Thursday, April 5, 2018

Instant Pot Baked Ziti

Makes 8 1-cup servings

This is a tried and true recipe that I have since adapted to the Instapot. I have two phases in my cooking-life; BIP and AIP....Before Instapot and After Instapot lol. But, seriously, WHAT did we used to eat before I had an Instapot???

I am not the best photographer and, granted, this is basically
 just pasta. But it's delicious and I dumped stuff in a pot
 and walked away so it's almost like I didn't have to cook. 

  • 10 oz package sausage (I like Dietz&Watson brand bc they are precooked and nitrate and nitrite free but whatever floats your boat. We have used every kind from Chicken Apple to Italian Style.)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp dried basil
  • 28oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 12oz package whole wheat pasta (it's called "Baked Ziti" but I can confidently say I have NEVER actually used Ziti. We always do Rotini.)
  • 4 big handfuls of spinach (Buy bags of fresh spinach and shove them in the freezer. When they are frozen they crumble like a dream and you can add them to anything. Plus it doesn't freeze in one big block so you can just sprinkle it or scoop it out.)
After Cooking-
  • 2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 4 oz cream cheese (1/2 a brick)
1. Put the Instapot on sauté, throw the sausage in, and let it brown a little, stirring occasionally. (Obviously if your sausages are not precooked, wait until they are almost cooked through for this step.)

2. Once the sausage is a bit brown, push the Keep Warm/Cancel button to turn off sauté and dump the pasta and the 3 cups water into the pot. Add the 1/2 tsp salt and 1 Tbsp basil and stir.

3. Dump the 28oz can of tomatoes on top. The pasta should be almost completely submerged so add a little extra water if needed. Throw the 4 handfuls of spinach on top. (Try not to stir bc the Instapot doesn't really like tomato stuff touching the bottom. Sometimes it scorches and then the pot won't come to pressure nicely.)

3. Make sure that the sealing ring is firmly in the lid of the pot, put the lid on and seal it, turn the knob on the top towards the back to "sealing", and push the Manual button. Pasta cooks in the Instapot for half the time it is supposed to cook on the stove. My brand of pasta calls for 10 minutes cook time for al dente so I set my Manual time for 5 minutes (push Manual and use the + and - buttons to adjust the time). 

4. At first the pot will just say "On" but, once it has come to pressure, it will start counting back the time (in my case it will be counting backwards from 5 to 1.) Once it is done cooking, it will beep and you will see an L and the time counting back up on the display. Do a Quick Release. (for the newbies, VERY carefully WITHOUT your face or body over the top of the pot, turn the little knob on top counter-clockwise towards the front and a rush of steam will come out the top. Once the pressure is released, the little silver knob to the right of the black knob will go down and you will be able to take the lid off.)

5. Remove the lid and stir in the 2 Tbsp Parmesan, 1 cup mozzarella, and 4oz of cream cheese. Serve and enjoy :)

Even though this is called Baked Ziti, I guess technically it is no longer "baked". If you wanted to bake it, you could stir in the parmesan and cream cheese and then dump it into a 9x13 baking dish, sprinkle the mozzarella on top, and bake it at 475 for 10 or 15 mins until the cheese is golden brown and crispy.

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