While pasta has always been a quick fix dinner, it becomes even more hands-free when you cook noodles and sauce in the electric pressure cooker. Add this Cheesy Sausage Pasta in the Instant Pot to your weekly rotation for a simple dinner on the regular.
You know that electric pressure cooker you’ve got sitting in a box or gathering dust on a shelf? Well, let this be the month that you bust it out and make it earn its keep.
I know that ye olde Insta’Pot can be perplexing. Though I’ve owned one since long before they were cool, it’s taken me awhile to gain confidence using it. But, I am here to say that it does a fantastic job cooking rice, beans, eggs, and chicken. Even if those were the only things you cooked in your pressure cooker, you’d be winning in the kitchen and saving time.
But the pressure cooker can do so much more! Did you know you can cook pasta in the instant pot?True story.
Pasta in the Instant Pot
Last fall I started playing around with cooking pasta in the instant pot. While there was some trial and error as concerns burned sauce and overcooked noodles, I landed on a go-to, Cheesy Sausage Pasta in the Instant Pot that makes for easy dinners and simple meal prep.
How do you cook pasta in the instant pot?
For decades we were told that you needed to cook pasta in an abundant amount of salted, boiling water. But then a few years ago, I heard reputable sources talking about one-pot pasta and/or cooking pasta in very little water. Turns out the starch isn’t all that bad for the dish after all.
Cooking pasta in the instant pot is similar to a one-pot pasta dish, only done in the instant pot. You need to make sure the sauce is thin enough to come to a boil, else it will burn on the bottom of the pot. Otherwise, it’s pretty simple and straightforward.
How long do you cook pasta in a pressure cooker?
Cheesy Sausage Pasta in the Instant Pot
This Cheesy Sausage Pasta in the Instant Pot is similar to lasagna in a bowl. The sausage and spices blend well into the sauce. The pasta absorbs all those flavors as it cooks. The addition of both mozzarella and parmesan gives it a creamy texture that is just out of this world.
For dairy-free eaters or kids who don’t like cheese, just omit the cheese or scoop out a few portions for them before adding the cheese.
For folks who like it spicy: You can increase the spice by using hot Italian sausage or using more red pepper flakes.
To make this meatless: simply omit the sausage and add a bit of olive oil to the pot before sautéing the onion.
To have more veggies: Feel free to add more chopped spinach or swap in chopped kale. I’ve done it both ways and it’s delicious. You can also add chopped carrot and celery when you add the onions.
Feel free to substitute 3 cups homemade Marinara Sauce if you don’t want to use bottled sauce. I usually buy a few jars on super sales to keep on hand for quick dinners.
How to make Cheesy Sausage Pasta in the Instant Pot
This dish is super simple to prepare, making it ideal for a weekly feature in your meal plan!
- Lay out your ingredients. Chop the onion and spinach. Shred the cheese. Measure out the spices.
- In the pressure cooker insert, place the sausage and onion. Cook on the sauté function until cooked through. Add the pasta sauce and spices.
- Stir in the pasta. Add enough water to cover the pasta, about 3 cups water.
- Secure the lid and set the machine to manual. Set the minutes according to 1/2 the recommended cooking time plus 1 minute.
- When the cycle is complete, do an instant pressure release. The pasta will look very soupy, but after a few stirs, it will start to thicken up.
- Stir in the spinach, stirring well to combine. Then stir in the cheese. Serve immediately.
- Refrigerate leftovers promptly and use within 4 days.
How I make this cheap:
Here are some of the strategies I use to make this recipe more economical:
- Do a price comparison. I know that Costco is the best place to buy ingredients in bulk, like mozzarella cheese, and tomato products when there isn’t a great sale elsewhere. ALDI is good for pretty much everything else. I keep track of prices so that I know who has the best deal where.
- Stock up on ingredients when they are on sale. For instance, when I see a great price on sausage, I buy a lot and freeze it. Same with pasta.
Tools I use to make this recipe easy:
Having the right kitchen tools can really make your time in the kitchen more enjoyable. Over time, I’ve honed my collection so that they are perfect for my needs. Here are the tools that I like to use in this recipe.
- electric pressure cooker – This is the model I have.
- box grater for cheese – if you don’t buy the cheese already shredded, a box grater is a handy tool to have on hand. We’ve had this commercial model for almost 25 years!