Kitchn Love Letters

The (Ridiculously Good) Instant Pot Recipe I Can’t Stop Making

updated May 29, 2019
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image

At Kitchn, our editors develop and debut brand-new recipes on the site every single week. But at home, we also have our own tried-and-true dishes that we make over and over again — because quite simply? We love them. And we decided to start sharing some of our absolute favorites with you. Here’s a peek into what we’re cooking and eating in our own kitchens.

There is good spaghetti with meat sauce; there is great spaghetti with meat sauce; and then there is this version, made in an Instant Pot, which lives on a level all its own. Make spaghetti in your Instant Pot once, and you may never make it any other way again. I speak from experience.

I first made this recipe about two months ago, and even now when I think about it, the most warm, satisfying feeling ripples through my belly. It was hands-down the best thing I cooked in 2018 (and I cook a lot), and has been the only way I’ve cooked spaghetti since.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

From the first bite it reminded me of an Italian place in my neighborhood that I order from regularly. Despite a lengthy menu, I’ve only ever ordered their saucy pasta dishes, and what keeps me coming back is the way the sauce expertly blankets and clings to every single bit of pasta. It’s like the pasta is sauced from the inside out, and has become my gold standard for what I crave in a saucy pasta dinner. And this Instant Pot spaghetti makes me feel the exact same way.

The recipe makes use of two of the Instant Pot’s functions. First you brown the meat with the sauté function. Next is where the magic happens. You break the spaghetti in half (I know, I know! I wasn’t into it at first either, but once you taste this, you’ll forget all about it), layer it on top of the meat, and then pour in a full jar of marinara and water. And most important of all, you do not stir together until after cooking.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

After the eight-minute cook time using the pressure cooker function, I was obsessed with the magical way the sauce (of which there is an ample amount) hugs to each and every strand of spaghetti. We’ve long heard that a generous splash of pasta water is the best trick for sauce to stick to pasta. Well, cook everything — the pasta, water, and sauce — together in the same pot, and the result is above and beyond. It also means that the noodles soak up the aromas from the sauce, giving far more flavor than something I’d otherwise pull together on the stovetop.

And while it’s not necessarily faster than cooking this comforting classic on the stovetop, it does mean you’ll have fewer dishes to wash, and that’s always a win in my book.