Jaime has been helping me learn to love my electric pressure cooker. She has the Instant Pot and I have the Bella which, coincidentally, is on sale for $39.99 today if you have Amazon Prime. As Jaime is my BFF and knows the one true way to my heart is to feed me pasta, she helped me perfect this One-Pot Penne Bolognese. It’s amazing, so delicious, so easy to make and so easy to clean up. The kids are already begging for me to make this one again.
1 tbls olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional – will make it spicy)
1 lb ground beef (or sausage)
Salt & pepper
1 lb penne (or other short, extruded pasta, don’t use long skinny ones like spaghetti or angel hair in the instant pot)
1 28 ounce jar pasta sauce
1 28 ounce jar water
Season meat with salt and pepper
Turn instant pot to saute mode. Add olive oil. When shimmering, add onions and garlic. Also add red pepper flakes if using. Stir to coat. Cook until onions are translucent, about 3-5 minutes.
Add seasoned meat. Cook and stir until browned on all sides.
Add pasta. Do not stir. Make sure pasta is not touching the bottom of the pan, but is sitting on top of the meat. Pour jar of sauce on top of pasta.
Fill jar with water and pour around the edges of the pot. Do not stir.
Turn pot to sealing and cook on manual at high pressure for half the time indicated on the box of pasta. So if your penne says to cook for 8 minutes, cook at high pressure for 4 minutes. If it has an odd number, like 11, round down and cook for 5 minutes.
When cook time is up, do a quick release of pressure. Do not allow the pot to sit on the keep warm function or do a natural pressure release as this will overcook the pasta. Pasta should be perfectly al dente. If it is too firm for your tastes, turn on the sauté function and boil for a minute or two until pasta is the texture you desire.