Instant Pot: Cheesy Meaty Mac & Cheese

If there's a comfort food that everyone can appreciate, it's macaroni and cheese. There are countless recipes out there but I still find myself looking for the *perfect* one. I love my mac and cheese on the creamy and very cheesy side. When I stumbled upon this mac & cheese recipe made on the stove top that had numerous rave reviews, I couldn't pass it up. As a result, I got exactly what I was hoping for and created this Cheesy, Meaty Mac & Cheese using my Instant Pot. I don't think I'll be searching for another mac and cheese recipe anytime soon because this was... perfect!

I've made my share of mac and cheese recipes, all of them very good. But this recipe is by far my favorite... at least for now. This is Alton Brown's recipe which is made on the stovetop and converted it for the Instant Pot. It couldn't have been any easier and the dish is everything I'm looking for in a mac and cheese. I made some adaptations, one of which was adding diced cheddar bratwurst for a heartier dish. You can certainly omit the cheddar bratwurst and use the recipe as a great base to add other ingredients to customize your mac and cheese. Some ideas - crumbled bacon, smoked sausage, steamed broccoli, mixed vegetables, etc... the ideas are endless!

Cheesy Meaty Mac & Cheese
recipe adapted from Alton Brown

1 pound elbow macaroni
4 cups water
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 eggs
2/3 cup half & half
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
10 ounces extra sharp cheddar, shredded
3-4 links fully cooked cheddar bratwurst, diced
chopped fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)

In your Instant Pot:

Plug in the IP with insert set in place.

Press MANUAL on the IP.

Add the pasta, water, and butter into the IP.

Secure the lid of the IP and ensure the valve is set to SEALING.

Press MANUAL and adjust the time to 4 minutes on HIGH pressure.

The display will reflect ON while the IP comes to pressure. Allow a few minutes for your IP to come to pressure.

Once at pressure, the display will reflect 4 (the number of minutes you initially set) and will begin to countdown to 0 minutes.

When the IP beeps after pressure cooking for 4 minutes, turn the setting on top of your IP to VENTING. Doing so allows the IP to quickly release any remaining pressure (also known as QPR or QR). I use a wooden spoon to carefully turn the setting to avoid close contact with the potential steam. You may also want to turn your IP away from cabinets to allow the released steam to escape freely. The pin at the top of your IP will drop when all pressure has been released and it's safe to open.

Open up your IP when the pin has dropped (allow a few minutes for this to happen). The IP will automatically default to the WARM mode.

You'll notice no draining is necessary; the water will be absorbed by the pasta. 

Whisk together the eggs, half & half, hot sauce, salt, pepper, and mustard. Stir into the pasta and add the cheese and diced cheddar bratwurst.

Stir until cheese has thoroughly melted and pasta warmed through. Serve and garnish with parsley if desired.

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