There is no comfort food quite like lasagna and I’m not talking about the frozen version picked up from the grocery store when it’s on sale. I mean, rich, cheesy, homemade lasagna. My mom used to make it from scratch and then freeze them, but she’d spend hours upon hours grating, cooking, and layering all the ingredients! While I love to cook, I just don’t have the time that goes into a meal like that. Enter, my Instant Pot.
I’d seen some “lazy lasagna” recipes floating around the Internet and thought I would try turning my lasagna recipe into a deconstructed version with my favorite kitchen gadget! This is just that – a stirred up, slightly mashed lasagna! We promise it’s not a soup. We’ve experimented with the recipe to get it just right and have included a number of tips to help you avoid that pesky BURN notice that we all hate so much.
To brown the meat, you first use the Saute function. Cook up the onions, garlic, and beef in the oil and then drain some of the excess fat. The amount of fat will vary depending on whether you’re using medium, lean, or extra lean beef, but I recommend fighting the urge to drain all the fat and leaving a couple of tablespoons in the pot. This provides a “protective layer” at the bottom, reducing your chance of getting the dreaded BURN notice. Turn off Saute mode and add in the seasonings before adding a half cup of the broth. Stir gently to loosen up any food stuck to the bottom. Again, this is an important step to further reduce your chances of getting the BURN notice!
After you add in the tomato sauce and remaining broth, carefully place the noodles into the pot, making sure that they’re mostly submerged in the broth. This is the trickiest part of the recipe (and any Instant Pot recipe that is pasta-based). You need to very carefully press the pasta into the broth, but not so deep that they’re close to touching the bottom of the pot. During our experimentation, we got the BURN notice after pressing a larger quantity of pasta too deep into the mixture. When we released the pressure to see what had gone wrong, we saw that a number of noodles were stuck to the bottom of the pot. So pay careful attention to this step! Think of this recipe in terms of layers and keep the pasta in the broth layer!
The best part is how quickly this recipe comes together. Your Instant Pot will likely take in the range of 18-20 minutes to come to pressure depending on the size and model, but then it only cooks for 4 minutes! Then you quick release the pressure (so that the noodles don’t overcook) and voila! A dinner the entire family will enjoy, including the picky eaters!
Turn the Instant Pot to Saute mode and add olive oil, onions, and garlic. Saute until the onions have softened the garlic is aromatic.
Add ground beef and cook until browned, about 4 minutes. Turn Saute mode off and drain some (but not all) excess fat, if required.
Add in salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Add 1/2 cup of the broth and scrape the bottom gently to release any food stuck to the bottom of the pot.
Pour tomato sauce into the Instant Pot, lightly stirring the mixture. Add the remaining broth, but do not stir.
Lightly add pasta on top. Do not mix (this will help you avoid the Burn notice). If needed, gently press the pasta into the liquid until submerged!
Lid the pot and close the valve to sealing. Cook on Manual/Pressure Cook HIGH for 4 minutes.
When the cook time has elapsed, quick release the pressure immediately so the pasta doesn’t overcook. Remove the lid.
Gently stir in the cottage cheese and 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese. Then sprinkle the remaining mozzarella on the top of the lasagna and place the lid back on the pot.
Let sit for 5 minutes until the cheese is melted. Top with fresh basil, if desired. Serve hot!
If you want to reduce the fat content slightly, reduce the total amount of mozzarella cheese to 1 cup and only sprinkle on top/do not mix any in. You can also use low-fat cottage cheese, instead of full fat.
Rhiannon loves to cook and bake but has also never said "no" to a takeout burrito (see, she's just like you!). Despite slowly running out of room in her cabinets, she continues to expand her collections of cookbooks and kitchen gadgets and is deeply jealous of people who can just "whip something up" without a recipe. When she's not in the kitchen, you can find her camping and hiking with her husband and rescue dog, Waffles.
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