Instant Pot Chicken and Bacon Pasta with avocado and blue cheese

Instant Pot Chicken and Bacon Pasta with Avocado and Blue Cheese

When I was at University we used to go to the movies every Tuesday night. We would first go to Panarotti’s (pizza restaurant) before seeing the latest blockbuster. At the pizza restaurant we always ordered the same pizza: a Californian. It came smothered with thick cut bacon, nutty avocado slices and oozing with chunks of feta cheese. Those flavours quickly became a favourite combination and was the inspiration for this creamy and decadent Instant Pot pasta dish.

Bacon and avocado goes hand in hand; like beans on toast or peanut butter and jelly! With this recipe I’ve served it as a main course for dinner and therefore had to bulk it up a little with some chicken thighs. Now, if you are like me, I rarely take out the chicken to defrost since I simply forget! I then have to scramble to either defrost the chicken by leaving it in a dish with water or, if I’m using my Instant Pot, I simply pop it into the pot to do its magic. There is really no need to defrost the chicken then, in fact, I think it comes out much juicier!

To make my life a lot easier, I prefer to chop, slice and dice everything first before I start cooking. This way I can fully concentrate on adding the correct ingredients at the right time to ensure everything is cooked exactly the way I like.

When cooking pasta in the Instant Pot, layering and the correct order of the layers is crucial to ensure you don’t get a burn notice. It is very important to note that neither pasta nor tomatoes should ever be left on the bottom of the pot as this will guarantee a burn notice.

Let’s get started

The first thing I did was to put the chopped red onion and frozen chicken thighs in the Instant Pot’s inner pot. I then seasoned the meat, poured in a cup of water and set the pot to High Pressure for about 5 minutes. I did a quick release once the pot was finished. This will not cook the chicken all the way through, but it did allow me to chop it into bitesize pieces before returning to the pot and adding the next lot of ingredients.

A great tip is to take out the inner pot and place the lid onto your unlined Instant Pot. This way you won’t accidentally pour liquid or ingredients into your pot without the liner being in place.

Once the chicken is chopped, place it back into the water (add about ½ cup extra) and put the chopped courgettes on top of this. Do not stir. Now scatter your rigatoni in an even layer over the courgettes (zucchini) and top your pasta with the fresh tomato and sliced spring onions (scallions), reserving some of the green parts for a garnish. It was at this stage that I have also put some sea salt flakes over the whole lot to ensure the pasta is nicely seasoned as it is cooking.

I’ve set the Instant Pot to High Pressure and set the time for 10 minutes. I find that my brand of rigatoni is quite robust and therefore it takes a bit longer to soften up. Of course you can adjust your timer to suit the pasta you have in your pot. If you are not sure, then look at the packaging and half the time it states for stovetop cooking. Then add two minutes to this if using dried pasta. If you find it is still not fully cooked, simply put your pot to the Sauté function and cook a while longer or leave your pasta on the Keep Warm function until it is cooked through.

Whilst the Instant Pot is doing it’s thing, I was free to pan fry the bacon and get the plates ready. It also allowed me to quickly wash the dishes as I don’t have to constantly stir or watch over a pot.

Assembly

Once the timer went off, I left the Instant Pot to naturally release its pressure (NPR) for around 5 minutes, before doing a quick release (QR). I will never do this with any other pasta as I don’t want it to be over cooked, but rigatoni can be a bit forgiving! Once the pressure was released, the first thing I did was to check if all the pasta was cooked through by testing a piece from the top as well as a bottom piece without stirring the whole lot. Once I was happy with the result, I switched off the Keep Warm function, poured over the creme fraîche, the crispy bacon, half of the blue cheese and halve of the avocado. Now you stir it for the first time. Check the seasoning too and adjust if needed although this shouldn’t be necessary with the salty bacon bits. Serve warm, scattered with the remaining blue cheese, avocado and reserved spring onion.

Top tips

  • Substitute the water for a light chicken or vegetable stock to enhance the flavour of the dish. Just be careful not to add more salt.
  • Substitute the courgette (zucchini) for mushrooms to add a delicious earthy flavour. Keep the mushrooms in the same order as the courgettes.
  • If you are not fond of blue cheese, you can substitute it for feta cheese or even goats cheese. Both will complement the smoky bacon flavour perfectly.
  • You can serve this dish warm as a main course or cold as a salad. Either would be very delicious.
  • This does not freeze well at all. If you do happen to have any left overs, it is better to eat cold as a salad, although it will not keep well due to the avocado.
  • If you are not a fan of creme fraiche, then you can substitute this for sour cream, plain greek yogurt or even cream cheese. Do ensure you only add any dairy right at the end, just before serving as it can curdle when it boils. If you are substituting, you can either use equal amounts as given in the recipe or to your taste.
  • If you are dairy free, simply omit the dairy elements or substitute with dairy free alternatives.
  • You can also use gluten free pasta, but you may need to adjust the timings.
  • To add some veggies to your dish, simply pop your veggies in the steamer basket. Place your trivet on top of the pasta followed by the steamer basket. Your veggies will be ready at the same time as your meal. I added some green beans this time, but you can add anything that will be ready in the 10 minutes.

Instant Pot Chicken and Bacon Pasta with Avocado and Blue Cheese

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 4 chicken thighs, skinned and deboned, chopped into bitesize pieces
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1.5 cups water or stock
  • 1 large courgette, diced
  • 200g dried rigatoni (or any short pasta)
  • 1 fresh tomato, chopped
  • 1 bunch spring onions, sliced with some greens reserved
  • 250g streaky bacon, chopped
  • 1 large avocado, stoned and chopped
  • – 1 cup blue cheese, cubed
  • 1 cup creme fraiche

Directions

  1. If the chicken is frozen, place this in the Instant Pot first for 5 minutes or high pressure, otherwise, place the chopped red onion and chopped chicken in the Instant Pot and saute for a few minutes until browned, but not cooked.
  2. In this order scatter over: pour water or stock in over the chicken, scatter over garlic powder, then courgette, followed by the rigatoni, then tomatoes, then spring onion. Set the pot for High Pressure for 10 minutes.
  3. Once the Instant Pot has come to a pressure, fry the bacon in a skillet until crispy. If you are using streaky bacon you don’t need to add any oil.
  4. As soon as the Instant Pot’s time is up, let it NPR for 5 minutes before doing a QR. Switch off the Keep Warm function now.
  5. Stir in the bacon, half the cheese, halve the avocado and all of the creme fraiche. Taste and season if needed.
  6. Serve warm by spooning into a deep pasta plate and scatter over the remaining spring onion, avocado and blue cheese.


Here are some more Instant Pot recipes for you to try:

16 Comments on “Instant Pot Chicken and Bacon Pasta with avocado and blue cheese

  1. I don’t have an instant pot but this post just gave me ideas for next week’s grocery shopping list and meals.

    I also love how you’ve added the alternative ingredients. ✨

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This looks great. Now I just need to get my ass off the couch and go to the grocery store🤗🤗🤗 Thanks for the recipe 😘😘😘

    Liked by 1 person

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