Pasta Casserole

In Italy, whenever you bake a pasta that’s not meant to be baked (like lasagne and cannelloni) you get a delicious pasticcio… mess! This recipe can actually end up as one of two dishes. Once the pasta is finished pressure cooking, you can serve it as-is and enjoy simple “Pasta al Ragu”, pasta in meat sauce… or, pour the contents into a casserole, layer it with mozzarella and stick it under the grill for a few minutes to melt and you have pasta pasticciata.

pressure cooker pasta with cheese

Pressure Cooker Accessories Pr. Cook Time Pr. Level Open
5 L or larger none 5 min. Low (1) Normal

4.7 from 13 reviews
Pressure Cooker Pasta Recipe with Cheese and Meat (Mezzemaniche Pasticciate)
Recipe type: pressure cooker
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 medium celery Stalk, finely chopped
  • 1 swig red wine (whatever you're having with dinner)
  • 14.5 oz can (2 cups or 450g) Tomato puree
  • 1 lb (500g) Mezzemaniche, Rigatoni, Ziti or Penne Pasta
  • 10-16 oz. (300-500g) of Ground Beef (I used 300g in the photographed recipe, but you can add more meat if you prefer)
  • 14 oz. (375g) Mozzarella, diced or shredded
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  1. In the pre-heated pressure cooker, on medium heat without the lid, add a couple of tablespoons of butter and soften the chopped onion, carrot and celery (about 5 minutes).
  2. Turn up the heat to high and add the ground meat, ½ tsp of salt and ground pepper. Break it up carefully and brown it on all sides, the meat should be almost fully cooked (about 10 minutes).
  3. When all of the water has evaporated from the meat and it is sizzling and golden add a swig of red wine - just enough to wet and de-glaze the pan. Wait for the wine to evaporate fully (about 1 minute) before continuing with the recipe.
  4. Pour in the pasta, tomato puree, and remaining salt and enough water to cover the pasta. Give it a good stir and flatten it as much as possible (to use as little water as possible).
  5. Close and lock the lid of the pressure cooker.
  6. For electric pressure cookers: Cook for 5 minutes (or the recommended time) at LOW pressure.
    For stove top pressure cookers: Turn the heat up to high and when the cooker indicates it has reached LOW pressure, lower to the heat to maintain it and begin counting 5 minutes (or the recommended time) pressure cooking time.
  7. When time is up, open the cooker by releasing the pressure.
  8. Give the contents a stir and let the pasta sit for about a minute - if you serve it now you have pasta with meat sauce- or continue with the recipe...
  9. Pour out half the contents of the pressure cooker into the oiled casserole. Then, sprinkle half the cheese on top. Pour out the rest of the contents on top of that and sprinkle the rest of the cheese, dot with pats of butter to taste.
  10. Place casserole under the broiler for 3-5 minutes, until all the cheese has melted and is just starting to be tinged with gold.
  11. Let the casserole rest for about 5 minutes while the cheese cools a little and hardens into a crunchy top before serving.

how to make pressure cooker pasta casserole
Cheesy Pressure Cooker Pasta in meat sauce

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  1. I made this in my new IP Duo 7. It came out great with no hint of burning or scorching .
    Here are my variations: I used 12 oz whole wheat Rotini because that is the size bag I had. I used 12 oz tomato puree and 8 oz of meat. Before the pressure cooking, I poured the meat and tomato sauce into a bowl. I put the pasta into the empty cooker pot and then just covered it with hot water. Then I poured the meat sauce back into the pot without stirring. I set it on high pressure cooking for 5 minutes. I released the pressure by hand when the time was up. The pasta was perfectly cooked with a nice consistency sauce. I proceeded with the cheese step as directed. Thank you for this fabulous recipe.

    1. Cyndiegran, thanks for sharing your technique – what a great idea to have the water on the bottom with the sauce on top!



  2. The recipe was too salty for my family. My five year old wouldn’t eat it even though it looks so lovely in the pictures! I think next time I migt try it with a chicken stock cube instead. I made it in my duo pot and appreciated the comment that said put it on high for five minutes rather than low. Perhaps the original recipe should make this known as it states “five minutes on low for electric pressure cooker”.

    1. Cathy, just so you know a stock cube contains the equivalent of 2.5 teaspoons of salt.



    2. Why don’t you just back up off the salt? Why would you add chicken stock when your working with beef? Two tsp of salt is too much for us as well but I would know that before cooking anything.. Just use 1/4 tsp instead; then taste it! You can add salt but cant take it out.

  3. I see a bay leaf in your photos….should I add one to the onion, carrot and celery saute?

    1. No, I threw the bay leaf in at the last minute to try a variation and it ended up not tasting very good. So I did not include it in the final recipe. : )



  4. I just started making this, and I’m not sure what size casserole dish to use? Will a 9 x 13 be too big?

  5. Never mind, I figured out the pan size! I split it up in two 8×8 pyrex pans and put one in the freezer. We enjoyed the Pasta Pasticciata even if we can’t pronounce it! Thanks for another great recipe, Laura.

    1. Meagan, thanks for sharing a photo of your delicious dinner!!



  6. Hi, would you please tell me how to cook the pasta, alone. Would it be the same time ? Low for 5 ? How much water per pound of pasta ? I’m new to pressure cooking and already ruined my 1st batch of pasta. I used just enough water to cover 1 lb of pasta. Hi for 6 min..

    Thank you,

    1. If your pressure cooker has a “low” pressure setting you should use that. To make plain pasta use water to cover and don’t forget the salt. You can follow the directions on this recipe, which adds the sauce (cheese) at the end:



  7. The recipe you directed me to looks yummy too so I’ll have to try that as well. I forgot to mention that I’m using the cuisinart electric model. Does the time change ? 4 min. ? Just cover ? So. . No pasta should be sticking out of the water ?

  8. Would I sound silly if I said that I knew I had something special when I was taking this to the table? It was beautiful. The husband had four helpings. The 5 year old had 2 helpings, even the three year old had 2 helpings. I had 2 myself. My husband told me THIS is a winner. Yes I will be making this again!

    1. That’s great – thanks for sharing the story. So glad to read your dinner was a success!



  9. I have an electric pressure cooker that has multiple functions, and I cook pasta in it all the time. I don’t bother precooking it or baking it in the oven; I just put all the ingredients in, set it to the rice/risotto setting, and turn it on. Once it comes up to pressure (about 15 min or so) it takes around 6-7 minutes for the dish to cook. It comes out perfect every time!

    1. I just used your trick, with this recipe. Wish me luck!

  10. Where’s the garlic?! I can not make sauce without garlic. I am going to make this tonight but being a Sicilian I have to add garlic! :)

    1. By all means make this dish your own by changing it however you like. Report back here with your variant. It inspires the rest of us!

      Garlic is one of the sob stories of the PC. It’s flavour tends to vanish. When you add it, just bang the cloves with the side of a knife to lightly crush it, or use powdered garlic rather than fresh.

      1. But even if you do not get the flavor at least you can get some health benefits!

  11. Making this dish right now! Can’t wait to see how it turns out. I couldn’t resist adding plenty of fresh herbs picked from our garden. If all turns out well, I will share what I added! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe :)

  12. What brand of puree do you recommend?

    1. In which country do you live?

        1. Vicki, I recommend Pomi’ ( – but anything that has just “tomatoes” listed asn an ingredient, without any thickeners, sugars or syrups will do. ; )

          Fun reading- Serious Eat’s canned tomato taste test (Trader Joe’s brand is a winner):



  13. You can make your own….take 3 or 4 tablespoons of triple paste and delute with hot water….

  14. No mince in the house? Some nice spicy sausages were an absolute delightful substitute. I wanted red capsicum rather than carrots but I fried it separately whilst the spaghetti was cooking just to get that I intense flavour then tossed them through the spaghetti when it was ready.

    1. Adding sausages in place of ground meat sounds like an excellent substitution!



  15. Thank you, I will try the Pomi. I read the article from
    Serious Eats. I will have to take a ride yo Trader Joes and try that brand as well.

  16. Hello Laura
    Just discovered this via Facebook so I will share to pass on !
    I live in the UK – what is the equivalent for 400 g tomatoe purée
    We have purée in tubes at 25 g .
    Is the purée you mention our equivalent 400 g chopped tomatoes tin or
    Passata ?
    Look forward to trying this but want to get the tomatoe type right!

    1. Hi Mimi, the puree’ is the “American English” for Passata or Chopped tomatoes. What Brits call puree’ is Americans call Tomato Paste or Tomato Concentrate. Just to clarify any lingering confusion, I write my articles and recipes in American English! ; )



      1. Thanks, makes sense. Can’t wait to try it tomorrow on my picky children!

  17. I found a real passata in our market, and it is amazing- what a beautiful flavor- but then I chose a high protein pasta ( 16 year old twin sons )- and I think it needed more cooking time. It came out firmer than al dente…or maybe I should have used more water so there was a thin layer of liquid over the noodles, rather than some poking through, so it was soupier to start.

    What are your thoughts?

  18. I love this recipe, have made it numerous times but please make a printer friendly version. I just printed it and it took 13 pages together with all the pics and comments.;(

    1. I thought there was a “print friendly” button among the “caring is sharing” set of icons, but when I tried it, I got 17 pages. so yes @Laura there is a problem.

      I use a recipe app on my iPad that allows me store the recipes I want to keep on reference locally. I don’t usually print them. It is called “My Recipe Book”. I am not sure if there is an Android version

      1. I had this recipe printed out and I think it was on two pages but I first printed it long time ago. Now needed to print it again as I could not find it. I was shocked when the pages kept coming from my printer and there seemed to be no end. Must have been the longest recipe ever lol

        1. Sylvia and Greg, I have re-activated the old sharing/printing service. I had removed them because I was mad at the company for wanting to charge me about $100 to update the article sharing counts to include links to both http and https (the current numbers only reflect the shares of the last three months, not the last 7 years – unless I pay of course). Well, the replacement (native wordpress plugin) is kloogy and creates problems like you’ve experienced.

          So I put back the old service but activated the lower share counts – because even if it’s just for the last three months I would say those are still pretty impressive.

          Long story short: try printing this again. You shouldn’t need to use a whole ream of paper this time!!! ; )



          1. Thank you so much Laura. I made this again yesterday and we had the leftovers for dinner today! Just love, love love this recipe :-)

            1. Sylvia, yaay! : )



          2. Actually, for the time being, we’re back to an interim sharing / printing app. The one I was using before “upgraded” and brought the site down for about 30 minutes before I figured out what was going on. When they figure out the bug, I will re-activate again.



    2. just minimize the pictures to 0% in the print options.

  19. Hi Laura Thank you so much for such a great tasting dish. My whole family asked for seconds.

    I must say that your dedication to pressure cooking is second to none. You have given me the confidence to pressure cook more and more. I have purchased your cook book and have recommended it to so many of my friends and family because it is so well written that it leaves nothing for the novice to figure out which is so helpful. Thank you for sharing your expertise.

    If you could answer this for me my daughter has a pressure cooker with only high pressure. How long should she cook the pasta since most recipes state using low pressure. Thanks for your time.


    1. From her “Spicy Pressure Cooked Pasta” page:
      NOTE: For pressure cookers with just one (high) pressure, also half the time indicated on the pasta package, and then subtract 1-2 minutes more.

      Read more: Spicy Pressure Cooked Pasta Butterflies

      1. Hi Greg thanks for providing me with the information.

  20. Does this work with wild rice past.

    1. It should, I’ve used it with gluten free corn and rice-flout pasta. Just make sure to do the time adjustments and be aware that if it is particularly starchy that starch will remain in the cooker to thicken (or overy-thicken) the sauce.

      Please come back to let us know how it turned out!!



  21. I love this recipe! We have had a lot of beef lately, so I substituted ground turkey and dashed lunch berally with Worcestershire sauce.

  22. How many does this serve? I’m cooking for 12 adults every night for one week. We’ll be busy all day and will have dinner back at the cabin. I’ll have a crock pot and a 6qt IP. and an oven which I may or may not use. Trying not to have a lot of clean up if possible.

    1. One pound of pasta will serve four people.



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