Instant Pot: Salmon & Spinach Pesto Pasta

This time of year is when I'm all about salmon! It's prime salmon season and one of my favorite salmon dishes is this Salmon & Spinach Pesto Pasta. The creamy spinach pesto sauce compliments the fresh salmon ever so delicately and makes for a colorful and flavorful pasta dish.

I absolutely love salmon and pesto together. This dish incorporates a twist on the traditional pesto by using spinach instead of basil. Once the pesto is made, it's added to pasta with heavy cream, spinach and Parmesan cheese for a luscious sauce. 

Salmon & Spinach Pesto Pasta
recipe adapted by Real Simple

16 ounces dry pasta (I used shells)

4 cups water
12 ounces smoked salmon, broken up in bite sized pieces
1 lemon
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cup fresh baby spinach

Spinach Pesto Sauce:

1/4 cup walnuts
1 clove of garlic
2 cups baby spinach 
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Prepare the spinach pesto sauce -  In a food processor, pulse the walnuts and garlic until chopped. Add the spinach olive oil, Parmesan, and salt and pepper to taste. Puree until smooth, scraping down the sides of the processor bowl as necessary.

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. 

Press SAUTE on the IP; add smoked salmon, heavy cream, lemon zest, lemon juice, prepared spinach pesto, spinach, Parmesan and stir. Cook until warmed through and spinach wilts down.


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  2. Thanks! How many servings is this?

    1. This feeds roughly 4-6, depending on how small/large you portion out the recipe