Pressure Cooker Broccoli & Sausage Pasta One Pot Meal

This pressure cooker conversion of a classic Italian pasta dish promises creamy broccoli, crispy sausage and al dente pasta.  This dish is a flavorful one pot meal that comes together with an easy technique I came up with on-the-fly after years of flops.

This recipe falls in the the category of deceptively simple pressure cooker conversion, as with the baked apples, it literally took me forever to get this dish just right. Early attempts gave me soggy pasta and gray broccoli. I couldn’t figure out how to adjust the amount of water for my pressure cooker pasta method to accommodate the broccoli.  I gave up for a few years thinking it couldn’t be done.

Recently, my refrigerator was stuffed to the gills with 5 kilos (10lbs) of farmer veggies plus 2 kilos (4lbs) of supermarket broccoli.  I had to use them up- and fast!  I used this bounty of crucifers to refocus my efforts towards figuring out this recipe for the pressure cooker once and for all.

Easy New Technique

This time around I started using the pressure cooker heat zones to my advantage (I describe them in detail in my book  on page 222). The only problem was that using a steamer basket was too kludgy and just laying the broccoli on top of the pasta left the stems unpleasantly crunchy.

But those mistakes worked me towards the idea of sticking just the broccoli stems into the pasta cooking water – the stems boil in the pasta water while the florets steam.

It works.

Pressure Cooker Pasta Timing

Every kind of cut pasta has its own cooking time written on the box .  For example, the penne I use in the video require 10 minutes conventional cooking time.  Halve this cooking time and use that (5 min)  at low pressure to get al dente results. If the cooking time is an odd number, say 9 minutes, just halve it and round down to the nearest minute (4 min).

Don’t forget that the  pasta pressure cooking time remains the same even if you change the quantity of pasta to fit your family’s needs.

More Info: The SECRET to al dente Pressure Cooked Pasta

Home-made Sausage Mix

I have easy access to fresh high-quality sausages, and that’s what I use, but if you can’t find freshly made sausages without additives and preservatives, make your own in a flash.  To make enough sausage for this recipe, just mix one pound (500g) of ground pork (a mix of shoulder and belly cuts are best, but anything will work) with a teaspoon of salt, a teaspoon of crushed fennel seeds and 1/2 teaspoon of paprika (use cayenne, instead if you’d like it spicy). There’s no need to stuff the mixture into a casing because we unstuff the sausages for this recipe, anyway.


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

4.4 from 11 reviews
Pressure Cooker Pasta with Broccoli & Sausage One Pot Meal
Nutritional Information
(per serving)
  • Serves: 4-6
  • Serving size: ⅙th
  • Calories: 509.6
  • TOTAL Fat: 19.5g
  • TOTAL Carbs: 62.9g
  • Sugar Carbs: 3.2g
  • Sodium: 724.3mg
  • Fiber Carbs: 5.5g
  • Protein: 22.1g
  • Cholesterol: 57.6mg
Recipe type: pressure cooker
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound (500g) sausage - your favorite kind
  • 1 pound (500g) penne pasta
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste concentrate
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3-4 cups water - to cover
  • 8-12 oz (250-350g) broccoli florets
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon paprika, for garnish
  1. Add the oil to the pre-heated pressure cooker and, then squeeze the sausage meat of out its casing into the pressure cooker.
  2. Break-up the sausage and saute' stirring infrequently until browned - at first the sausages will release water and then they will begin to fry, become crispy and start looking golden (about 5 minutes).
  3. Once the sausage is crispy, lift out of the pressure cooker and set aside. You can also remove some of the fat at this point, if you prefer.
  4. Add a small splash of water and lift-up the browned bits stuck to the base of the pressure cooker.
  5. Next add the pasta, tomato paste and salt. Mix the ingredients inside the pressure cooker well.
  6. Smooth out the top of the pasta into a somewhat flat layer, and add just enough water to cover the pasta (a few corners and points sticking out are OK).
  7. On top of the pasta mixture, add the broccoli florets - stem-side down.
  8. Close and lock the lid of the pressure cooker.
  9. Electric pressure cookers: Cook for 5 minutes at LOW pressure.
    Stovetop 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 pressure cooking time.
  10. When time is up, open the pressure cooker with the Normal release - release pressure through the valve.
  11. Mix-in the garlic, break-up the broccoli, and add the fried sausage pieces back into the pressure cooker.
  12. Serve with a sprinkle of paprika.

Pressure Cooker Broccoli & Sausage Pasta One Pot Meal



Similar Posts


  1. Works from here

  2. Why do you add the garlic raw at the end instead of sauteing it with the sausage?

    1. There are several ways to use garlic with the pressure cooker to get different flavor profiles. Adding it last, and flash-cooking it in the heat of the just-pressure cooked food, preserves most of its flavor. I used this method in this recipe for a fresher “raw” garlic taste without the dragon-breath that usually accompanies completely uncooked raw garlic.



      1. Thank you, Laura. Makes sense. I’d probably try to finely mince and then crush the garlic into paste with my knife before adding it at the end, as I am leery of dragon breath. I will try this recipe soon. I am with you on not using stock instead of water; you want the dish to taste like sausage and broccoli, not chicken.

  3. This looks great, I am definitely trying this. I am just wondering if I can use 1/2 chicken stock and 1/2 water for the same end results?

    1. Technically, replacing some or all of the cooking liquid in this recipe with stock would work – but from an Italian cook’s point of view it would just muddy the flavors. Unless I’m cooking pasta in a sauce that would already use stock in the sauce (such as a bolognese) stock will actually make the other ingredients in the pressure cooker less flavorful.



      1. Thank you for all the education you do here. It is very helpful.

  4. I tried this recipe for lunch today. Instead of adding the garlic to the cooke dish, I added it to the sausage mixture 40 seconds before removing it from the heat. The results were delicious! Has anyone tried using stock instead of water for this recipe??

  5. Thats interesting. I thought stock would make the dish more flavorful than using water, not muddy the flavors. I guess I will just have to try it both ways and see. Thank you!

    1. In cooking, ingredients are like colors. Too many colors and you just get “brown” instead of a pretty picture. This is a big difference between Italian and American cooking, in my opinion. Where the ethos in America is “more spices! more herbs! more sugar! more everything!” the result is an indistinct flavor that does not really say anything. Italians call these everything recipes “Minestrone taste”.

      Italian recipe classics have been refined over hundreds, sometimes thousands, of years to become classics. In fact, the ONLY pasta recipe an Italian would cook in stock is minestrone. It’s true that many pressure cooker cookbooks recommend using stock in pasta recipes (though, you’ll agree with me, that they are not written by Italians).

      My goal with this recipe was to achieve the same clean flavors and textures one might achieve making this classic without pressure.



  6. Hi Laura,
    Just wanted to say thanks for a wonderful web site and recipe ideas.
    We’ve just finished this dish for dinner, It tasted amazing, this was a huge hit with my kids.
    BUT I didn’t read the recipe properly and sailed away chopping up the onions to brown with my sausage meat ( I didn’t have sausages and thought it would do the same job ) i chopped the roll into quarters then into bite size pieces, while i was doing this my boy informed me there was actually no onion on the recipe list, OOPS, i still used the onion and browned them both together.

    My boy is now thinking of new and different ways i can cook this every night of the week ( He’s a pasta freak ) lol.
    He has suggested bite size chicken, pork, bacon, chorizo, beef, lamb etc
    He also suggested cauliflower, and carrot sticks,
    Again a huge thanks to you for all your amazing pressure cooker recipes.

    1. I’m glad you’re taking this technique to new and unique places, come back to let us know how future combinations work out!



  7. I can’t wait to try this. I’m new to pressure cooking. I love your recipes, they help me a lot, especially the videos!
    I noticed you used only a little bit of tomato paste, if I used sauce instead and more sauce, as we’re saucy people, would I just reduced the water until it covered the pasta when combine?

    1. The sauce equivalent of one tablespoon of tomato paste is 2 or 3 tablespoons of tomato sauce. Tomato paste is either double or triple-concentrate tomato puree – good to know if you only have paste and need puree (add first double the water, and then a little more until you get the right consistency). I’ve made puree’ from paste before when I showed-up for a cooking demo in Canada and the shopper only bought concentrate.

      Back to this recipe, it is not a “tomato sauce” type recipe, the paste is in there to add little “sweet and tart” undertones to the broccoli and sausage. However the broccoli “cream” when stirred at the end, so I don’t think you will be disappointed.

      If you’re more of a “tomato saucy” family try the Spicy Farfalle, or Tuna Fusilli pressure cooker recipes:

      Ciao and welcome!


  8. Thank you again for your explanation on “muddy flavors” It makes a lot of sence to me now.

  9. I made this tonight and it came out great. I love only using one pot. Next time I will leave the broccoli in larger pieces. Also, my husband wanted to try it with grated Romano cheese on top and that really was a nice little extra kick. Thank you! I never knew I could cook pasta in the pressure cooker. Oh, and I am second generation Sicilian American and this is the first time I have not cooked pasta the traditional way but it won’t be the last.

    1. Ann, I highly recommend trying the pasta casserole – too! Many moons ago I had a Sicilian American boyfriend and he made that dish for me the regular way (swoon). I used his “pasta al forno” casserole memory as the basis for that recipe. We re-connected after he got a Cuisinart electric pressure cooker – he got a kick out of the fact that I still remember his casserole and adapted it to the pressure cooker.

      He became one of the recipe testers for the Hip Pressure Cooking cookbook!



    2. P.S. It’s OK if the broccoli fall apart, some of them will turn into “cream” and that’s by design.

  10. Thank you letting me know the broccoli should fall apart. Mine did exactly what it was supposed to do! I went back and watched the video again and mine looked just like the pictures. I will try the casserole. I also liked how you told people to make their own sausage. It’s exactly how my grandfather and uncle made ours. We use only the fennel seeds and no red peppers. I am 70 years old and it’s nice to learn new techniques.

    1. That’s great to hear! I bet you have lots of delicious family recipes to share, too. Stop by the recipe swap forum – would love to read them.

      The “sausage recipe” is from my mother-in-law. She makes them like that, stuffs them and hangs them on broom sticks to dry! Whenever she visits she hangs them all over the house!!!

      At her house, she makes prosciutto and coppa, too. Here is what her set-up looked like when we visited at Easter…

      Homemade prosciutto at Mother-in-law's house. Bernalda, Italy

      A photo posted by Laura D. A. Pazzaglia (@hippressurecook) on



  11. Oh, that picture is too wonderful! I am the same person who told you on Twitter that the stuffed artichoke recipe was like my family’s recipe and my grandparents came from Castelvetrano. I feel like I am back home in the middle of a family gathering where everyone is talking all at one time and everyone knows what everyone else is saying. Love your site and your recipes.

  12. Can all the f the recipes for cooking pasta in sauce be halved?

    1. Yes, the technique works exactly the same – only add enough water to cover. And, of course, the cooking time calculation doesn’t change, either. : )



  13. Just made this wonderful dish, Laura, and am so glad I read your comments about maintaining clean textures and flavors and muddying. I am hereby chastened!

    We have leftovers….do you suggest I zap individual portions in the microwave, perhaps with a touch of water to moisten? Also, I would like to test-freeze a portion. Any recommendations?
    Grazie, Kathleen

    1. Glad to read you enjoyed it. At home, we eat left-over pasta that has been left out about an hour to come to room temperature unheated. This does not appeal to everyone, so do what works for your family.

      I have personally never frozen or microwaved pasta so I can’t even comment on how it would turn out. But next time you can reduce the recipe up to half (as there will be slightly more than 1 1/2 cups of water which meets most pressure cooker minimums) or to 2/3rds if that’s a better fit for your household – just reduce all of the ingredients by the quantity that is right for you and keep the water to just-to-cover.



  14. Made this last night and we loved it! So simple! Sub’d rigatoni since that’s the closest I had on hand. One minor change I made was the addition of 1/2 Tbsp of anchovy paste. We’ll definitely be making this again. Other than the broccoli (and I guess for some, the garlic) this is a great “what’s in my pantry?” recipe for whipping together something without the need for a trip to the store.

  15. Hi Laura,
    this recipe really inspired me!
    Yesterday I saw the video and today I just made it.
    My husband doesn’t suspect it!
    I made orecchiette! Later I read that this shape is not recommended cooked this way.
    Anyway I was lucky, I cooked for 2, about 250 gr pasta, I put almost 3 cups of water, to mostly cover the pasta. It was “La molisana” orecchiette, cooking time 11 min. I cooked for 6 min….. in my Instant pot Ip lux 60! And I used the program “steam” instead of manual………..
    Only later I read better: Instant Pot ip lux 60 have only high pressure!!
    In fact I made 2 mistakes: 1) using IP , 2) the wrong program (steam).
    Anyway it was good! Al dente. It was a little bit watery, but I sauteed 3 min and it was perfect.
    Why you recommend Low pressure to cook pasta?
    And why your book is published only in english?
    I’m looking forward your comment….
    Ciao, Antonella

    1. Ciao Antonella, I’m glad that it all turned out OK for you. I recommend using low pressure because it is easier to figure out the “pasta cooking time.” Low pressure is generally twice as fast as regular cooking while High pressure is generally three times as fast as regular cooking. That’s where “halving” the pasta cooking time advice from my pressure cooker pasta recipes comes from.

      Don’t worry, “steam” on the Instant Pot works just like “manual” – it has the same pressure.

      When the publisher sells the rights to a publisher in Italy – the book will be translated in Italian. There are no takers so far, unfortunately.



  16. Hi Laura,
    good luck for your book!
    Anyway I was surprised about what you said about High pressure being three times faster than normal cooking time.
    I cooked my orecchiette for 6 minutes, about half the 11 min cooking time. They were al dente!
    When I choose the “steam” program, I selected 6 min, and I pressed “adjust” and selected less. I don’t know if this is important.
    Or maybe just because the pasta was orecchiette, that “clogs” together… you know what I mean….. si attaccano tra loro e diventano come avessero il doppio dello spessore…. e cuociono con un tempo superiore…..
    I’m curious about your opinion.
    Good night!

  17. In Step 9 of the recipe, you say to cook for 5 minutes at low pressure. Should I assume that that is on manual setting?

    1. Yes.
      Because there are lots of variations of preprogrammed settings out there, Laura always specifies Manual. It is generally easier anyway. I know I cannot remember what all the presets do on mine.

      Of course If you have a program on your PC that matches these setting, by all means use it.

  18. As far as tomato paste – is the canned tomato paste fine like Contadina or do I need to look specifically for the tube that says concentrated and if so, do I get double or triple concentrate?

    1. Absolutely, tomato paste is usually the same whether it’s from a can or a tube. Just be aware of its origins. There was a big scandal in Italy earlier this year about rotten, bleached and colored Chinese tomato paste being sold to Italy and used in prepared products for exports. If you’re buying an Italian tomato paste, make sure that on the label on it says “made with 100% Italian tomatoes” (not “Made in Italy” – which could mean it was only packaged here). I don’t know if there is an analogous sign for things made with U.S. grown products or even if the American producers are making their products with low-quality Chinese tomato paste.

      Here is an Italian video about it – you don’t need to speak Italian to see and understand the pictures of metal barrels being opened to show the tomato paste on its way to Italy for packaging. Later, the vendor describes different qualities based on color (staring at 6:28 in the video they call the colors “coffe”, “dark”, “light”, “bright” then they come out with “black ink”). The black one – the lowest quality – is expired, contains worms and is mixed with higher-quality paste to lower the cost of the final product. One of the vendors (starting at 16:14) says that their neighboring countries, Korea and Japan will not trust and refuse to buy their tomato paste!



  19. I downloaded this recipe to my Ipad, but I notice that the downloaded recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of tomato paste, whereas the recipe above calls for 1 tablespoon. I assume the tablespoon measure is correct. Is there a way to correct the recipe within the app?

  20. Laura,
    Thank you for the recipe. I was confused by the part of the recipe that said “3/4 cups water – to cover.” When I made this recipe in my Instant Pot, the 3/4 cup water I added did not cover the pasta at all, so I added enough water to cover. The pasta came out al dente but the broccoli were very mushy and I had to drain the pot of a lot of extra water. Is it okay if the 3/4 cup water does not cover the pasta at all? Thanks.

    1. The recipe says 3 – 4 cups water, not 3/4 cup. Perhaps it wasn’t so clearly specified back in September/16.

  21. Pasta came out mushy. Not sure what I did wrong. Used the same times and everything.

    1. James, can you share with us the kind of pressure cooker you used (if stovetop what cooktop)? If you halved the pasta cooking time, just-covered it and used low pressure it could be a problem with the pasta quality.

      If you used frozen broccoli, for example, it would extend the time the cooker needs to reach pressure and overcook the pasta.



  22. Never received a reply to my comment. It seems like I’m not the only one who had a bad experience with this recipe.

  23. To G: I read the recipe to say 3 to 4 cups of water, not 3/4. The water should just barely cover the pasta and when I made it the broccoli came out very soft. Laura said it is supposed to be like that so that when you stur it all up it turns into a creamy sauce.

    1. Thanks Ann, and sorry G ! I try to answer everyone but sometimes the comments slip through the cracks. I apologize if you didn’t get a timely answer. For now: What Ann Said. : )



  24. To James: I made another pasta dish similar to this and the pasta came out too soft, but I think I accidently used High pressure instead of Low. The next time I made it, I made sure to use Low pressure and the pasta was fine. I have found that some types of pasta work better than others. For me, Torino and Cavatapi work best. Sometimes my Farfalle cone out with the center “knot” still a bit undercooked.

  25. That should have been “rotini” but auto correct changed it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe: