This Instant Pot Creamy Sausage Rigatoni is perfect for a weeknight dinner because it’s so easy to make. The rigatoni combined with the sausage and tomato sauce is a perfect combination and it turns out super creamy.
You might not think about making pasta in the Instant Pot, but let me tell you – it’s really simple and I’ve never had a pasta dish fail in the IP. It’s one of the easiest ways to make this sausage rigatoni to have all of the components cook at the same time in just one pot.
Trust me when I say this will quickly become one of your favorite pastas to make. It uses jarred marinara sauce even, so it’s incredibly easy. All you have to do is dump everything in the pot.
Ingredients You Need
- Olive oil – You can use olive oil or any kind of cooking oil you like. I like olive oil because it adds a nice flavor and it’s good for you.
- Onion – I tend to go light on the onions because they have a higher carb count. You can use as much as you like, or add some green onions instead that have less carbs.
- Bell Pepper – The addition of a bell pepper gives even more crunch and texture to the pasta. You can use whatever color pepper you have on hand.
- Italian sausage – Use a ground Italian sausage, or sometimes Jimmy Dean’s Sage sausage. If you use ground pork, you’ll need to add your own seasonings to flavor the pork, like thyme and sage.
- Garlic – Always use fresh garlic that hasn’t been kept in the refrigerator for too long. This has the best flavor and no bitterness that comes from older garlic.
- Salt & pepper – This is what really brings the flavor out in this dish, so be sure to add the salt and pepper. You might also taste the dish once it’s done cooking and add more to suit your taste.
- Water – The water is what allows the steam to build and cook the pasta. Without enough water, your pasta will be undercooked.
- Rigatoni pasta – Rigatoni is perfect for this pasta. The shape is great and will hold onto the sauce. You can use a different pasta, like penne or ziti.
- Marinara sauce – For this recipe, we keep it super simple for a weeknight meal by using jarred marinara sauce. Use whatever brand you like best.
- Heavy Cream – This will give the sauce a nice creamy texture and a bit of added fat. Avoid milk, which isn’t approved for a keto diet.
- Parmesan cheese – Be sure to use a good quality Parmesan for this dish. I like to shred my own from a block of cheese, but you can use a pre-shredded version. Just don’t use the crumbled kind in the green can.
How to Make Instant Pot Creamy Sausage Rigatoni
Turn on sauté mode on the Instant Pot. Once it’s pre-heated add the olive oil to the pot, then add the onion, bell pepper, and the Italian sausage. Cook and crumble the sausage until it’s cooked through. Drain an excess oil, if necessary. If you’re using a lean sausage, there won’t be any oil to remove.
Add the garlic, salt, and pepper, and cook for 30 seconds, just to make the garlic fragrant. Turn off saute mode. You don’t want to cook the garlic too long in the hot pot, because it will burn quickly and burned garlic is very bitter.
Add the water to the Instant Pot to whisk the bottom of the pot to remove browned bits from the bottom. This will keep the pot from giving the “burn notice” while cooking.
Pour in the uncooked pasta and push the pasta down into the water. Pour the marinara on top of the pasta. Don’t mix it up. Just leave it sitting on top.
Lock the lid and set the vent to sealing. Press the pressure cook or manual button and set the cook time to 8 minutes. It will take about 5-8 minutes for the pressure to build. When the cook time is up, do a quick release of the remaining pressure. Remove the lid.
Add the heavy cream and parmesan cheese to the pot. Stir the pasta and let it rest for 5 minutes for the sauce to thicken. It might seem a bit loose at first, but it will continue to absorb the liquid.
Additional Tips and Adjustments
- Use fresh Parmesan cheese, if at all possible. It’s best when it’s freshly grated off the block. I have used shredded Parmesan from a bag before and it’s okay, but it can clump up and not integrate well, so you have to be sure the brand you use doesn’t do that. If you do get clumps of cheese, this is why.
- You can make this pasta with your own marinara, if you want. We have a great recipe to make your own homemade marinara.
- If you want additional tomato flavor, you can add two cans of chopped tomatoes rather than the marinara, which will give it a chunkier consistency.
Frequently Asked Question
Can I use a different type of pasta?
Rigatoni is the perfect pasta to use for this recipe, because it has deep spiral grooves that hold onto the sauce well. Other similar pastas can be used as well, like ziti, penne, or even bowtie pasta.
The type of pasta that doesn’t do particularly well in this recipe is spaghetti or fettuccini – long strand pasta doesn’t hold the sauce or showcase the textures as well.
Can I make this pasta on the stove top instead?
Yes, you can make this pasta on the stove instead of in the Instant Pot. We use the IP because it’s a great way to cook all the components at the same time in one pot. However, you can brown the sausage in a pan, then add it to the pot with the pasta and the marinara sauce.
Boil the pasta in another pot, then drain it. Now you can combine the sausage and marinara in with the pasta, add the heavy cream and Parmesan and simmer until thickened.
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Instant Pot Creamy Sausage Rigatoni
Note: Made in a 6-qt Instant Pot
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion chopped
- 1 medium bell pepper chopped
- 1 pound Italian sausage
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3 cups water
- 1 pound rigatoni pasta
- 24 ounce jar marinara sauce
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
- Turn on sauté mode on the Instant Pot. When hot add olive oil to the pot, then add onion, bell pepper, and Italian sausage and cook – crumbling the sausage – until it’s cooked through. Drain excess oil, if necessary.
- Add garlic, salt, and pepper, and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant. Turn off sauté mode.
- Add water to the Instant Pot to whisk to remove browned bits from the bottom. Pour in the uncooked pasta and push the pasta down into the water. Pour the marinara sauce over the top. Do not mix.
- Lock the lid and set the vent to sealing. Press the pressure cook or manual button and set the cook time to 8 minutes. It will take about 5-8 minutes for the pressure to build. When the cook time is up, do a quick release of the pressure. Remove the lid. Add the heavy cream and parmesan cheese to the pot. Stir the pasta and let rest for 5 minutes for the sauce to thicken. Garnish and serve.
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Laura is a passionate home cook and the owner of A Pressure Cooker Kitchen. She is dedicated to helping people create delicious Instant Pot meals with ease. Laura is an expert at developing recipes that can be prepared quickly and easily using a pressure cooker.