I’ve called this an Instant Pot pasta bake, but steps 1-3 can always be done on the hob over a medium heat. Simply make the sauce separately to the pasta (omit the 160ml of water and large pinch of salt from the sauce) and once you have boiled the pasta in salted water (following the cooking guidelines on the packet), stir through and then continue with step 4.
I’m a big fan of cooking pasta in the Instant Pot though. I love being able to cook the pasta in the sauce which helps swell the pasta with all its deliciousness. It also means I’ve used only one dish; saves on the washing up!
I included roasted butternut squash in this but it isn’t obligatory. I had peeled and diced (into 1cm cubes) a whole butternut squash, tossed in four cloves of crushed garlic and a tablespoon of rapeseed oil and roasted it at 200c for 35-40 minutes. I was saving half for a pasta salad and used half here.
You could leave out the ‘bake’ element all together and simple have this as a vegetable pasta dish. Leave out the cheese topping and this is vegan. If you are making this gluten-free you will need to use a suitable pasta.
- 1 tbsp oil
- 2 red onions, peeled, halved and sliced
- 1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped into half-inch pieces
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 10 basil leaves, torn
- 150g pasta (gluten-free if required)
- 500g passata
- 160ml water
- Large pinch of salt
- 150g frozen peas
- 1/2 butternut squash, roasted (see above) (optional)
- 50g grated cheese (optional – leave out or use a suitable replacement if making this dairy-free or vegan)
Step 1: Set the Instant Pot to sauté mode and add the oil and sliced onions. Cook the onions for five minutes until softened, stirring frequently.
Step 2: Add the diced pepper and continue to cook for another five minutes.
Step 3: Add the vinegar, salt, passata and water, along with the torn basil and pasta. Stir well and then replace the lid, ensure the valve is set to sealing and programme it manually to cook on high pressure for four minutes. Once cooked, manually depress by opening the valve with a tea towel and wooden spoon.
Step 4: Stir in the frozen peas, and roasted squash (if using), season to taste and then transfer all of the pasta into an oven-proof dish. Sprinkle over the grated cheese (if using) and put in a preheated oven (180c) for twenty minutes until the cheese is golden.