Instant Pot Magic: Chicken Marsala with Bow Tie Pasta

I am excited that I received an Instant Pot as a Christmas present this past December. I love new kitchen gadgets and this gives me a great opportunity (or excuse) to test out new recipes. The Instant Pot fad has been around for several years now, so I’ll admit that I’m a little behind the trend. But rather late than never at all. “One-pot meals” seem like the perfect dish to make in an Instant Pot and so I initiated this little this pressure cooker by making “Chicken Marsala with Bow Tie Pasta.” The marsala cooking wine gave a nice flavor to this classic dish.

What is an “Instant Pot”?

Basically, an Instant Pot is programable pressure cooker with multiple other functions. The pressure setting allows you to cook a dish in reduced time. In addition to pressure cooking, my Instant Pot has features which allow a person to easily do all kinds of other things such as sauté, steam, bake, make yogurt and even slow cook. This Instant Pot has many pre-programed settings which takes the guess work out of cooking foods. The Instant Pot brand is the first company to make an “Instant Pot.” The first model was released on Amazon in 2010. Now there are a plenty of other brands and models on the market, so the functions of each Instant Pot will vary.

My Instant Pot came with just basic instructions for cooking foods and few recipes leaving me wondering about how to cook with this appliance. I searched the internet for “How to Cook with a DuoEvoPlus Instant Pot” and discovered several very thorough guides. Many folks (including the company itself), fortunately, have filled in the gaps for written instructions and there are multiple web/blog sites with detailed instructions for using Instant Pots. Many have helpful videos, great photos and lots of recipes. No need to purchase a recipe book — but there are many of these, too.

I have discovered all kinds of features on this model of Instant Pot — this is much more than a simple a pressure cooker. For example, the small vented cover on the lid of my Instant Pot can be removed and ice placed there. This allows the pot to cool naturally and release pressure quicker. And instructions are given on several sites about how to proof bread dough using this Instant Pot. Now we are cookin’. I am a detail-oriented person and like to read instructions. If you are the type of person who just likes to jump in and get started, good luck. Just remember that there is more versatility to this appliance than at first glance. At least read the safety information.


Just a note of caution about using Instant Pots. The main feature of this appliance is the pressure setting. Although these new Instant Pots are much safer than old, traditional pressure cookers, you are still cooking with pressure and need to follow common sense safety precautions. For example, pressure is created by steam inside the Instant Pot. Steam is hot — it can burn. Pay attention. When using a traditional pressure cooker, you had to watch the stove closely and change the heat to manually adjust the pressure inside the pressure cooker. If you became distracted and the pressure inside the pot got too high, steam would spew out the release valve and these things would occasionally explode. Modern Instant Pots have internal sensors which regulate the temperature and keep the pressure inside the pot steady. They are much safer. Still there is a float valve. The pot won’t build up pressure unless this little piece is working properly. Make sure it totally deflated prior to opening the lid. Keep the float valve clean and free of food debris and don’t lose the small parts. To keep the float valve working properly, don’t fill the inner pot over half full and release the pressure from cooking sticky foods (such as beans) naturally.

One-Pot Meal

The first dish I cooked in my new Instant Pot is “Chicken Marsala with Bow Tie” pasta. It is a very simple recipe and is basically a meal cooked in one pot. The chicken, pasta, seasonings and a few other ingredients are all cooked together and this dish was finished cooking in six minutes! Amazingly, both the pasta and chicken cooked in the same time interval. Magic! (The actual cooking time was slightly longer than six minutes since time is added on automatically to heat up and pressurize the Instant Pot.) The ingredients are adaptable — add fire roasted tomatoes, sliced mushrooms, artichoke heart quarters — or omit them.

For this recipe trial, I used chicken tenders pieces. You could substitute whole, boneless chicken breasts or boneless chicken thighs, if desired. If using chicken tenders, use a sharp knife to cut out the small tendon that runs the length of the piece and then cut them into chunks. If using boneless chicken thighs, cut them into bite size chunks, removing excess fat. For whole, boneless chicken breasts, cut them into strips.

This recipe uses both the sauté and pressure cooking settings on the Instant Pot. First, sauté the chopped onion in the Instant Pot inner pot without the lid. Season the chicken pieces with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Add to pot with onion and sauté them next. Then add in the rest of the ingredients, layering the dry pasta on top of everything — without mixing it in. (The steam cooks the pasta.)

Place on the lid with the vent to seal. Cook on high pressure setting for six minutes. Then use the “vent release” to release the pressure. Remove the lid, away from you. Everything is cooked. Stir in Parmesan Cheese. The marsala wine gave a great flavor to the pasta and chicken dish.

This recipe was a success! The “one-pot” method of this recipe certainly made cooking this meal much easier. I love that I was able to cook the pasta in with the chicken and everything else. I was able to leave the Instant Pot alone while I went on to do other things and finish the meal by preparing a salad.

So is the Instant Pot a “Magic Pot”? Or will it become an appliance that is just a fad and is relegated to my kitchen cabinet. After one success, I’m hopeful that other recipes will also be as simple and easy to make. I love a challenge and this certainly one. I’m already thinking of what I can make next!

Instant Pot Magic: Chicken Marsala with Bow Tie Pasta

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: moderate
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  • 1 lb boneless chicken tenders (may substitute boneless chicken thighs or boneless chicken breasts)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup chopped onion)
  • 1 (14.5 can) Swanson’s reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup marsala cooking wine
  • 1 (7 oz) can julienne cut, sun dried tomatoes in oil, drained
  • 1 cup canned, marinated artichoke hearts, drained, (optional)
  • 1/2 cup canned sliced mushrooms, drained, (optional)
  • 6 oz dry bow tie pasta (about 4 cups dry pasta)
  • 1/2 cup dried Parmesan cheese

Method and Steps*:

  1. Prepared the chicken. Remove the tendon from chicken tenders and cut pieces  in half. If using boneless chicken thighs, remove excess fat and cut into bite-size chunks. For chicken breasts, cut into strips. Season chicken pieces with salt, garlic powder and black pepper. Set aside.
  2. Set Instant Pot to “Sauté” setting, five minutes. Add oil. Add chopped onion. (The Instant Pot heats to a high setting quickly.) Stir the chopped onion and cook for several minutes until translucent.
  3. Add the seasoned chicken pieces to onion in Instant Pot. Cook chicken pieces, turning frequently, until they are seared. Cancel any remaining minutes on Instant Pot.
  4. Add the chicken broth and marsala cooking wine to the chicken in the Instant Pot. Stir to combine.
  5. Add in the drained sun dried tomatoes and artichoke quarters and sliced mushrooms (if using.) Stir.
  6. Layer the dried bow tie pasta on top. Don’t stir.
  7. Set the Instant Pot to “Pressure Setting.” In the Custom Setting, turn to six minutes on “high” setting. Place on the Instant Pot lid with the vent to “Seal.” Press “Start.” Make sure the “Keep Warm” setting is also pressed. (When cooking is complete, the Instant Pot will keep the ingredients warm.)
  8. When the cooking is complete, use the “Quick Release” valve to release the pressure. Steam will escape from the vent. When the float valve shows that the pressure is totally released, remove lid.
  9. Stir in Parmesan Cheese.
  10. Transfer to serving bowl and serve.

*NOTE: These instructions are given for Instant Pot — DuoEvoPlus model. Since features on programable instant pots vary, yours may operate slightly differently. Ingredients and cooking time should stay the same.

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