If the sales of Instant Pot cookbooks are an indicator, we’re still deep in the pressure cooker craze. In fact, most of us who own a pressure cooker know that in order to make the most of your machine, you actually need some solid recipes with detailed instructions, or you’re going to feel a bit lost with all of those buttons. It’s a super-smart kitchen tool, but it’s not the most intuitive machine.
I set out to play around with my pressure cooker, which has been hanging out on a bottom shelf since I bought it, save for a few occasions. Determined to make a go of this – so many people love this machine, I want in on the Insta joy – I got into my head that I wanted wanted to make some sort of baked pasta dish that I would unmold and have stand proudly on its own. Think like a freeform lasagna of sorts. I went so far as to buy a springform pan that fits neatly into the pot. But if you don’t have a springform pan, you can use a regular round pan; just make sure it’s the right size to fit comfortably in the pot.
And then, in trying to figure out how to lower and lift my pasta creation in and out of the pressure cooker, I came across a slew of online directions for crafting a sling out of aluminum foil for the purpose of ferrying a pan in and out of the device. Which seemed like a possible disaster waiting to happen, not to mention kind of a pain.
But those smarty smart smarts at OXO were one step ahead, and they sent me their latest kitchen stroke of genius, the Pressure Cooker Silicone Sling. This little silicone innovation was designed exactly for the purpose of lifting and lowering things safely and easily in and out of the pressure cooker. Plus it’s soft and bendy so doesn’t take up any real storage space – in fact, it can be folded right into the pot for storage. And as I’m getting cozy with my pressure cooker, I’m realizing how handy and necessary this sling really is.
This dish really is just a terrific classic baked pasta, but with a few extra things going for it. 1) No oven, no preheating, so nice when you don’t want to heat up the kitchen. 2) Fast – they don’t call it the Instant Pot for nothing. 3) A nice level of show-offy-ness, because when you unmold it, it just looks super cool. I’ve made it a few times now, and it’s impressive. If I feel a little more OCD next time, I might line up the noodles in a linear way, so that the slices have a cool pattern when you cut them. Or that might never happen. Only time will tell.
Add a cup of diced sautéed zucchini or summer squash if you like. You can make the Bolognese sauce with ground turkey, ground beef, ground pork or a combination of any of these. Make sure to make extra Bolognese sauce so you can freeze it in pint containers for future pasta dinners, or future Instant Pot Ziti “lasagnas”. If you prefer to use another type of meat sauce, or even a plain pasta sauce, you can change this up however you like.
So fun right? And with my little OXO sling helper it went in and out of the pot like a champ, no tilting, or spilling, or getting burned, which is a specialty of mine. Make sure to let the casserole sit after you take it out of the pot for at least 20 minutes, so it holds it shape when you unmold it.
Also, fun fact – the beloved Frankies restaurants in NYC only serve their lasagna at room temperature because they feel it tastes better that way. Which has fully given me the confidence to do the same, and validates the needed resting period here.
For the complete recipe, head to The Mom 100.