Yield: 6 servings

Amazing Instant Pot Creamy "Baked" Ziti

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Additional Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups broth (I use low-sodium chicken broth)
  • 2 cups cream (see note for lightened up substitutions)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced (or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder)
  • 16 ounces uncooked ziti pasta or other tube-shaped pasta
  • 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1/2 to 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh basil, for serving (optional)

Instructions

  1. Lightly spray the bottom and sides of a 6-quart Instant Pot with nonstick cooking spray. Pour in the broth and cream and add the salt, pepper and garlic.
  2. Add the pasta; don't stir, but if it's mounded in the center, arrange into an even layer. Pour the crushed tomatoes evenly over the pasta and sprinkle the oregano and basil over the top. Don't stir.
  3. Secure the lid of the Instant Pot, set the valve to seal, and select "manual" or "pressure cook" and dial up or down to the minutes needed --> take the cooking time on the pasta package directions, cut it in half and subtract two more minutes. So for pasta that cooks to al dente in 12 minutes, the IP cooking time would be 4 minutes (add an extra minute if you like your pasta super soft).
  4. Let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes and then quick release the remaining pressure. Add the Parmesan cheese and stir thoroughly (it's ok if there are some darker, cooked spots on the bottom of the pot/bottom layer of pasta). Serve the ziti immediately with chopped, fresh basil, and additional Parmesan, if desired.

Notes

Optional: adding a pound of ground beef or Italian sausage is fantastic with this recipe! Cook the meat on the saute function with a little salt and pepper, drain the grease, and proceed with the recipe (just make sure when you add the broth to scrape the bottom of the pot really well before adding the other ingredients).

Lighten it Up: If you want to lighten up the cream a bit, I've had great success making this with 1 cup milk + 1 tablespoon cornstarch (whisked together) + 1 cup cream. I haven't tried subbing all the cream for a milk + cornstarch mixture, but you could experiment!

For an Extra Saucy Pasta: add 1/4 to 1/2 cup extra broth, cream or crushed tomatoes. Any variety of tube pasta will work great here! When I can't find ziti, I've used penne or rigatoni. Also, I've subbed in a 15-ounce can diced tomatoes blended with 2 tablespoons tomato paste for the crushed tomatoes with great results.