The instant pot is becoming a must-have kitchen appliance food journalnow.com gas yourself

####

• “Dinner in an Instant” by Melissa Clark (Clarkson Potter, $29). That a veteran cookbook author and recipe tester such as Melissa Clark is sold on the Instant Pot says a lot. Clark, who writes a regular column for The New York Times, first reviewed the Instant Pot for the Times in January. She liked it so much she decided to write a whole book about it. “Dinner in an Instant” has 75 recipes that focus on the pressure-cooker function. Recipes include homemade ricotta, lamb tagine with apricots and olives, saffron risotto, chicken and dumplings, bone broth, Italian grandma style green beans, and fresh mint crème brulee.

• “Instant One-Pot Meals” by Laura Arnold (Countryman Press, $21.95). Arnold’s book appears to be the first about the Instant Pot that focuses on Southern food. Recipes include shrimp and grits, pimento macaroni and cheese, peach and berry cobbler, banana bread, corn bread, applesauce, barbecue ribs, Brunswick stew and sweet-potato pie. (For the latter, the crust is baked in the oven, but the pie is baked in the pressure cooker.)

• “How to Instant Pot” by Daniel Shumski (Workman, $16.95). This book includes lots of comprehensive information for first-time users (some of which duplicates or elaborates info from the user manual). The 100 or so recipes are divided by function. Recipes include Thai-spiced beef stew, gorgonzola polenta, black-bean dip, sweet-and-sour meatballs, stuffed bell peppers with sausage and corn, lemon-thyme steamed shrimp, wild rice with golden raisins, blueberry jam, and mango and pomegranate parfaits.

• “The Essential Instant Pot Cookbook” by Coco Morante (Ten Speed Press, $19.95). This is written with the blessing of the makers of the Instant Pot by the woman who runs the Instant Pot Recipes page on Facebook. Morante clearly explains all the features and includes some troubleshooting FAQs. She also includes information on how to convert recipes – important considering how the Instant Pot recipes often vary from older recipes. She also offers lots of handy tips, such as using less liquid compared to standard braises. Recipes includes crustless broccoli and cheddar quiche, minestrone, Thanksgiving turkey breast and gravy, sloppy Joes, maple mashed sweet potatoes, carrot cake with cream-cheese frosting and New York cheesecake.

• “The Art of Great Cooking With Your Instant Pot” by Emily Sunwell-Vidaurri (Page Street Publishing, $20.48). Sunwell-Vidaurri is the author of the Recipes to Nourish blog, which is devoted to healthy, gluten-free recipes, as is this book. She doesn’t spend any time schooling readers in the Instant Pot, but instead focuses on recipes that are nutritious and cost-effective. Recipes include sauerkraut-apple pork roast; French cassoulet; bacon, kale and mushroom spaghetti; dill soup with yogurt; North African spicy peanut-chicken stew; cranberry spiced pears; and sticky toffee pudding.

Pork Shoulder Ragu Makes 8 servings 1 medium white or yellow onion, finely chopped 3 cloves garlic, minced ½ cup dry red wine, such as Syrah or Zinfandel 1 can (28 ounces) whole, peeled tomatoes, drained 2 bay leaves 4 sprigs fresh thyme 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 1 teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 3 pounds bone-in pork shoulder, trimmed of most fat 1 16-ounce box dried short pasta, such as wagon wheels, orecchiette, or rigatoni, cooked, or 4 cups polenta, for serving Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving Finely chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, for garnish (optional)

1. Place the onion, garlic, wine, tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper in the inner pot and stir to combine before adding the pork shoulder. Close and lock the lid. Set the valve to Venting. Attach the condensation collector. Press Slow Cook and use the Slow Cook or Adjust button to select the middle temperature (“Normal”). Use the − or + button to set the time to 9 hours 30 minutes.

2. When the cooking time is finished, remove the lid. The pork will be very tender. Remove it from the inner pot and transfer it to a cutting board. Discard the thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Use a potato masher in the inner pot to break up the chunks of tomato and help discover any pieces of bone remaining in the sauce. Allow the pork to rest until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes.

3. While the pork rests, press Cancel and then press the Sauté or Adjust button to select the highest temperature (“More”). Allow the sauce to cook with the lid off until it thickens and loses about one third of its volume, about 10 minutes, and then press Cancel.

4. Use one fork to pull off a chunk of the pork and then use two forks to shred that piece, holding down the meat with one fork and pulling at it with the other. Repeat with the remaining pork, discarding the fat and bones. Return the meat to the sauce and stir to distribute the meat.

5. Serve hot, spooned over pasta and sprinkled with freshly grated Parmesan. Garnish with fresh parsley, if you like. The ragu will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. (A layer of fat will form atop the sauce. Stir it back into the sauce to enjoy the richness it adds, or scoop it off and discard it before reheating.) To reheat, place the sauce in a pot and warm on the stovetop over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.

Garlicky White Bean Soup With Crispy Pancetta Makes 6 servings 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving 6 ounces pancetta, finely chopped (See Note) 3 small white or yellow onions, finely chopped 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped ¼ teaspoon salt, plus extra as needed ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra as needed ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 4 cups reduced-salt chicken broth 4 cups water 2 cups dried navy beans, rinsed, drained, and picked over to remove debris ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese 2 bay leaves Crusty baguette, for serving

1 Press Sauté and use the Sauté or Adjust button to select the middle temperature (“Normal”). Place the olive oil in the inner pot, wait about 1 minute for it to warm, then add the pancetta. Cook with the lid off, stirring occasionally, until the pancetta is crisp, about 10 minutes.

2 Use a slotted spoon to remove the pancetta from the inner pot, leaving behind the fat. Place the pancetta in a container with a lid and allow it to cool uncovered at room temperature until no longer hot, about 20 minutes. Cover the container and refrigerate until step 6.

3 Add the onions, garlic, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to the fat in the inner pot. Cook with the lid off, stirring occasionally, until the onions soften and start to brown, about 10 minutes. (Press Cancel and stop cooking if the garlic starts to burn.)

5 Add the beans, Parmesan, and bay leaves and stir to combine. Close and lock the lid. Set the valve to Venting. Attach the condensation collector. Press Cancel, then press Slow Cook and use the Slow Cook or Adjust button to select the highest temperature (“More”). Use the − or + button to set the time to 7 hours.

6 When the cooking time is finished, press Cancel and remove the lid. Discard the bay leaves. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt and pepper as needed. Serve hot, garnished with the reserved pancetta and olive oil, accompanied by a sliced baguette. Garlicky White Bean Soup will keep, in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for up to 5 days. To reheat, place the soup in a pot and warm on the stovetop over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.

Note: Pancetta can be a slippery beast. If you’re having trouble slicing it, place it in the freezer for 15 minutes until very cold and then slice. Or, look for pancetta sold prechopped in your supermarket’s refrigerated case. Can’t find pancetta? Don’t worry. Use bacon.