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. Oh. Wow! Going to make this on the weekend, no one will believe I pressure cooked it. The flavor has g.o.t. to be fantastic as it looks!

  2. This was such a favourite of mine when I was a child – and still is, actually, when I really need a treat. My favourite version includes a few fried aubergines thrown in the mix.

  3. Looks great! I use pressure cooker quite a bit but I never tried to make pasta…. sounds like a great way for it to absorb all flavors!

  4. This looks like a keeper for me. I will be doing this ASAP.

  5. I’ve got to try it to believe it. That looks really yum yum!

  6. Sandra, Anna… come back to let us know how you liked it!



  7. Cafettiera Rosa… sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing your variation of pasticcio di pasta!

    Paola, you’ve got it. Pressure cooked pasta reaches maximum flavorage!!



  8. interesting web site

  9. This dish was absolutely YUMMY! I live with two very picky eaters and both devoured and complimented this. It was sooo flavorful and the pasta was cooked perfectly. I substituted ground turkey for the beef and used whole wheat pasta. I also used olive oil instead of butter in the beginning and omitted the butter when adding the cheese. It turned out perfectly and I don’t feel that the changes took away from the original recipe. I will make this recipe again and AGAIN!!! Thanks!!!

  10. Kimberly, what a great set of modifications. I’m so glad that your whole family liked it!



  11. I made this for dinner with friends (one of whom is from an Italian family), and it went over wonderfully. A few commented that the use of fresh mozzarella was what really made it special.

    Thank you so much for the recipe!

    1. So glad to hear it was a hit!



  12. I have tried this twice and both times I end up with a blackernd pressure cooker bottom.

    1. Hi, Thanks for the reply. I have a Fissler vitaquick 4.5l on an electric hob. Thinking about it, it basically has run out of water because it took a while to reach presure because I kept the temp lower than last time in case that was the reason for the bottom being burned. The water was more than the min mark on the cooker, but maybe I need to put in a lot more? with a higher temp?

    2. Can you tell me what kind of pressure cooker (model, size, manufacturer) you are using?

      Taking a stab at what might have gone wrong.. is that your pressure cooker has a higher minimum liquid requirement than one cup of water.

      Please leave more details so we can get you perfectly pressure cooked pasta!



    3. Hi, I used about 300g of beef and about 250g of pasta. I did bring it to the boil with the lid off first as well. I will try it again next week with a bit more water and bit less beef and see how I get on. Thanks for your assistance.

    4. I have a Vitaquick, but I could never get it to work correctly after 6 weeks of testing (two samples 3 weeks each). Even so, the base is pretty thick and it takes alot work to scorch things – so something went really wrong.

      Did you halve the recipe or make a pound of pasta with it? Did you scrape the meat off the bottom when you added the wine? Also, low pressure does not mean lower heat, you should still have high heat but move the pan to a cooler heating element when the first ring comes out of the pressure signal – longer time to pressure with lower heat means more time for things to scorch at the bottom before they come to a boil. So you definitely want to blast the heat at the beginning and then find just the right heat to maintain pressure during pressure cooking – and not have the valve go into over-pressure and emit steam while the ring is showing in the pressure signal – it’s ok for a little to come out while the cooker is reaching pressure.



    5. Ok, tried it again this week with a lot more water and success. No burned pot this week and it turned out very nice.

  13. I recently discovered your blog, and I love it! Thank you for all the wonderful recipes. I made this for dinner tonight with whole wheat noodles, and my family loved it. Thank you.

  14. Loved the original recipe, tonight I came up with a Southwestern variation which was also good.
    Sub: Chorizo for the ground beef.
    Sub Onion, Bell Pepper, Garlic and Jalapeno for the Mirepoix.
    Sub Tequila for the Red Wine.
    Sub Cheddar cheese
    Add 1/2 T Cumin.

  15. Can I just tell you how much I LOVE that you list the ingredients in grams as well?? That is such a rare thing to find and living in Peru, grams are the way to go!
    Trying this recipe (just the sauce part) as we speak! :)
    – KCan

    1. Thank you, I’m glad to read it’s appreciated! I live in Italy, so like you I have to convert everything. I write both measurements AND include instructions for electric pressure cookers so there are NO barriers to making any of the recipes on this site.




  16. Hi Laura, Yes I agree, thank you for this blog, I have gained much more confidence. My husband is vegetarian and I bought the pressure cooker to use to cook pulses. Have you got a vegetarian version of this pasta. I like the one dish method.


    1. Hi Laura, the spinach pesto pasta is looks great, especially since we have silver beet growing in our garden. I’m excited. Thank you, Denise

    2. Denise, you can make the Spinach Pesto Pasta recipe, and then tumble it into the casserole and cover with mozzarella.

      OR, make this recipe and leave out the meat but add a cup of black, roughly chopped, olives.

      Let me know how it turns out!



    3. Anonymous–
      I make this recipe using 1 c of sausage flavored TVP (textured vegetable protein). It comes dry from the health food store usually from the bulk foods.
      You reconstitute it with a like amount of water. I usually use either vegetable stock, or a heaping tbsp of McKay’s chicken or beef seasoning which is a powder you mix with water to make a broth.
      You combine the broth and the TVP, and cook it over medium heat until the TVP has plumped up and the broth has evaporated, and then continue with the recipe as directed.
      We are vegetarian, and this method works for any recipe where I have tried to replace ground beef.
      Hope it works for you.

  17. I didn’t have time to go to the butchers so took a portion of bolognaise sauce from the freezer (which I cook in bulk in the pc and then freeze for emergencies like this!) placed it frozen in the pc, added a tin of crushed tomoatoes, poured in the penne pasta and added enough water to almost cover the packed down pasta around the frozen sauce. I then followed the recipe instructions from there (i did grate parmesan over the top layer before grilling it and sprinkled with chopped basil before serving) and the kids had lots of fun eating the mozzarella strings. Will try buffalo mozzarella next time :) But so easy using one pot and a home cooked dinner in ten minutes – will be doing this again. Thanks Laura.

    1. Thanks for sharing your short-cuts. So glad the family enjoyed it!



  18. I made this slightly differently – I already had meat sauce on hand – and barely used enough water to cover (in fact it didn’t cover all of the top layer of pasta), let it rest and… still it was watery.

    Flavour fine, pasta al dente, but not happy about the wateriness. Help!

  19. I made this tonight after searching for something quick to make with ingredients I had on hand. It was a BIG hit with the whole family. I used olive oil instead of butter, and added about 8 ounces of chopped mushrooms when cooking the meat. It will become a monthly staple at our house! Thank you! I can’t wait to try some of the other recipes here!

  20. We hardly ever cook with minced meat (usually preferring to eat chicken) but this recipe looked so tasty and easy I bought mince to try it. Well that was several mince packs ago as this has become a firm favourite for husband and I! Thank you Laura.

  21. I’ve tried this twice and it is very tasty.

    However both times my pressure cooker burnt. The first time pretty bad so I added more water the next time. It turned out a little too watery but still burnt the bottom

    What did I do wrong?

    1. henneke, can you tell me more about the pressure cooker you have? And, if it’s a stove top, what kind of range (electric, gas or induction) are you using?



  22. Hi Laura,

    I have a fagor duo pressure cooker. I cook on an electric (glass plate) stove top. I do know it takes a while to cool off so I usually work on two different burners.


  23. This pasta was delicious! Thank you for such creative PC recipes.

  24. Can anyone translate this recipe for use in an electric Instant Pot DUO 7-in-1? I just received mine and have never used a pressure cooker before. Also, will it make a difference if you leave out the salt? My husband is on a low-sodium diet, so I have to eliminate salt wherever I can.

    1. Use the time indicated at high pressure (I tried the low pressure on the DUO and it was too low. Also, some types of pasta scorch for me in that pressure cooker – so use round “bulky” pasta like rigatoni or penne.

      Have fun!


  25. Do you really mean two cups of tomato puree? That’s a lot! It is only sold in small tins or tubes here in the UK.

    1. What comes in the small tins and tubes is called tomato concentrate pate. Tomato puree is also called “Passata” in the UK.



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