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Back in the spring, Little Brother #1 introduced me to the Instant Pot. Bastard. I mean, I love him. I ordered my Instant Pot and started looking up recipes. I was sold!
For those of you who got the great deal on Amazon Day or Black Friday or Cyber Monday – good on you! You won’t regret this purchase.
I’ve said this before – as soon as 5:00PM comes around, my stress level triples. I pick up Toddler Spawn and the countdown begins. I am in Crazy mode – getting her settled at home, snack, recapping with her and dealing with the perpetual question “What should I cook for dinner tonight?” F MY LIFE.
Even when I’ve kind of meal planned and thought about it earlier in the day (or even the week!), I’m STILL scrambling by 5:30PM. It gives me anxiety every day. But now I’ve got something that helps with meal time.
Say hello to my best friend.
One of the first real meals I cooked in the Instant Pot has become an almost-weekly go-to dish. I adjusted this recipe to fit our small family of three. It still yields us at least two full dinners – or one full dinner for three and two servings of leftover lunch.
Penne Bolognese with my Bestie, the Instant Pot
This recipe serves 4 adults with decent-sized bowls. I can make this last for at least two meals for the three of us.
- 1/2 bag of penne (we are talking about your usual 1-lb bag – so just throw in half)
- 1/2-lb of ground meat – I’ve used beef and turkey; I prefer beef
- 1-tablespoon coconut oil (or olive oil)
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced – I use this mini food processor
- 1 can of stewed tomatoes
- 1/2 to 2/3 jar of spaghetti sauce
- 1-2 tablespoons of tomato paste
- optional – a couple of handfuls of spinach, chopped – just to get some green in there
First up, turn the Instant Pot on and set it to Saute.
Throw your coconut oil in there and let it melt. Then you’ll dump the ground meat into the pot and start separating it. I use a wooden spoon. Don’t let it sit there because it’ll just cook up in a big clump. Keep watch and keep separating while it cooks.
Then throw in your minced garlic. (You can also wait and put it in the sauce. I don’t think it matters.)
Next step: I’ve done this before and after cooking the meat. You can either dump the chopped spinach in the pot with the meat or wait and mix it up in the sauce.
Next up, dump half a jar of spaghetti sauce, squeeze your tomato paste and your can of stewed tomatoes. Mix it up.
Add about a cup of water in the pot. You do not need more water.
Mix it all up up, get the pasta coated with the sauce.
Put the lid on. Make sure the valve is turned to close.
Set the Instant Pot for 12 minutes – high pressure. You could set it for half the time it takes to cook the pasta the old school way. I’ve set it for 9 minutes and it comes out al dente, my preference, but I make the pasta a little softer for Toddler Spawn. So 12 minutes, it is.
Once it beeps done, let it sit for 10 minutes natural release. If you see excess liquid, don’t worry. Let it sit with the lid open. Stir it and let it for a couple minutes.
Let it cool before you dig in! It’s going to be hot. Let that be my warning to you.
Please let me know how your pasta turned out!
- My favorite penne pasta to use is from Trader Joe’s. I bought the giant 9-pack of organic pasta from Costco and it is too soft. (Decrease the cook time for the Costco pasta.)
- I’ve also throw in a chopped sweet onion for more flavor and to trick Toddler Spawn into eating more veggies.
- I’ve used marinara sauce and spaghetti sauce. I prefer spaghetti sauce for its sweetness.
- Ground turkey is a great alternative to beef. I haven’t tried ground chicken or sausage but that’s my next attempt.
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