8 ounces short curly pasta, such as fusilli
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, plus more for serving
  • 2 1/4 cups water
  • 1 1/2 ounces pecorino Romano, finely grated
  • 1 1/2 ounces provolone, preferably aged, finely grated
  • More cheese and olive oil for serving


  1. Set your multicooker to sauté and add the olive oil and garlic and then cook until the garlic is golden brown. Discard the garlic glove. 
  2. Add the cauliflower quarters and sauté them, turning them about every two to three minutes, until they are golden brown on each side. 
  3. Add the pasta and crushed red pepper and stir to coat the pasta with the garlic flavored oil. Add the water, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Make sure the pasta is in an even layer and almost all covered with water. 
  4. Place the lid on the multicooker, lock it in place, and seal the pressure release valve. Set the multicooker to pressure or manual with the pressure level as high. Set the time to 3 minutes. 
  5. When the cooking is complete, release the pressure manually by turning the valve to "venting." Hit "cancel" and remove the lid. 
  6. Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon, breaking up the cauliflower into smaller pieces. Stir in the pecorino until it has melted and is incorporated. Next, add the provolone and stir it in until it's fully incorporated and melted. 
  7. Taste for salt and pepper, and add more if needed. 
  8. Scoop it into a serving bowl, top with a drizzle of olive oil and more pecorino, provolone, and crushed red pepper flakes. 
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Instant Pot, Main dish, Pasta
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Recipe adapted from Fast and Slow: Instant Pot Cooking at the Speed You Need

Would you like to comment?

  1. I love my instant pot too. This recipe sounds like a keeper.

  2. This looks like a WONDERFUL dish - veggie packed, light, but CHEESY! Cannot beat that. And I don't know what I was waiting for - I only bought my Instant Pot I think last winter, and we use it ALL the time. Especially for rice!

    1. Thanks Rebekah. This monthly event has forced me to use it.

  3. Love that pasta with cauliflower, so cheesy and delicious.


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