One of the easiest meals to make in a pressure cooker is spaghetti. Throw your pasta, sauce, water, and ground beef (optional) into the pot. Set the cook time for 10 minutes. Come back when the pot beckons. Dinner is served.
(Side bar: The singular of spaghetti is spaghetto. One strand is a piece of spaghetto. I tell you this only because I’m addicted to languages as well.)
This is a super quick meal for after work, or when you need a meal in a hurry. Here’s a recipe for 10 Minute Instant Pot Spaghetti. There are many variations on this theme. Cook for fewer than 10 minutes, or more than 10 minutes. Add more water or less water. More sauce or less sauce. After you make it one time you’ll know your preferred amounts.
If the recipe doesn’t turn out perfectly the first time you make it, it isn’t considered a ‘fail’. There’s a learning curve for all recipes. Even the ones you make using the stove. Make a few adjustments and the next time it will be better. It may even be perfect.
I have made pasta according to the recipe and it turned out fine. One of the cautions in all of the pressure cooker spaghetti recipes I see is not to stir the ingredients together in the pot. Guess what. I stir. No adverse effects. What you do want to avoid is pure sauce being at the bottom of the pot. When the sauce is directly on top of the heating element it runs the risk of scorching or burning. However, once you mix it with the water and the pasta, this eliminates the problem. But if you want to be 100% safe, don’t do what I do. If the sauce burns somebody is bound to have a melt down and I don’t care to be responsible for that.
When it comes to recipes I can never leave well-enough alone. I am my Mother‘s daughter. I’m always tweaking. Always looking for ways to make a recipe more to my liking. Instant Pot Pasta is no exception. I like to control the firmness of the pasta (I prefer super soft) and I want to have a thick, rich sauce. Here’s what I do to ensure that I get both.
First, I prepare my ground beef. I stumbled on a method that takes it directly from frozen to cooked with almost no effort on my part. Put a cup of water in the pot. Put a pound of frozen ground beef on a trivet in your pot. The ground beef maintains its shape during cooking so don’t worry about it falling through the trivet. The grease also drips into the water so there’s no draining grease after cooking. Set the cook time for 25 minutes. I do NPR. You can do QR if you want. Put the cooked ground beef on a plate and break it up with forks, or whatever, to crumble it. I use a [affiliate link] ground beef chopper. Set it aside or refrigerate it depending on how soon you’re going to use it.
If you follow me, you already know that I hate to boil water. I cook my pasta (any shape other than the tiny ones such as orzo or stelline) in the Instant Pot. Whether I’m using a half a box or a whole box of dried pasta, I cover it with enough water to go one inch over the pasta. I will have to drain this after the cook time is over but I don’t care. I’m not boiling it on the stove so I’m as happy as a clam. Manual for 15 minutes. NPR. This will be way too soft for most people. Use whatever time you want to get the pasta the way you like it. Drain.
Return the hot pasta to the hot pot. Add the ground beef, an 8 oz. can of mushroom pieces, rinsed and drained, and at least 24 ounces of the jarred sauce of your choice. Stir to blend. If you want more sauce, add more sauce. With the Instant Pot set on Warm, allow all the ingredients to heat up together. Serve when it’s as hot as you want it.
This is slightly more time consuming than the flat-out one pot method but it works for me. I’m perfectly content with the amount of time I don’t have to spend fiddling and fooling over the stove. Draining the pasta isn’t a hardship and my sauce has no water in it. I like that option.
Pasta absorbs sauce the longer it sits so you’ll always want to have extra sauce on hand for leftovers. If you prefer to thaw your ground beef and brown it on the stove, you should absolutely do what you like best. Keep in mind that while the pot is doing its thing, I’m doing mine. Convenience is the lure of pressure cooking for me.
Instant Pot Pasta falls in to my favorite category; Stupid Easy. You can allow the pot to do all the cooking, or you can use my modified version. Add some grated Parmesan and you’re ready to roll. If you have a hunk of fresh Parmesan, lucky you! If all you have is the stuff in the jar with the green lid, use it. Nobody is judging.
For those of you who haven’t taken the plunge into pressure cooking yet, check out the [affiliate link] Instant Pot. There’s a good reason that it’s the #1 selling item on Amazon Prime Day for two years running.