3 Cheese Italian Mac and Cheese
If you haven’t noticed yet by this point in the book, pasta and cheese is my love language. This three cheese Italian style macaroni and cheese is ultra-creamy and making it in the Instant Pot is a breeze. And trust me, the Panko Parmesan breadcrumbs are worth the extra step of using the stove!
Total time: 30 minutes
- 1 pound (454 g) medium shells
- 3 1/2 cups (840 ml) water
- 1 cup (180 g) petite diced tomatoes
- 4 tablespoons (56 g) unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup (108 g) shredded fontina cheese
- 1 cup (100 g) shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup (113 g) shredded provolone cheese
- 12 ounces (354 ml) evaporated milk
- 2 teaspoons (5 g) cornstarch
- 1/2 cup (10 g) fresh basil, chopped
- Salt and pepper, to taste
For the breadcrumb topping
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
- 1 cup (56 g) Panko breadcrumbs
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup (25 g) shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup (15 g) chopped fresh flat leaf Italian parsley
Add the shells, water, diced tomatoes, butter, Italian seasoning, garlic powder and salt into the Instant Pot and DO NOT STIR.
Secure the lid in place with the steam vent sealed. Press the “Pressure Cook” button until the display light is under “HIGH” and use the “-/+” button to adjust the time until the display reads 5 minutes.
While the pasta cooks, make the breadcrumb topping. In a small frying pan over medium heat, add the olive oil. When hot, add the Panko breadcrumbs and the garlic. Cook until golden, for 3 minutes. Be sure to keep an eye on them and stir occasionally to prevent burning. Remove from heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese and parsley. Set the breadcrumbs aside in a bowl.
Once the timer sounds, quick release the pressure. When the pin drops, remove the lid.
Press “Cancel” and then select the “Sauté” button. Stir the pasta to combine. Then gradually stir in small handfuls of the cheeses, allowing it to melt in between additions, until all the cheeses are added.
Whisk together the evaporated milk and cornstarch and stir into the pasta. Add in the fresh basil. Taste the pasta and add salt and pepper as desired.
Serve with the toasted breadcrumbs on top and enjoy!
- You can use the entire can of diced tomatoes if you prefer more tomatoes.
- Take a little extra time to grate the cheese yourself instead of buying pre-shredded cheese. This goes for all my recipes, but it is particularly important to create the best texture for this mac and cheese recipe.
Reprinted with permission from Italian Cooking in Your Instant Pot by Tawnie Graham. Page Street Publishing Co. 2023. Photo credit: Tawnie Graham.