Instant Pot Friendship Casserole—make 2 casseroles at the same time! One for now and one for later (freezer meal), or one for you and one for a friend. With just a handful of ingredients and your Instant Pot you can make this recipe in fewer steps and less time than the traditional way of making it!
Instant Pot Friendship Casserole
I love recipes like this that are 2 for the price of 1. One effort but two results. This is the perfect recipe to make if you are bringing dinner to a friend or if you simply like to have a freezer meal on hand for those busy days (or lazy days) when taking time to prepare dinner isn’t an option.
It’s an easy recipe of ground Italian sausage, ground beef with pasta and sauce. What brings it to a new level (beyond a normal pasta meal) is the dollops of cream cheese, spinach and melty cheese on top. My kids (and one friend who was here for dinner last night) couldn’t get enough of this dish. They didn’t even mind the spinach. My son said something about how the pasta “was profound.” Not sure if he even knows what that word means…
What kind of pasta can I use? I used curly cavatappi noodles. Other choices are penne, bow tie, shells, macaroni or any other short cut pasta.
Why such a short pressure cooking time? Because this is a “doubled” recipe the pot is quite full and will take a long time to come to pressure (and the pasta is cooking the entire time). In order for the pasta not to get overdone I like to use only a 1 or 2 minute pressure cooking time. If you halve this recipe you will probably want to use a 4 or 5 minute pressure cooking time instead.
Can I leave out the sausage and just use 2 pounds of ground beef instead? You can. However you’ll need to add in seasonings to replace the flavor that comes from the sausage. I would add in the following mix…
Italian sausage seasoning mix for 1 pound of ground meat:
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ¾ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon fennel seed
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ teaspoon minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon minced onions
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Make 2 casseroles at the same time! One for now and one for later (freezer meal), or one for you and one for a friend. With just a handful of ingredients and your Instant Pot you can make this recipe in fewer steps and less time than the traditional way of making it!
- 1 pound ground beef or ground turkey
- 1 pound ground Italian sausage
- 3 ¾ cups beef or chicken broth
- 1 (16 oz) package of cavatappi or penne or bow tie pasta
- 2 (24 oz) jars pasta sauce
- 4 cups chopped spinach
- 1 (8 oz) package cream cheese
- 2 cups grated mozzarella
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- Turn Instant Pot to saute setting. When the display says HOT add in the beef and sausage. Break it up and brown for about 5 minutes. Drain off excess grease.
- Add in the broth and scrape the bottom of the pot so that nothing is sticking.
- Sprinkle in the pasta, press to submerge as much as possible.
- Dump both jars of pasta sauce over the top.
- Cover Instant Pot and secure the lid. Make sure valve is set to sealing. Set the manual/pressure cook button to 1 minute for cavatappi and 2 minutes for penne or bow tie. (Yes it will cook in 1 minute if you are making this recipe as stated. The pot will take a while to come to pressure because it is so full.)
- When time is up let the pot sit for 8-10 minutes and then move the valve to venting. Remove the lid. Stir in the spinach.
- Evenly distribute the pasta into two separate 9×13 inch pans.
- Cut the cream cheese into about 30 small pieces. Randomly place 15 of the pieces in one pan and 15 of the pieces in the other pan.
- Sprinkle the mozzarella and parmesan evenly over each pan.
- If eating right away, bake in the oven, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes at 350° F. If saving for later wrap tightly with foil and freeze. When ready to eat, bake from frozen in a 350° F oven for 90 minutes. Keep the foil on until the last 10 minutes.
I used my 6 quart Instant Pot Duo 60 7 in 1*. Make in the 8 quart pot with no changes. Halve in the 3 quart pot and increase pressure cooking time to 4 minutes.
- Category: Pasta
- Method: Instant Pot/Oven
*Karen Petersen is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.