Instant Pot Rita’s Casserole–a delicious way to eat spinach! Ground beef, pasta, marinara sauce, spinach and mozzarella cheese are combined to make a quick and easy dinner.
Instant Pot Rita’s Casserole
Today’s recipe is an Instant Pot take on a casserole recipe I found on All Recipes. The Instant Pot is a wonderful tool to cook pasta dishes. You never have pasta water boil over in the Instant Pot!
This is a tasty pasta dish that comes together very quickly. It has a creamy element thanks to the sour cream. It also has a pop of green from the spinach. I used fresh spinach but you can also use frozen spinach…no thawing necessary.
For our family of 4 this makes enough for 2 meals. I like to eat half now and then freeze half for later. When I go to Sam’s Club or Costco I like to buy the foil pans. Then I spread half of the mixture into the foil pan and cover tightly with foil and freeze. Then when you are ready to eat it you can cook it similar to how you cook frozen lasagna. Alternately, you can share a pan with a friend!
- Lean ground beef–or ground turkey. Another choice is to use ground Italian sausage and leave out the salt and pepper.
- Kosher salt
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Beef broth–or water and Better than Bouillon
- Bowtie pasta–or penne, rotini or elbow macaroni
- Italian seasoning
- Pasta sauce–I used Bertolli brand
- Spinach–I used fresh spinach but you can also use 10 ounces of frozen spinach
- Sour cream
- Balsamic vinegar–optional but it gives it a little acidity
- Brown meat: Turn Instant Pot to sauté setting. When display says HOT add in the ground beef and break it up. Brown for about 5 minutes. Drain off excess grease.
- Season: Stir in the salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder to season the meat.
- Deglaze: Pour in the broth and scrape the bottom of the pot so that nothing is sticking.
- Layer ingredients: Pour in the pasta. Dump sauce on top of pasta. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning. Add spinach on top. Don’t stir. This helps to prevent the burn error message.
- Pressure cook: Cover Instant Pot and secure the lid. Make sure valve is set to sealing. Set the manual/pressure cook button to 4 minutes. When time is up let pot sit for 5-10 minutes and then move valve to venting. Remove the lid.
- Temper sour cream: Stir well. Add sour cream to a small bowl and stir in a cup of the hot pasta. Add the sour cream mixture into the Instant Pot. Stir well. Add in balsamic, if desired.
- Serve: Sprinkle with mozzarella and let melt. Serve and enjoy.
- Serve with a side of garlic bread and a green salad.
- If you’re serving fewer people this is a good recipe to make half for now and freeze the other half for later. Spread half of the cooked mixture in a foil pan and cover tightly with foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to eat you can cook straight from frozen. Bake at 350 for 90-120 minutes with the foil on top. Remove foil and bake for 10-15 minutes longer.
- I used my 6 quart Instant Pot*. You can also make this in a 8 quart pot. Halve the recipe in the 3 quart pot.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container* in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- Other recipes you can make with spinach are Instant Pot Spinach And Ravioli Lasagna and Instant Pot Creamy Tortellini, Spinach And Chicken Soup.
More Instant Pot Pasta Recipes…
- Instant Pot Amish Casserole
- Instant Pot Monterey Spaghetti
- Merica Casserole (Instant Pot Recipe)
- Vacation Preparation Casserole
- Instant Pot 5-Ingredient Meatball Casserole
Did you know you can filter the recipes on my website to search by meat type, IP or Crockpot, low carb, gluten free, etc.? Use the filter to find exactly what you are looking for.
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Instant Pot Rita’s Casserole
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 5 minutes (plus 5 minute NPR)
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 8 servings 1x
A delicious way to eat spinach! Ground beef, pasta, marinara sauce, spinach and mozzarella cheese are combined to make a quick and easy dinner.
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 4 cups beef broth
- 1 (16 oz) package bowtie pasta
- 1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1 (24 oz) jar pasta sauce
- 4–5 cups spinach
- 1 cup sour cream
- Dash of balsamic vinegar (optional)
- 1 cup mozzarella
- Turn Instant Pot to sauté setting. When display says HOT add in the ground beef and break it up. Brown for about 5 minutes. Drain off excess grease.
- Stir in the salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder to season the meat.
- Pour in the broth and scrape the bottom of the pot so that nothing is sticking.
- Pour in the pasta. Dump sauce on top of pasta. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning. Add spinach on top. Don’t stir.
- Cover Instant Pot and secure the lid. Make sure valve is set to sealing. Set the manual/pressure cook button to 4 minutes. When time is up let pot sit for 5-10 minutes and then move valve to venting. Remove the lid.
- Stir well. Add sour cream to a small bowl and stir in a cup of the hot pasta. Add the sour cream mixture into the Instant Pot. Stir well. Add in balsamic, if desired.
- Sprinkle with mozzarella and let melt. Serve and enjoy.
- Category: Beef
- Method: Instant Pot
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Karen, thank you for this recipe. I have some similar ones that use cheese or cream, but the use of sour cream was intriguing and i liked the addition of the spinach. The outcome was excellent, better than i imagined. This recipe is a keeper and definitely going into my IP rotation.
Yay! So glad to hear you enjoyed it Jerry!
I made Rita’s Casserole tonight and it was delicious. I used 1 & 1/2 pounds extra lean ground beef and beef stock because that’s what I had on hand. I also used a 40 oz. jar of Rao’s marinara sauce. I’m glad I added the extra sauce, otherwise it may have been on the dry side. I followed the rest of the recipe accordingly. Dinner was served within 30 minutes, it doesn’t get much easier than that. There was enough leftover for another dinner which means I don’t have to cook. Thank you for posting this recipe.
Nice! I love a two for one! Thanks for the 5 stars Maryann!
Jeff Winett says
Well here I go again…another meal to rave about! First off, thank you “Rita”, and of course Karen, who turned Rita’s recipe into an Instant Pot creation. 1 experiment, and 1 discovery from last night’s dinner. I did half of the recipe in my 3 quart I.P., and my experiment was using 6 oz. Bow Tie pasta instead of 8 oz. The discovery part was significant. Early in the day I had browned/strained the beef. I used 85/15%. I love making easy recipes even easier, so I poured the broth over the seasoned meat, keeping in the fridge until dinner. My discovery was that when I took the pot out of the fridge just before cooking, I noted that there was still a large amount of fat that had risen to the top. It was SO easy to use a small little strainer spoon to remove this hardened fat before proceeding. I figured I was adding sour cream, so what could it hurt to remove all of the beef fat. Anyway, as is my new thing, after the 4 minute cook, I ended up eating dinner an hour later, as I kept the cooker on natural release with the keep warm setting engaged. Maybe because the resting on warm was so long, I found that the 6 oz. amount of pasta was perfect. It absorbed the sauce, and was so tender without being mushy. We sure toasted to Karen last night!
Sounds like another win! I love the idea of spooning off the fat. Thanks for the review Jeff!