Friends, I’m here to report a new discovery in the field of Instant Pot Double-Decker Dinners. This idea felt ridiculous – but it added up on paper, I couldn’t let it go, and it turned out to be true: we can cook linguine and clams at the same time in the same pressure cooker. It’s an Instant Pot Miracle. ✨
Layer 1 is dry pasta immersed in a buttery white wine sauce. Layer 2 is a basket of fresh clams, steamed over top, at once being flavored by the sauce below and also adding their own briny goods to the mix. After pressure-cooking together for just 4 minutes, we finish with fresh herbs and lemon juice and astonishment that a one-pot meal can seriously look like this.
Since moving to Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, I’ve become enchanted with the locally-farmed clams available in our markets. What a treat – fresh and delicious!
Clams and other bivalve shellfish are exceptionally nutrient-dense because they accumulate minerals and bioactive molecules from the saltwater and phytoplankton in their habitat. Key nutrients include selenium, copper, manganese, zinc, and iron – but most notably, clams are the most concentrated known source of vitamin B12. Fish and shellfish are generally rich in B12 because this vitamin’s microbial synthesizers play a foundational role in the entire marine food chain, but clams take the prize (interestingly, clam microflora has been documented to host multiple strains of vitamin B12-forming bacteria). Based on average values in the USDA food composition database, the serving size of clams in this recipe (1/2 pound, measured raw in shell) supplies about 31.6 micrograms of vitamin B12, which is 1,319% of the RDI! For people who don’t eat much meat or dairy, clams can be a potent food to avoid B12 deficiency.
This is my first recipe featuring pressure-cooker pasta, cooked directly in the sauce. I understand this can be a bit polarizing, but it’s rather convenient and I must admit I’ve been surprisingly satisfied with the results. Most recipes seem to call for selecting a pressure-cook time half the length of the boiling time called for on the pasta box – so any pasta calling for 8 or more minutes should be a good match for the cooking time for average small/medium clams. If longer-cooking pastas are still too firm when the clams come out, Instant Pot can switch to Saute mode. This gives us the opportunity to briefly reduce the sauce and finish the pasta to just the right al dente texture.
My recipe is designed to serve two, but there is plenty of room in a 6-quart pot to scale up the clams or pasta or both to suit your needs. And if you’re not looking to eat pasta, you can leave it out and use the same method for Instant Pot steamed clams. Pair them with whatever strikes your fancy – bonus points for double-deckering!
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[Instant Pot] Double-Decker Linguine + Clams
Nutrition Information (average values, products can vary) for 1 serving: 430 calories, 15 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 40 mg cholesterol, 630 mg sodium, 49 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 2 g sugars, 18 g protein.
In a pressure cooker, heat olive oil (with Instant Pot, press “Saute” and keep the default heat settinthen add the chopped garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook until the garlic is lightly browned and fragrant, then add the wine, broth and salt. Place the linguine into the liquid, loosely arranging the noodles into two perpendicular layers and assuring the pasta is just under the surface of the liquid (another splash of broth can be added if needed). Load the clams into a steamer basket and place them on top of the pasta.
Cover the pressure cooker with the lid, ensuring that the valve is in sealed position. Cook under high pressure for 4 minutes (with Instant Pot, press ‘Manual’ mode, and adjust time to 4 minutes).
When the cooking time is complete, immediately and carefully open the valve to release pressure. Open the lid and set aside the basket of clams. Add the butter, parsley and lemon juice to the pasta and gently stir to combine. If using a longer-cooking pasta that is still too firm, saute over medium heat (with Instant Pot, press “Saute” and keep the default heat settinuntil the noodles are al dente. Toss the pasta and clams together, and serve garnished with extra parsley.