More than a [whole] grain of truth in the tastiness of this recipe

Hi everyone! Back to a savory Instant Pot® (IP) dish today as I honor the 3rd state we visited on our Northeast U.S. tour this past summer: New Jersey! This state truly holds a special place in my heart because, not only did I attend both college and graduate school there (Go Rutgers!), but some of my very best friends are originally from there and/or still reside there. I thought long and hard about what ingredient would best represent New Jersey, and felt that the ‘Jersey tomato’ was the clear choice. New Jersey is, as many of you know, the Garden State, and that is definitely not a misnomer. Any area of New Jersey where you venture, you are guaranteed to find an overabundance of gardens, farms and farmers markets. I’m excited to share this ‘double feature’ recipe with you today – I’ve given you a recipe to make homemade marinara sauce as well as a way to use it in a creamy pasta recipe (though you are more than welcome to make the pasta recipe with jarred sauce instead!). Hope you enjoy!

Instant Pot Homemade Pasta Sauce and Instant Pot Tomato Ricotta Pasta
(Sauce recipe yields ~27 fluid ounces)
(Pasta recipe yields ~ 6 servings)

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Ingredients

For sauce
28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 onion, peeled and halved
1 teaspoon dried basil
4 fluid ounces cup water
4 tablespoons butter
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
1 teaspoon Kosher salt + (additional to taste)
Pepper to taste

For pasta dish
16 fluid ounces vegetable stock or water (For a 12 ounce box of pasta, cut this liquid back to 12 fluid ounces; For an 8 ounce box of pasta, cut liquid back to 8 fluid ounces)
1 pound (16 ounces) of any desired high-fiber pasta (we often use the legume-based pasta, Banza®,  but also use whole grain pasta once in a while as well) 
8 ounces ricotta cheese
⅓ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

For sauce
1. Add all ingredients except salt and pepper into the IP.
2. Close, lock and seal lid.
3. Set the IP to Manual, Low Pressure for 30 minutes.
4. Once cook cycle is complete, let the IP naturally release for 5 minutes.
5. Carefully release the rest of the pressure. Open the IP lid and remove onion. Use a potato masher or similar instrument to create a smoother sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste.

For pasta dish
6. Keep the pasta sauce you made above in the IP pot
*** If you are strapped for time and don’t want to make your own sauce, use a 28 ounce jar of store-bought pasta sauce and pour into the IP pot***
7. Pour in the broth or water, and stir.
8. Add in the pasta and make sure it is all covered in sauce.
9. Place spoonfuls of ricotta cheese on top.
10. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the whole mixture.
11. Close, lock and seal lid.
12. Set IP Manual, High Pressure for 4 minutes.
13. Once cook cycle is complete, let the IP natural release for 5 minutes.
14. Carefully release the rest of the pressure. Open the lid, stir everything together, add salt and/or pepper to taste, and serve.

To round out this dish at dinner time, some lovely roasted vegetables (we recently prepared some roasted cauliflower) would do the trick!  A fresh salad is always a beautiful accompaniment as well!

In past recipes (like this other tomato & pasta, mac & cheese, minestrone soup or pasta salad), as well as the current recipe, I’ve talked about our use of legume-based pastas. However, our family also uses other high-fiber pastas.  So, with that in mind, the Nutrition Highlight for today is. . .

WHOLE-GRAIN PASTA
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Whole-grain pasta contains:
Antioxidants (Anthocyanins, Flavonoids, Phenolics): protect cells from damaging molecules (‘free radicals’)
Fiber: improves digestion and/or decreases blood cholesterol
Folate: critical in the synthesis of genetic material (i.e. DNA) and cell division
Iron: used to make hemoglobin and myoglobin which are critical for oxygen transport throughout the body; also required for many hormones and the structure of our connective tissue
Magnesium: helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels and blood pressure, and is involved in bone, DNA and protein synthesis
Manganese: critical component of enzymes involved in antioxidant function, bone development, metabolism, and wound healing
Niacin: aids in the generation of energy from food and supports healthy skin, nerves and digestive system
Phytosterols (aka plant sterols): help prevent cholesterol absorption
Protein: building blocks for blood, bone, cartilage, enzymes, hormones, muscle and skin
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin): involved in creating energy from consumed food and is also critical for cell development, function and growth

Zinc: helps the body fight off infection and with wound healing, helps make protein and DNA

So, that’s all for now. Please feel free to ask questions about my experience with the IP, Weekday Vegetarianism, whole-grain pasta, general nutrition or whatever! See you next time!

References:
1. https://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/050113p44.shtml
2. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/9-benefits-of-whole-grains#section2
3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25075608
4. http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/030314p20.shtml
5. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Folate-Consumer/
6. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iron-Consumer/
7. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-Consumer/
8. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/minerals/manganese
9. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002409.htm
10. https://www.webmd.com/cholesterol-management/features/low-cholesterol-diet-plant-sterols-stanols#1
11. https://www.choosemyplate.gov/protein-foods-nutrients-health
12. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Thiamin-Consumer/
13. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-Consumer/

Disclaimer:
Any content you find on Sunny Seeds Nutrition Blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition.

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