Here is a simple one pot spaghetti recipe that will help you make your week nights a little bit easier. After a long day at work, the last thing you want to do is boil a pot of water, add the spaghetti, wait for it to boil over, clean up the mess, warm up the jarred pasta sauce, drain the pasta, and then realize..
Your ground beef is frozen.
Pressure Cooker to the rescue!
I had heard many stories of clumpy spaghetti, burned on pasta and sauce in the pot, the pot not coming to pressure and the pasta dish tasting, well... bland.
I had success with my Homestyle Mac N Cheese recipe, and thought, "Why not make a meat and tomato based recipe?" So, learning from others and using my Mac N Cheese recipe, plus my cooking experience, I came up with this method. You can use any jarred sauce and the little bit of work to brown the meat and season your dish will be worth the extra effort. I promise!
Since this was the very first time making this recipe, I didn't want to screw up a whole pound of ground beef, an entire bottle of pasta sauce, you catch my drift.
Halving a recipe is my way of testing it out to make sure it will work. If you are single or an empty nester, this method and recipe will work for you. You can halve just about any recipe for the pressure cooker as long as you keep the minimum amount of liquid necessary for your size of pressure cooker. The cooking times will remain the same.
This took me 20 min from start to finish, so you can have this ready and on the table in under 30 minutes!
Ok. Time's a wastin'! Let's go!
**Caution** This is NOT a dump recipe. Carefully measure your ingredients so you will have the most success! The post here is also HALF the recipe. The full printable recipe link is at the bottom of the post.**
I cut a one pound block of lean ground beef in half, so here's 8 oz of frozen solid ground beef, sitting on a trivet over 1/2 cup of water.
Close the lid, lock it, put the valve on sealing.
Select High Pressure (Manual) for 5 minutes.
At the end of 5 minutes, use a Quick release of pressure.
This thawed out the ground beef enough that I could break it up easily.
Next, you will want to BROWN your ground beef. Doing this will give your pasta dish extra flavor. You do not want the taste of "boiled" meat in your pasta.
Select SAUTE and ADJUST till you see MORE.
If your ground beef is super lean** (like mine was) add a tablespoon of oil to the bottom of the pan.
**If you are using a fattier ground beef, cook your beef first and brown it. Remove it and put it in a strainer over a bowl, pressing the meat to remove as much of the drippings as possible.
Return the meat to the pot and add 1 Tablespoon of the drippings back in.
This is the time to add diced onion, chopped garlic and any spices you want. We are not an onion/chunky type eating family, so I opted for onion powder and Italian seasoning.
Adding your dry spices with the oils in the pan will boost their flavors. Red pepper flakes, anyone?
Now you may be asking WHY add spices? Well, your tomato pasta sauce may taste great, but can get watered down during the cooking process and absorbed by the pasta. Browning your ground beef and adding some extra seasonings like basil, oregano, and garlic will boost the flavors and keep it from tasting "meh."
Now you've got all these crusty bits stuck on the bottom of your pan. There's a fancy schmancy word for it (deglazing the fond) but I'll just call it "removing the crusty bits." They are FULL of flavor.
Take your pot out of the cooker and throw in exactly 1 cup of water.
Use a flat spatula to scrape off the brown bits. Keep those bits....don't toss 'em out!
Next, you will want to use the right amount of pasta. Since I'm halving the recipe, I will need 4 ounces of pasta. Lucky for me, I have a digital scale, but if you need to eyeball it, here's what 4 ounces of spaghetti look like.
Break the spaghetti in half and toss it into the crusty brown bit water.
Give it a quick stir. I can see little dots of oil on top of the water.
That is good. The oil, plus stirring, will help keep your pasta from sticking or clumping together.
Next, dump your cooked meat in the center of the pot.
DO NOT STIR!
Pour 1 cup of your favorite pasta sauce on top. Pour it in the very CENTER of the pot. You want the liquid water in the bottom to be able to steam and bring your pot to pressure.
DO NOT STIR! (I apologize for yelling.....)
Close the lid, put the valve on sealing, and set the pressure to HIGH (Manual) for 4 minutes.
That's it. You're done.
Put your feet up and relax. Get the kids to set the table.
For some of you, this may be the hardest part.
Why? Because you can't see it cooking. Pressure cooking is a lot like baking.
Put everything together, throw it in the oven.
Will it burn on the bottom?
Will the pasta clump together?
Will the sauce be watery?
Will it taste bland?
At the end of the 4 minutes, do a Quick release of pressure.
Open the lid....
Tomato sauce is one of the big enemies of pressure cooking. Why? Because sauce that is thick or has flour, cornstarch, or most grains get uber hot at the bottom of the pot and start to burn.
When food starts to burn, the pressure cooker safety features kick in and your pressure cooker may say "OverHeat," start counting down, or simply shut off.
Even with the pasta on the bottom, there was enough water to protect it from sticking.
Swirl it around in the pot and you will see it begin to thicken. The pasta has absorbed all the flavors of the browned meat, bloomed spices, and sauce. It is perfect!
Your prayers have been answered!
PC ONE POT MEAT SPAGHETTI
(4x6 recipe download) (Full Page Printable Recipe)