Don't we all love a bowl of pasta with tomato cream sauce? Everyone needs this delicious, comforting, and satisfying pasta in their dinner rotation. This easy Instant Pot Penne Pasta is ready in under 20 minutes and is something the whole family will enjoy!
This simple Italian recipe is perfect for those days when you don't feel like chopping vegetables or washing extra dishes. The kid-friendly dish uses basic pantry ingredients that are simply layered in the Instant Pot. Top with some freshly grated parmesan for a restaurant-quality vegetarian meal that will be ready in no time.
Note: Original post published in July 2018 has been updated with new photos and a video.
EASY 20 Minute Pasta Dinner
Tomato cream sauce pasta can be prepared by novice as well as expert cooks. It perfectly fits my goal of enabling everyone to cook! This month I was approached by several mothers requesting cooking lessons for their teenagers. The more I understood how hectic and crazy their college schedules could be, the more I continued to develop simple recipes.
This recipe is created with a purpose, that makes sure that all of us can put together a quick meal that is fast, inexpensive, and yet satisfying. I am so proud that this creamy tomato pasta has now become so popular not only with teenagers but with their families as well.
- Pasta - I have used penne pasta in this recipe but you can use any shape including gluten free pasta
- Sauce - Marinara sauce or use your favorite jarred tomato sauce
- Cream - Heavy whipping cream adds the perfect creminess to this pasta and you can also substitute it with coconut cream or cashew cream
Tips to make perfect Instant Pot pasta
- Make sure that most of the pasta is submerged under liquids
- Pressure cook time = Half the cook time on the box minus 1 minute
- Always layer thicker liquids like tomato sauce on top
- Quick-release after pressure cooking cycle is complete
- Always stir in cream, cheese, etc after the pressure cooking cycle
Here are easy steps to cook the best creamy tomato pasta:
Step 1: Add pasta to the Instant Pot, add broth, and water. Layer garlic powder, red chili pepper, salt, and tomato sauce. Make sure to push all the pasta under liquids (photos 1 - 4).
Step 2: Close the Instant Pot lid and Pressure cook. Quick Release and then stir in the cream, grated parmesan, and basil or parsley (photos 5 - 8).
- Saute fresh garlic and half a cup of diced onions in olive oil before adding the pasta
- Stir in a cup of frozen peas after the pressure cooking cycle
- Stir in a handful of fresh or frozen chopped spinach or kale after the pressure cooking cycle
- Use milk instead of heavy cream to lighten up the dish
- To make the pasta spicy, add extra red chili flakes or skip them altogether for a non-spicy pasta
Our Favorite Side Dish to Pair with Pasta
I often serve pasta with broccoli in garlic-infused olive oil. Here is how I make it:
- Add 1 cup of water to the Instant Pot insert
- Place steamer basket and add broccoli florets cut into 3-inch pieces
- Close the Instant Pot lid with pressure valve to sealing
- Steam for 0 minutes at low pressure
- Quick-release and open for perfectly cooked broccoli
- Stir fry thinly sliced garlic in olive oil and sauté steamed broccoli in the oil with a sprinkle of salt
Do you enjoy the ease and convenience of making pasta in Instant Pot? Here are some more pasta recipes:
- Pasta Caprese - Pasta tossed with tomatoes, basil, fresh mozzarella, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar
- Penne Alla Vodka - Italian classic pasta dish made in a creamy tomato, garlic, vodka sauce
- Spinach Artichoke Macaroni & Cheese - Lightened-up mac and cheese with the healthy addition of spinach and artichokes
- Spicy Taco Pasta - Spicy taco pasta with ground chicken, onions, jalapeños, cilantro, and cheese
- Spinach Mushroom Lasagna - Lasagna layered with spinach, mushrooms, garlic, and cheese
Here are some additional easy Instant Pot recipes:
- Chicken Marsala - chicken braised in buttery, wine-soaked mushrooms and herbs
- Saffron Risotto - rice cooked in aromatic saffron, wine, and parmesan cheese
- Chicken Noodle Soup with Kale - chicken noodle soup with kale cooked in under 30 minutes
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Penne Pasta with Creamy Tomato Sauce
- Add the pasta, broth, water, garlic powder, red pepper, salt to the Instant Pot insert. Layer tomato sauce on top. Gently push all pasta under liquids. Do not mix.
- Close the Instant Pot with pressure valve to sealing. Pressure cook (Hi) for 4 minutes followed by quick release.
- Open the Instant Pot and stir in the cream. Add parmesan cheese and chopped basil or parsley.
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