Do you ever notice how things can happen incredibly slowly, and then suddenly all at once?
In a little less than five weeks, we will be upending our lives for a month, loading a bunch of stuff into a campervan and taking an epic road trip from Jersey City to Santa Monica via Route 66.
We’ve been planning this adventure since last November, and like many ambitious plans, it didn’t seem *real* for a long time.
First, there were vague outlines, knowing the basic route and the highlights—Cadillac Ranch! Petrified Forest! Santa Fe! Joshua Tree!—but not exactly how we’d pull it all together.
Then, like a sculpture being chiseled out of rock shard by shard, the trip took shape almost imperceptibly. State by state, town by town, week by week, we pieced it all together.
Now, all of a sudden, it is heart-palpitatingly real.
The daily itinerary is set. Our guest room looks like a mini basecamp, I’m down to my final work deadlines, and I’m trying not to freak out about how much I’m going to worry about the cats (despite a crack team of housesitters).
Once we’re finally on the road, time will expand and compress in its own way.
Some days will stretch out, hours as empty and vast as the scenery we’ll be soaking up across the Texas panhandle and the high desert of New Mexico.
And then by November 21, when we’re finally settling in at Joshua Tree for the final leg of our trip, we’ll wonder how it all went by so quickly.
This Instant Pot chicken pasta isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it meal. It goes back and forth between requiring your attention and letting you ignore its presence. Aggressive, then passive, then aggressive again.
The bacon cooks slowly in the pot, incrementally rendering its fat into liquid, and then all of a sudden it’s sputtering and crispy.
The chicken and vegetables simmer away under pressure, magically falling into tenderness while you tend to other things (like a master packing list for the campervan, wondering how you’re going to fly all this stuff back across the country once you return the van in LA).
Then the linguine shows up, demanding to be stirred as it absorbs the broth and winds its way around the pulled chicken.
But the reward is that you get to sit down with a bowl of saucy noodles studded with peas and sprinkled lavishly with crispy bacon and feathery Parmesan.
Instant Pot chicken pasta isn’t something I’ll be able to make for myself in the campervan (no, I’m not bringing any appliances), but it’s a meal I’ll be grateful to have in my back pocket when I get back home in December.
And who knows? Maybe one day, when we’re living that RV life, I’ll be able to make it on the road anyway.
- 4 slices bacon, diced
- 1 large leek, rinsed and thinly sliced
- 1 yellow onion, finely diced
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon Diamond brand kosher salt
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 3/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 12 ounces linguine
- 1 cup frozen peas
- Zest of 1 small lemon
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
- Set the Instant Pot to Sauté - Normal.
- Add the bacon and cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes until it renders its fat and the bacon is crispy.
- Carefully transfer the bacon bits to a small bowl, reserving the fat in the Instant Pot.
- Add the leek, onion, and garlic to the Instant Pot.
- Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes until the vegetables are starting to soften.
- Add the pepper, salt, broth, and chicken thighs.
- Set the Instant Pot to High Pressure for 30 minutes.
- Once the cook cycle has finished, quick-release the pressure.
- Set the Instant Pot to Sauté - Normal and bring the liquid back up to a boil.
- Add the linguine and stir into the sauce, breaking up the chicken into shreds as the pasta softens and is submerged in the broth.
- Continue to cook, stirring to submerge the linguine, until the pasta is just shy of al dente.
- Stir in the peas and lemon zest.
- Cook for 1-2 minutes more until the peas are cooked through.
- Divide between 6 bowls and sprinkle the reserved bacon bits and grated Parmesan on each.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 391 Total Fat: 14g Saturated Fat: 4g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 9g Cholesterol: 171mg Sodium: 885mg Carbohydrates: 27g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 3g Sugar: 3g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 41g