Thursday, December 1, 2016

Instant Pot Creole Pasta

Back in the 90's when I worked in downtown Shreveport, we would often go to Pete Harris Cafe for their weekly lunch specials. Their specials were some of the best soul food around. Specials like chicken fried steak, smothered pork chops, fried fish and potato salad every Friday. All served with sides like greens, black eye peas, corn bread and peach cobbler for dessert. One of their more unique specials was creole spaghetti. It was a plate full of spaghetti with a rusty red sauce, smoked sausage, peppers and onions. It was so different, I had never seen anything quite like it. The cafe is long gone and I have tried replicating the recipe many times. I have made it stove-top with different shaped pastas, in one pot or multiple pots. I have used different brands of pasta sauce and sausage, it always turns out delicious. I have tried low sodium versions with canned Italian tomatoes and even substituting frozen onion and pepper blend, still so very good. Recently I tried adapting the recipe to the Instant Pot. I used the one pot pasta technique and it worked perfectly. Such a savory, smoky and delicious pasta dish with tons of creole flair! I like using the Instant Pot. It was a set it and forget method, no stirring. A few pieces of pasta that came in contact with the bottom of the pot got a little brown so I suggest patting the pasta into the liquid or stirring it into the top only just to be safe. This is a fast weeknight meal I will keep making in the Instant Pot. I hope you will too.

Instant Pot Creole Pasta
Serves 4 to 6


Olive oil
1 lb smoked sausage, sliced (I used Richard's Turkey Sausage)
2 medium onions, sliced
2 bell peppers, sliced
1 tsp. Cajun Seasoning, or to taste (I used Extra Spicy Mrs. Dash)
1 jar (28 oz.) Pasta Sauce, traditional flavor (I used low sodium Organic)
1 box (16 oz.) of spaghetti or pasta (I used penne)*


Place instant pot on saute. When hot drizzle with a little olive oil and add sausage. Brown sausage on each side. Add onions and peppers, sprinkle with Cajun seasoning. Stir to separate onions slices and combine ingredients. Turn off instant pot and add pasta sauce, one jar full of water and pasta. Stir to combine, scrapping the bottom of the pot. Pat down ingredients so that pasta is submerged in liquid. Cover pot and set to sealing, cook at high pressure for half of the time recommended on the pasta packaging (6 minutes for penne). When done turn off pot and let rest 1 minute before performing a quick release. Stir and serve.

*Note: If you prefer saucy pasta use less pasta, about 12 oz.

Stove Top Directions:
Bring a large pot of water to boil for the spaghetti or pasta of your choice. In another large pot, saute onions, peppers and turkey sausage. Sprinkle with Cajun seasoning. Add pasta sauce, bring to a boil and lower heat to just simmering. Cover pot and stir occasionally. Simmer for 15 minutes to let flavors blend and until pasta is done. Drop spaghetti and cook according to package. Drain pasta and toss with some of the sauce. Top with remaining sauce to serve.

One Pot Stove Top Directions:
In a large pot, saute onions, peppers and turkey sausage. Sprinkle with Cajun seasoning. Add pasta, pasta sauce and one jar full of water. Bring to a boil and lower heat to just simmering. Cover pot and stir occasionally. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until pasta is cooked to your taste and flavors have blended.

Low Sodium Version:
Substitute low sodium pasta sauce or 2 - 15 oz. cans of no salt added Italian tomatoes pulsed in a blender. Use Extra Spicy Mrs. Dash instead of Cajun Seasoning.

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