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Instant Pot Sausage and Kale Pasta

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Instant Pot Sausage and Kale Pasta is an easy one-pot dish.  Make this hearty, flavorful, and creamy recipe from prepped to perfect in just about 30 minutes! Stovetop instructions also included.

Sausage and Spinach PAsta

One-pot pasta dishes are all the rage! I completely get it. It’s magical to put a quick, filling, and nutritious meal on the table with minimal effort and cleanup, especially after a long day of work and parenthood. 

Zuppa Toscana Pasta

This pasta recipe is basically like a Zuppa Toscana turned into a pasta! I love the flavors of hearty sausage, tender kale, buttery cream, and a little bit of cheese and heat in Zuppa Toscana.  This recipe doesn’t include bacon, but you could EASILY add in bacon for an even closer flavor.

The pasta is basically a direct substitute to the potatoes in my favorite soup recipe, and I know you’ll love it, too!

a bowl of zuppa toscana in a blue bowl

If you haven’t already, check out my Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana recipe!

Instant Pot Bowtie Pasta

Although I include stovetop instructions, here are a few reasons I love this Instant Pot recipe:

  • The sauce is extra creamy and tasty because it soaks up the flavor from the sausage and the starch from the pasta. 

Fun fact, adding starch is a chef’s trick to thicken pasta sauces. Pressure-cooked noodles cook so quickly they don’t have time to release starch, creating an extra thick and silky sauce.

closeup of Instant Pot bowtie pasta with sausage and kale
  • Instant Pot bowtie pasta has a great texture. If you’ve been around here long enough, then you’ll know that Instant Pot pasta is a controversial topic. Check out this post for a detailed explanation. 

Basically, Instant Pot pasta does not produce the same result as stovetop noodles. Certain pastas cook better than others in the Instant Pot, such as fettuccine, linguine, shell, and bowtie. If you make this recipe, I recommend using anything but spaghetti.

How to make Instant Pot Sausage and Kale Pasta

  • Sauté the oil, butter, sausage, onion, and garlic in the Instant Pot on the SAUTÉ setting.  Cook until the meat is browned.
  • Add pasta, broth, and cream. Stir to combine.
  • Close the lid, turn the knob to sealing, and cook on manual high pressure for 10 minutes.
  • Allow a 10-minute natural pressure release (after the 10-minute manual high pressure cook). The display will count up to 10.
  • When the display says L0:10, release the remaining steam by turning the knob from sealing to vent.
  • Open lid, stir in kale or spinach, and let wilt.
  • Add Parmesan cheese. Mix and serve.
  • Add salt to taste, depending on the saltiness of your broth.
  • Add crushed red pepper, if you want a little extra spice.

Instant Pot sausage and kale pasta is a little spicy and very hearty.  Serve it with crusty bread or breadsticks to soak up every last drop of deliciously creamy sauce!

a forkful of Instant Pot bowtie pasta with sausage and kale

Tips for Instant Pot Sausage and Kale Pasta

  • Deglaze the Instant Pot after sautéing, when you add the pasta, broth and cream.  Deglazing sounds fancy, but it’s a basic technique!  It simply means adding liquid to a hot pan and gently loosening the caramelized bits, also known as fond, from the bottom. It’s how you get the flavor off the bottom of the pan and into your mouth!
  • Better than Bouillon is my secret weapon to make every broth, sauce, and soup taste savory, thick, and flavorful. It is a paste that you add into your liquid to make chicken broth and to intensify flavor. I like getting the reduced sodium and organic kind at Costco.
  • If you don’t have time to saute the sausage, no worries! Simply break up the raw sausage and add it to the pot with all your other ingredients.
  • Use high quality sausage. Keep in mind that the flavor of your soup depends greatly on the type of sausage that you use. I find that it makes a big difference to use a higher quality sausage. Personally, I like the Jimmy Dean brand. 
  • Use shredded Parmesan cheese. If you grew up like me with a green can of Parmesan cheese for spaghetti, just remember to use that for red sauce or topping. To make this sausage and kale pasta, use freshly grated Parmesan cheese, or pre-shredded Parmesan cheese. It will incorporate better and give the sauce a rich, nutty flavor. Yum!
  • Slowly add the cheese. If you add cold cheese to boiling hot liquid, it will seize, curdle, or clump. For best results, stir the noodles after pressure-cooking to release some of the heat and redistribute the sauce. Then add the cheese slowly while mixing. Do not add frozen cheese to the dish.
  • Leave the Parmesan cheese on the counter for a bit so that it’s room temperature when you incorporate it into the sauce.
  • If you have leftovers, store it in the same Instant Pot liner you cooked with to save dishes. I just use this silicone lid/cover and stick it straight in the fridge without having to transfer it to anything. Reheat the pasta with a splash of milk to avoid drying out the recipe.
a bowl of margherita pasta on a red napkin
If you like this recipe, you will be OBSESSED with this Instant Pot Margherita Pasta recipe. It’s a one pot meal that’s also vegetarian.

Pasta with sausage, kale, and tomatoes (+ other variation ideas)

Lots of people love pasta with sausage, kale, and tomatoes. This recipe would easily adapt by adding ½ -1 can of diced tomatoes, or 2 cups of cherry tomatoes to the pasta.  Here are a few other ideas for variations of this recipe:

  • Add your favorite vegetables when you sauté the oil, butter, sausage, onion, and garlic. For example, I think diced bell peppers would add a beautiful color and flavor.
  • Creamy pastas are very popular with broccoli. If you’d like to make this recipe with broccoli, simply pour uncooked broccoli florets into the Instant Pot after pressure cooking for 7 minutes.  Quickly replace the lid so as not to let too much heat escape, then let the broccoli and noodles steam for 5-8 minutes or until the broccoli and noodles are al dente.  
  • Add in frozen vegetables after cooking. This is my favorite trick to cool down hot meals to the right temperature for my kids. The hot noodles and sauce warm up the frozen veggies, and the frozen veggies cool down the fettuccine.

Let me know in the comments if you try any variations you like!

Stovetop Instructions

  • Boil and cook the noodles according to the package instructions.
  • Sauté the oil, butter, sausage, onion, and garlic in a large pot under medium high heat.  Cook until the meat is browned.
  • Add 1 cup of chicken broth and 1 cup of cream to the sausage.
  • Stir in the noodles, kale or spinach, and let simmer for about 5 minutes.
  • Add Parmesan cheese. Mix and serve.
  • Add salt to taste, depending on the saltiness of your broth.
  • Add crushed red pepper, if you want a little extra spice.

Instant Pot Alfredo

a plate of shrimp alfredo with bread on a blue plate

If you like this one-pot pasta dish, then you have to try my chicken alfredo, shrimp alfredo, or classic Instant Pot Alfredo!

About the author

About Lisa

Lisa childs holding an instant pot lid with a mickey instant pot

Lisa Childs is the food blogger behind Tried, Tested, and True. Join the hundreds of thousands of people each month that learn from Lisa-

Subscribe to her website, follow her on Instagram at @tried_tested_true, follow her on Pinterest, and find her on Youtube at Tried Tested and True. She is passionate about giving home cooks confidence using their Instant Pots. Make sure to sign up for our email newsletter to hear from personally from her weekly! Learn more about Lisa.

Instant Pot sausage and spinach pasta or sausage and kale pasta graphic
Instant Pot Sausage and Kale Pasta

Instant Pot Sausage and Kale Pasta

Yield: 5
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Instant Pot Sausage and Kale Pasta is an easy one-pot dish.  Make this hearty, flavorful, and creamy recipe from prepped to perfect in just about 30 minutes! Stovetop instructions also included.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 lb ground Italian sausage
  • 1 tablespoon dried onion flakes
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 12 oz Bowtie pasta, dry (about 5 cups)
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups chopped kale or spinach, packed
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Instructions

    1. Press the Sauté button and adjust to High. Add the oil, butter, sausage, and onion in the Instant Pot and cook until the meat is browned.
    2. Add the garlic and the chicken broth to the meat and scrape the bottom of the pot to deglaze the pot. Ensure all the browned bits are scraped off the bottom of the pot.
    3. Add the bowtie pasta, heavy cream, and stir completely. Push the noodles down and try to get everything as submerged as possible.
    4. Close the lid, turn the knob to sealing, and cook on manual high pressure for 10 minutes.
    5. Allow a 10-minute natural pressure release (after the 10-minute manual high pressure cook). The display will count up to 10.
      When the display says L0:10, release the remaining steam by turning the knob from sealing to vent.
    6. Open lid, stir in kale or spinach, and let wilt. Kale will take longer than spinach but both are delicious.
    7. Add Parmesan cheese. Mix and serve.
    8. Add salt to taste, depending on the saltiness of your broth.
    9. Add crushed red pepper, if you want a little extra spice.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 5 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 780Total Fat: 67gSaturated Fat: 35gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 33gCholesterol: 173mgSodium: 1261mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 2gSugar: 6gProtein: 27g

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