Being with a Southerner means that when Mardi Gras comes around, it’s impossible not to get in the spirit. So I felt like tasting it too.
I wanted to create a dish that was reminiscent of New Orleans which factored in the Holy Trinity (onion/peppers/celery) as well as Andouille sausage and okra. Sort of like a Gumbo meeting a pasta of a lasagna texture, but only without all the work thanks to the Instant Pot.
Well folks, I’ve put a spell on you. A delicious, tasty and zesty spell known as Voodoo Pasta! And the incantations begin now!
Here’s How I Made It! (scroll to the bottom for the fully-written recipe):
It begins with three key vegetables: a red onion…
…a green bell pepper…
…and some celery.
Once we dice these all up and combine them together, it forms something sacred known only as THE HOLY TRINITY! That means this pasta will be good, Holy Voodoo! (Not evil, shrunken-head Voodoo).
Take a nice long Andouille (or smoked) sausage…
…slice it into discs…
…and then quarter each disc.
So that it looks like this when all’s said & done. Set aside.
Go to the Instant Pot and add in some extra virgin olive oil and heat it up.
Then, add in that Holy Trinity and allow to sauté for a few minutes.
Add in some garlic…
…and allow it sauté too.
Nice to meat you. Add in some ground beef…
…and stir until it breaks apart and begins to crumble.
It should look like this after a few minutes and have become lightly browned.
Now take that sausage…
…and add it to the meaty mix.
Time to get all witchy with this cauldron. Add in some ham (or chicken) broth…
…some beer (yup! BEER!)…
…and okra (if you want).
Give it all a grand ole’ stir!
Now season this spell up with some pepper…
…and Creole Seasoning.
I LOVE me some Tony Chachere’s for this!
Give it all a final stir (and feel free to let out a giddy cackle to get in the spirit).
Now it’s time to add our pasta! I love a Cellentani or Cavatappi for this. They’re like a macaroni with pigtails!
Once added to the pot, smooth it out with a spoon but DO NOT STIR IT IN.
It should just be smoothed and pressed down with the spoon so it’s submerged in the liquid as shown here. Secure the lid and cook at high pressure.
While the pasta’s magically cooking in the pot, it’s time to make our cheese mixture, THE FROMAGE! This step is optional but I personally think it sends this pasta home and gives it so much extra body and flavor! Take some eggs…
…and beat them in a bowl.
Then, add in some ricotta cheese…
…and stir until combined with the egg.
If you want a little bit of a spicy kick, add in some Tabasco sauce…
…and crushed red pepper flakes.
Next we’ll add in a bunch of grated Parmesan…
…and stir until well-combined with everything else.
Lastly, add in some shredded Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses…
…and combine until a thick cheese mixture (almost like a pimiento cheese consistency) forms.
When the pasta’s done cooking, remove the lid. It may APPEAR a bit liquidy on the surface. But once you get a spoon and mix the cooked pasta around, it’s gonna disappear immediately.
Add some tomato paste to the pot…
…and give it all a great stir. If you’re NOT using The Fromage, you’re done and ready to serve as is.
If you ARE using The Fromage (yaassssss), add it in now…
…and stir it up in that pot to form a terrific and tasty Voodoo spell.
Look at all that cheese mixed into with that smokey sauce!
Serve in bowls…
…admire the beauty. And if you want more heat with your bite, feel free to shake on more Tabasco or red pepper flakes.
Show it off to everyone…
…admire those adorable little Voodoo pigtails.
…and savor the flavor.
Feed it to a loved one (and watch them fall happy victim to this culinary spell)…
…and if you have any beer leftover, it’s the perfect potion to go with this dish!
- 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lb ground beef (or ground veal, pork or turkey)
- 1 lb andouille sausage, sliced in 1″ pieces and quartered
- 1 red onion, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 2 stalks of celery, diced
- 1 tbsp of crushed garlic
- 1 cup of a basic beer such as Pabst Blue Ribbon or Budweiser (try not to use an IPA as it can make it bitter)
- 2 cups of ham or chicken broth (I used 2 tsp of Ham Better Than Bouillon + 2 cups of water. Use 3 cups if you don’t wish to use beer)
- 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
- 1.5 tbsp of Tony Chachere’s Creole seasoning (or you can use any Cajun/Louisiana-style seasoning)
- 1 tsp of black pepper
- 1 tsp of seasoned salt
- 1 tsp of sugar
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp of Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp of oregano
- 10 oz package (about 2 cups) of frozen Okra (optional)
- 1 lb (1 box) of Cavatappi or Cellentani (the kind that looks like if macaroni and a pig tail had a baby)
- 6 oz can of tomato paste
- The Fromage (that means “cheese” in French) NOTE: This is optional to add but I really feel like it sends it over the top. I also love it as is written below, but you can definitely halve these ingredients if you want the cheese factor a bit less intense. If you leave this step out completely and want some spice, add the optional red pepper flakes and Tabasco above prior to pressure cooking
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 cups (15 oz container) of ricotta cheese (I used part-skim)
- 1 cup of grated parmesan cheese
- 2 cups of a Cheddar/Monterey Jack cheese combo
- 1/4 tsp of crushed red pepper flakes (optional for a spice kick)
- 1 tsp of Tabasco sauce (optional for a spice kick)
- Add the olive oil to the Instant Pot and then hit “Sauté” and adjust so it’s on the “More” or “High” setting. Allow it to heat up for three minutes and then add in the onion, bell pepper and celery. Sauté for 5 minutes and then add in the garlic and sauté for 1 minute longer
- Next, add in the sausage and the ground meat. Stir and allow it to sauté for 5 minutes with the vegetables until it crumbles and releases its juices (which we will keep in the as it adds a ton of delicious flavor)
- Pour in the beer, stir it in with the meat and vegetables and allow the meat and veggies to simmer in it for 2 minutes
- Next, add in the broth, crushed tomatoes, creole seasoning, seasoned salt, pepper, sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning, oregano and frozen okra, (if using). Stir everything together very well
- Lastly, add in the pasta BUT DO NOT STIR (or you may have issues coming to pressure). Simply press and smooth the pasta down with a spoon so it’s submerged in the broth (it’s okay if it peaks above a little)
- Secure the lid and hit “Keep Warm/Cancel” and then hit “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” for 6 minutes at High Pressure
- While the pasta’s cooking in the pot, mix The Fromage (that means “cheese” in French) ingredients together in a bowl
- When the pasta’s done cooking, perform a quick release. Then, add the tomato paste (make sure you do this AFTER pressure cooking ant not before) and give everything a good stir
- Finish it off by adding in the Fromage mixture and stir for another two minutes until totally melded into the sauce -OR- if you prefer it without the dairy and like it with just a meat and tomato base, simply leave out The Fromage and serve as is!
- If you want it on the spicier side, add more Tabasco and crushed red pepper flakes to taste
- Place in bowls and enjoy!
This is a VERY cheesy pasta dish, which is AOK by me! However, if you want the cheese lessened, simply halve the ingredients to “The Fromage” mixture. Simple as that.
If you aren’t into the dairy being added to the pasta at all, no problem! Simply omit “The Fromage” section and the pasta will be done once you’ve added in the tomato paste at the end.
Don’t want to use beer? Fine (even though it adds wonderful flavor). Add in an additional cup of broth instead.
Midnight confession: While the leftovers tastes great heated up in the microwave, they also taste amazing cold right out of the fridge!