You may know me and my love of creating outrageous pastas for the Instant Pot by now.
And because I’d hate to let you down, I’ve done it again.
I’m just going to say that I’ve taken classic Baked Ziti to the next level because 1) we’re going to make it one of the richest, most flavorful sauces that has ever come together in a harmony of cheese and tomatoes (no boring, skimpy sauce here) and 2) because it’s UNbaked!
This is my ridiculously simple Unbaked Ziti and it will win over any pasta lover’s affections.
Here’s How I Made It!:
Take a lovely onion…
…and dice it up
Then add some olive oil to the Instant Pot and give it some heat.
Add the onions in the hot oil…
…as well as some garlic and sauté for a few.
WHERE’S THE BEEF?! Right here! Add it in…
…and cook until it crumbles and browns.
Now pour in some marinara sauce…
Feel free to also add some hot sauce to give it a kick (totally optional, of course)
Now let’s add in our ziti (I prefer Ziti Rigati since it has ridges which scoops up the sauce nicely)
Take a spoon to smooth the ziti out in the sauce…
…so that it’s submerged (it’s okay of some peaks above the sauce). Just DON’T stir it! Secure the lid and cook at high pressure.
As the ziti’s cooking, prepare the ricotta cheese mixture by adding together the ricotta, an egg, dried parsley and kosher salt…
…so it looks like this when done!
When the lid comes off the pot, it may look a bit watery. That’s GOOD. But don’t be fooled. This is all about to change.
Take a mixing spoon and mix the pasta up with the sauce and meat to make way for our quartet of cheeses!
First, add in that ricotta cheese mixture…
…and stir it in good.
Then, take some Boursin cheese (you know me and my loving discovery of the magical things Boursin can do to a pasta. If you can’t find Boursin, use cream cheese).
Stir it in.
And then add in a bunch of shredded mozzarella!
This is going to give the sauce some serious and amazing stretch!
And finish it off with some grated parmesan!
Give it a real good stir so all the cheeses are totally melded and combined.
So it looks super creamy and rich when done.
Now serve it into bowls..
…top with additional parmesan cheese if you wish…
…and stick a fork in it, because this Unbaked Ziti’s DUNZO! (If you want to bake it, see the “Jeffrey Sez” section of the recipe)
Now let’s try this out, mmmkay?
There are no words. Sheer perfection.
- 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 tbsp of crushed garlic
- 1-1.5 lbs of ground beef (I used 90% lean as this is best for ziti meat so it doesn’t get too oily as we won’t drain the meat)
- 4 cups of a marinara sauce of your choice – just make sure it’s not TOO thick (I love the Victoria brand)
- 3 cups of water or chicken broth (add 1 more cup if using an 8qt over a 6qt)
- 1-2 tbsp (or more) of hot sauce (optional)
- 1 lb box of Ziti (I used Ziti Rigati because I like the ridges)
- 1 cup (8 oz) of ricotta cheese
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp of dried parsley
- 1/2 tsp of kosher salt
- 5.2 oz of Boursin cheese (either Garlic & Herb or Shallot & Chive flavors will work. This can be found in the cheese/cured meat deli section in most markets and Costco also sells it in 3 packs for a great price. If you cannot find Boursin, 5 oz from a brick of cream cheese will work well too)
- 8 oz bag (2 cups) of shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/3 cup of grated parmesan cheese
- Add the olive oil to the Instant Pot and then hit “Sauté” and adjust so it’s on the “More” or “High” setting. Let the oil heat for about 2 minutes
- Next, add the onion and cook for 2 minutes until lightly softened and lightly translucent/browned and then add in garlic and cook for another minute
- Then, add in the ground beef. Stir constantly as it cooks so it crumbles and browns for 2 mins. Make sure you deglaze (scrape) the bottom of the pot as it cooks so nothing sticks to it
- Pour in the marinara sauce and water (and hot sauce if using). Stir well
- Lastly, add in the ziti noodles and just smooth them out so they’re submerged in the sauce (DO NOT STIR)
- Secure the lid, hit “Keep Warm/Cancel” and then hit “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” High Pressure for 6 minutes. Quick release when done
- While the pasta’s cooking, combine the ricotta, egg, dried parsley and salt in a mixing bowl
- When the lid comes off, stir in the ricotta mixture (don’t worry – the raw egg will quickly be cooked by the heat from the pot’s contents), Boursin, mozzarella and parmesan
- Stir everything until well combined, top with some extra parmesan if desired and serve with my amazing garlic bread (follow steps 3 and 4 of this recipe to make it)! (Note: If you wish to make this a baked ziti, check out the “Jeffrey Sez” section of the recipe)
If you want to bake the ziti, simply transfer the finished ziti with the finished cheesy marinara sauce in a casserole dish, cover with another 8 oz bag of shredded mozzarella and pop it in a pre-heated oven at 400 degrees, uncovered, for about 5-10 minutes until the cheese lightly bubbles and browns (keep an eye on it as all ovens vary). OR, if making in Ninja Foodi, closing the TenderCrisper lid, hit “Broil” and go for 3-5 minutes until the cheese is golden-brown and bubbly!
The longer you let the ziti set in the finished sauce in the Instant Pot on the “keep warm” setting, the thicker the sauce will get. So you have control there! Both ways are awesome, but I prefer it when it’s just been mixed and is super creamy.