Lasagna. In a pressure cooker. Why?
Many of you know that I’ve been a huge fan of pressure cooking for many years. In fact, I have four Kuhn Rikon stainless steel stove-top pressure cookers in my kitchen, and I use them pretty much daily. But I recently expanded my collection by picking up the Instant Pot 7-in-1 Duo60 (6-quart) electric cooker, on a whim. So this post will be one of several expounding on the virtues of my new toy.
Lasagna in a pressure cooker cuts about 15 minutes off the cooking time, and about 30-50 minutes off the prep time. And the way I did it today shaved even more off, since I didn’t have many of my regular ingredients, and I experimented with some time-saving improvisations.
First, I didn’t have any Ricotta cheese, so I made my own from 5 cups of fresh milk, using the Instant Pot (IP) yogurt function. That took about an hour from start to finish; about five minutes of that was “on hand” — the rest was do-something-else time.
For the actual lasagna:
Noodles: I used Tinkyada gluten-free (GF) rice noodles because they were the only lasagna noodles I had at the moment, it seems. I used the noodles dry from the box, and I have four noodles left in the 10 oz box (I didn’t think to count the noodles in the box before I started); I simply broke them to fit into my pan. You could use any regular lasagna noodles.
Sauce: You could use bottled spaghetti sauce, but I don’t usually buy that, and I didn’t feel like making homemade for this experiment, so I combined 1/2 can petite diced tomatoes, half can of tomato paste, 1/2 can V8, and a bit of water, plus some Italian seasoning and used that. (If you use “jar” sauce, just add a bit of water to it to help cook the dry noodles.)
I greased (lecithin and oil mixture) my 7-inch springform pan. You could use any pan that would fit in your cooker–in fact, I could do a full-size 9-10 inch springform in my KR stovetop cooker, but I digress……
I layered dry noodles, sauce, ricotta/egg/mozzarella mixture, browned ground beef (about 1/4 lb total), then noodles, sauce, cheese, sauce, etc….till my 7-inch springform was filled. I finished with noodles, sauce, and a bit of mozzarella. I loosely tented the pan with foil to protect from condensation drippage.
This all went into the IP on the included rack (trivet) with 1.5 cups water below the pan to provide the steam for pressure cooking. The whole prep time took maybe 8 minutes.
Here’s where the fun comes in. . . .
All I did then was push “manual” (high pressure default) to 22 min, then walked away. At the end of the 22 minutes, the IP beeped to let me know it was finished, turned itself off of “pressure cooker” and went into “keep warm” mode, which basically starts the natural pressure release (NPR) process, and the LED display counts that up for me. My plan was to let it NPR for 15 minutes, then quick-release (QR) any remaining pressure and remove the pan to rest on the counter for ten minutes.
Yeah, like I have that much patience.
It probably would have “set up” better but after the pressure part, I let it NPR 11 min (instead of 15) and then didn’t have the patience to let it sit on the counter for ten more minutes. I popped it out of the springform pan
Yummy. The noodles were done perfectly (note that these were gluten-free noodles, even). Jim asked for seconds and for a container-full for his lunch tomorrow.
Note that this makes about 6 adult servings, so may not be the first choice for a large family, but it was perfect for us. And the prep time was minimal, as was cleanup. Plus, in the summer, this would mean no oven heating the kitchen up.
You’ll be seeing more Instant Pot results from me! Check out the Instant Pot at my Amazon store .
(Affiliate link; I purchased my own Instant Pot myself, but I do receive a benefit from any orders placed through this link.)
1 box lasagna noodles
1 jar spaghetti sauce, plus about half a jar of water (or combine 1/2 can petite diced tomatoes, 1/2 six-oz can tomato paste, 1/2 can V-8 juice, one cup water, and 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning)
1/4 lb ground beef or Italian sausage, browned and crumbled
8 oz ricotta cheese
1 Tbsp parsley + 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded or grated Parmesan cheese
1. Mix the ricotta with one egg and 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese. Stir in 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese, the parsley, and Italian seasoning.
In a greased heatproof container that fits into the IP (such as a 7-inch springform pan), make a layer of dry noodles, breaking them to fit the pan. On top of this, ladle about one cup of sauce, topped with half the meat, half of the cheese mixture. Add another layer of noodles, then sauce, the rest of the meat, the rest of the ricotta mixture. The last layer will be noodles, the remaining sauce, and the rest of the Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
Loosely cover the top with foil to prevent condensation from dripping into the dish. Pour 1 1/2 cups water into the bottom of the Instant Pot’s stainless steel liner in the IP. Put the whole pan onto the IP trivet/rack, with the handles up for ease of removal, and lower into the IP. Close the cover; turn valve to “sealing.”
Select Manual and immediately press “adjust,” then the -/+ key to adjust the temperature down to 22 minutes.
At the end of the 22 minutes, allow the “keep warm” cycle to count up to 15 minutes, then Quick Release any remaining pressure. (I put a towel over the valve to absorb any steam and protect my hand as I turn the knob to “venting.”) Remove the pan to a heat-proof pad and allow it to sit for 10 minutes, then remove springform sides and cut lasagna to serve.