Add butter to cooking pot. (If using chicken base + water instead of chicken broth, add chicken base now.)
Pour in penne pasta.
Add minced garlic and sea salt.
Pour chicken broth over the penne pasta. (If using chicken base + water instead of chicken broth, add water now.)
Place chicken pieces on top of pasta.
Pour in pesto sauce to cover chicken.
Cut Boursin cheese into chunks and place on top of chicken and pesto sauce.
Lock lid in place and close pressure valve. Cook at high pressure for 3 minutes. When beep sounds, wait 5 minutes and then release the rest of the pressure.
Remove lid and stir pasta.
Stir in spinach and halved cherry tomatoes.
Onions release a lot of liquid and the liquid is counted towards the overall amount. The liquid from the onions and the chicken add enough that we only need 3.5 cups of water to cook the pasta. Normally, 4 cups of pasta is needed.Since chicken thighs take slightly longer to cook than white meat chicken (breasts), place the thighs into the pressure cooker prior to adding in the penne.Pasta can be tricky under pressure. But, armed with the right brand of pasts and the right cook times, you will never have to worry. Brand of pasta matters. De Cecco is a brand, which holds up well under pressure. It can sometimes be pricier than other brands, but it is very worth it. The best prices for De Cecco are usually at Amazon, where you can buy a five, six or twelve pack for about $2.50 each!If using a different shape of pasta or noodle, your cook time may be different.
This Old Gal's Pasta Rule of Thumb
Any type of pasta or semolina noodle is fine to use in this recipe.
Look at package of pasta and find the variable cook time. Choose the lesser time given and then subtract 2 minutes. For example, if your package of pasta says "cook for 8 - 11 minutes," take that 8 minute number and cut it in half, which is 4. Then subtract 2 minutes from the 4 minutes and you will end up with the proper cook time. In this case the cook time will be 2 minutes.
After the 2 minute pressure cook time is up, wait 5 minutes and then release the rest of the pressure.
If the variable cook time on your package of pasta is 11 - 16 minutes, err on the lesser side. In this instance, the cook time would be 3 minutes. It is better to end up with overly firm pasta rather than mushy because you can continue to cook the pasta, but if it is mushy, there is nothing you can do to correct.
If the pasta is too firm or al dente for your taste, simply put the lid back on the pot and let the pasta sit in the hot pot. The residual heat will continue to cook the pasta. Check after a few minutes to see if the pasta has reached the perfect firmness for your liking. If not give it a stir and let sit some more.
This recipe uses a bit of a natural release and the total time is figured into that, so only the cook time needs to be adjusted.Homemade pesto can be subbed for jarred pesto sauce.Boursin cheese is just a type of Gourney cheese. If you cannot find it, sub it with 1/4 cup of cream cheese, 2 Tablespoons of butter, 2 Tablespoons of Cream and 1/4 teaspoon of Italian seasonings.If you are not a spinach lover, kale can be used instead. Use as much or as little as you like.Tomatoes can be cherry or grape. Use as much or as little as you like.