Instant Pot Beef and Macaroni (Bolognese/Johnny Marzetti) with homemade meat sauce will feed a crowd in under 30 minutes, but tastes like you were cooking all day.
My husband loves meat with pasta, I’m the opposite. I like my pasta with just sauce and a dollop of ricotta cheese, that’s it. To keep the peace, I alternate between meatless pasta and a pasta with meat, whether it be a meat sauce or Hungryman Barbecue Meatballs on top of his pasta.
Imagine making a one pot pasta dish with a sauce that tastes like you cooked it all day. With your Instant Pot, Ninja Foodi or Pressure Cooker, you can have dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes.
This Instant Pot Beef and Macaroni (Bolognese/Johnny Marzetti) is probably his favorite, as it is loaded with meat. This was cooked in my 8 Quart Pressure Cooker, which I absolutely love! The 8 quart size is fantastic if you need to double the recipe.
Can Other Ground Meat Be Used?
- Certainly. You can use ground beef, turkey, chicken, rabbit, whatever protein you like for Instant Pot Beef and Macaroni.
We use ground turkey quite a bit, in place of beef. Since I prefer my pasta sans meat, I will make myself the Instant Pot Spaghetti Dinner and hubs can have his meat.
Pro Tip: Use spaghetti noodles and you’ve got spaghetti and meat sauce!
After the pot is hot, add your oil and start to brown the meat.
If your meat is frozen, this Meat Mix N Chopper is great to use while sautéing to break the meat into small pieces! No one wants clumps of meat!
By the way, you are all invited to join my Instant Pot and Pressure Cooker Facebook Group for more recipes and inspiration!
Break up the meat really well and then add in the chopped onions.
For a super duper simple spaghetti dinner, check out my Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs recipe and you will find an easy recipe using pre-made sauce and meatballs. That being said, you can use that recipe and use your own meatballs.
Sometimes you are in a rush and just want to toss everything into the pot and push a button. It is an incredible recipe I created years ago and it is now found all over the internet. People cannot get enough.
Sauté for a few minutes and then toss in the garlic and sauté for another minute.
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Should I Drain Out Excess Liquid?
- This is up to you. Fat adds lots of flavor. Some meat gives off more than others, so use your judgment.
- Ground turkey is a very dry and doesn’t give off much fat. In fact, I usually add a bit extra oil when sautéing ground turkey. We love flavor.
My Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Spaghetti Squash and Meat Sauce is great for those doing low carbs or wanting to enjoy a veggie with a spaghetti meal. That sauce is very similar to this, so if you love this Instant Pot Beef and Macaroni dinner, you will love the spaghetti squash meal just as well!
Add in the rest of the ingredients, except Cavatappi and mix to combine.
Why use jarred sauce when it is so easy to quickly make your own. Really nothing to do but toss in all the spices and tomatoes.
If you just want to make a big pot of Spaghetti Sauce in your Instant Pot, Ninja Foodi or Pressure Cooker, my Pressure Cooker Spaghetti Sauce takes less than 30 minutes to prepare and you will think it cooked all day. Use it for meatball submarine sandwiches!
Dump in the Cavatappi, right from the box.
Does Brand of Pasta Matter?
- Absolutely it does. Very often I say to buy the best ingredients, which you can afford. For pasta however, while you should still buy the best you can afford, De Cecco holds up really well under pressure, so think about using this brand.
- Interestingly enough, it is super cheap when you buy this De Cecco Cavatappi Pasta on line here as you the prices are usually cheaper than in the grocery stores. You can get all shapes and most are in packs of 5 or 12, so you can take advantage of the lower pricing.
I do love the Cavatappi shape for this recipe though as it is just so cute and fun to eat. Any macaroni or pasta you like will work. Remember to check the notes section below for the TOG Pasta Rule of Thumb so you can find the cook time for your type of pasta or noodle.
Give it a good stir. This is going to be wonderful!!!!
How yummy does this Instant Pot Beef and Macaroni look? The hubs really enjoyed this meal!
There are only two of us in my home, so you can be sure that my freezer is stocked with leftovers.
Sprinkle on some Asiago, Parmesan, Pecorino, Romano, whatever you like. Chef Boyardee, see ya later! If you don’t want meat with your pasta, try my Pressure Cooker Quick Spaghetti Dinner.
More Pasta Recipes to Try:
- Instant Pot Creamy Baked Ziti
- Instant Pot Tuna Noodle Casserole
- Instant Pot Steak Fajitas Pasta
- Instant Pot Jalapeno Macaroni Ham and Cheese
- Instant Pot Philly Cheesesteak Pasta
Kitchen Equipment and Essentials
- Instant Pot, Ninja Foodi or Pressure Cooker
- .A. Henckels Classic 7-inch Hollow Edge Santoku Knife
- Amco Advanced Performance 18/10 Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons
- Simply Gourmet (Dry) Stainless Steel Measuring Cups
- Anchor Hocking Glass (Liquid) Measuring Cups
- Cilio Olivewood Spatula
- Rachael Ray Stoneware EVOO Oil Dispensing Bottle
- Porcelain & Bamboo Salt Box with Spoon
- De Cecco Cavatappi Pasta
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If you share a picture of something you make from our blog, tag it with #thisoldgalcooks so we can see it. We might feature it on Instagram! It makes my day when I see you’ve made one of our recipes!
Here is the handy printable recipe:
- 1 pound Ground Beef (or turkey, chicken, Italian sausage, rabbit, bison)
- 1 pound Cavatappi or other Macaroni
- 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/2 medium Yellow/Brown Onion diced well
- 1/2 medium Green Bell Pepper diced (optional)
- 3 Cloves Fresh Garlic minced fine
- 28 ounces Pureed Tomatoes (Jersey Fresh)
- 15 ounce Tomato Sauce
- 3 ounces Tomato Paste
- 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (2 Tbls if using turkey) (or fish sauce)
- 2 teaspoons Dried Basil
- 2 teaspoons Dried Parsley Flakes
- 2 teaspoons Sea Salt
- 1 teaspoon Light Brown Sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 1/4 cup Dry Red Wine a good Cabernet!
- 2.5 cups Fresh Water
- Select Sauté or Browning on your Pressure Cooker and allow it to heat.
- Add olive oil to the Pressure Cooker cooking pot and swirl to coat bottom.
- Add ground beef (or whichever ground meat you are using) and break and smash into pieces as you brown.
- When meat is partially brown, add onions (and peppers, if using) and sauté until meat is mostly brown.
- Add garlic and sauté one more minute.
- Drain excess grease, if needed. You don't need to drain if you don't want as the fat from the meat will add more flavor.
- Add the rest of the ingredients.
- Lock on the lid and close the Pressure Valve.
- Cook on High pressure for 4 minutes for Cavatappi Pasta. See notes for cooking times for other types and shapes of pasta or noodles.
- When Beep sounds, allow a 5 minute natural release, then carefully do a quick release.
- Top with freshly grated cheese.
This Old Gal's Pasta Rule of Thumb
- Look at package of pasta and find the variable cook time. Choose the lesser time given and then subtract 2 minutes. For example, if your package of pasta says "cook for 8 - 11 minutes," take that 8 minute number and cut it in half, which is 4. Then subtract 2 minutes from the 4 minutes and you will end up with the proper cook time. In this example the cook time will be 2 minutes.
- After the 2 minute pressure cook time is up, wait 5 minutes and then release the rest of the pressure.
- If the variable cook time on your package of pasta is 11 - 16 minutes, err on the lesser side. In this instance, the cook time would be 3 minutes. It is better to end up with overly firm pasta rather than mushy because you can continue to cook the pasta, but if it is mushy, there is nothing you can do to correct.
- If the pasta is too firm or al dente for your taste, simply put the lid back on the pot and let the pasta sit in the hot pot. The residual heat will continue to cook the pasta. Check after a few minutes to see if the pasta has reached the perfect firmness for your liking. If not give it a stir and let sit some more.