Linguini w/ Capers and Spinach in a homemade Creamy Tomato Sauce (IP Recipe)

Today’s lunch was a breakfast sandwich inspired linguini treat!  My go to breakfast sandwich toppings are almost always tomatoes, cream cheese, spinach and capers, and that’s what I put in my pasta. Super creamy, tangy, savory and delightfully yummy!

This is an easy instant pot recipe that’s extremely lunchbox friendly and also makes a quick delicious weeknight dinner. Do give it a try.

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Ingredients:
Serves 4

1/2 box (1/2 pound) linguini
(use any pasta you’d like, but there’s something about slurping noodles & creamy sauce!)
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
5 fresh roma tomatoes, chopped into bite size pieces
1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
1 tsp coarse kosher salt
1 tsp crushed red pepper/red chilli flakes
4 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
3 tbsp capers, chopped (I use the brine pickle capers from the jar)
1/2 cup plain cream cheese (Substitute vegan cream cheese to make this dish vegan)
handful basil chopped for topping

Method:(Instant Pot)
Turn on Saute mode in the Instant Pot, set to “More” indicating highest heat for sautéing. Add the measured olive oil, and wait about 30 seconds for the oil to warm up. Now add in garlic and fry for 20 seconds until the garlic starts getting slightly golden brown.

Add all the chopped tomatoes, measured salt, red chilli flakes and pepper. Saute for 5 minutes until the tomatoes soften and start breaking down releasing their juices.

Add in the dry pasta directly from the box and toss together. Add water just barely until the top of the tomato mixture in the instant pot.

Below bottom left and and right pictures will give you an idea of water level. Roughly, this was about 4 cups.

Turn off Saute mode.

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The keys to making perfect one pot pasta are measure of water and cooking time.

Water:
The measure of water that I find works perfectly is adding liquid just until it comes up to the surface of the ingredients in the pot (above picture – bottom left). This technique works for any veggie, any quantity of pasta or type of pasta you use since the water is relative to whatever veggie/pasta quantity you’ve created.

Cooking Time:
Set half the cooking time of what is on your box of pasta (which you’d normally use for the stove top cook and drain method). My linguini box said 9 minutes, and I set Manual, and ~5 minutes. This method works like magic every single time resulting in perfectly al dente pasta with a spectacular bite to it! If you like your pasta on a slightly softer side, you could add 1 minute more to whatever your number is.

Back to the recipe:
Once the measure water is added, mix well and turn off Saute mode. Cover with the Instant Pot lid, set to Sealing position. Set Manual mode, and set 5 minutes. Let IP do its magic.

Once the IP finishes cooking and you hear the beeps, there is no resting time. Make sure you open the vent to Venting position immediately. Please be very careful as you are releasing extremely high pressure steam.

Once all the steam is released, open the lid (below pic – top left).

Add the chopped spinach and mix well. The hot steamy brothy pasta will wilt and cook the spinach.  Next, add the capers and mix well.

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Let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes allowing time for the spinach to cook and the mixture to cool down a little, before adding the cream cheese.

After about 5 minutes of resting time, add the measure cream cheese and mix thoroughly. The hot pasta water, tomato juices and the cream cheese will come together in beautiful harmony to make a super creamy flavorful pasta sauce.

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Serve with chopped basil sprinkled on top.

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