This is the best Instant Pot Pasta Alla Vodka with rigatoni, ground pork, vodka sauce, and a bit of spice. Try this one-pot pasta recipe for dinner tonight.
We love cooking one-pot meals like rigatoni bolognese in the Instant Pot. Since we’ve perfected how to cook pasta in a pressure cooker, we had to beef it up with a meaty, savory sauce like this.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
This shortcut one-pot recipe is rich in flavor and totally satisfying, thanks to plenty of ground pork. It’s kid-approved, stores well for leftovers, and you can easily change up the ingredients to use what you have on hand.
INGREDIENTS YOU NEED
Here’s what you need for this hearty pasta alla vodka with pork:
- Ground pork. You can also use ground beef, chicken, or turkey if you prefer.
- Baking soda. This is the key to deeply browned, caramelized pork that’s not too watery.
- Seasonings. Flavor your sauce with dried parsley, dried basil, Italian seasoning, black pepper, paprika, and red pepper flakes
- Onion and garlic for a delicious flavor base.
- Pasta. We use rigatoni.
- Pasta sauce. We use vodka sauce, but any kind of sauce will work.
- Cheese. For some meltiness on top, sprinkle your pasta with a shredded Italian cheese blend.
How to Make Rigatoni Alla Vodka with Sausage in an Instant Pot
Start by seasoning the ground pork with the baking soda, dried parsley, Italian seasoning, black pepper, paprika, and red pepper flakes. Mix gently, so as not to overwork the meat, then let it sit for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, preheat the pressure cooking pot using the Sauté setting. Add a tablespoon of oil and sauté the onion in the pot. Then add the garlic for a minute, then the seasoned pork. Cook until the pork is well browned and broken up into small crumbles.
Next, pour in the water and deglaze the bottom of the pot, scraping up any browned bits. Add the rigatoni and give everything a good stir.
Next, add the vodka sauce in an even layer on top of the pasta. DO NOT STIR. Cook at high pressure for 5 minutes for al dente or 6 minutes for softer rigatoni.
When the cook time ends, release the pressure with a quick release, and remove the lid. Stir the pasta and sauce in the pot, then serve your rigatoni and sausage with cheese and fresh basil on top. Enjoy!
Important Tips for Making Rigatoni Alla Vodka
- We like to make our own homemade “sausage” for this rigatoni recipe, since the sausages near us have fennel in them and they’re a bit too spicy for my family. If you have a store-bought sausage you love, you can skip the first step of seasoning the ground pork, and you won’t need to add the dried herbs or spices.
- When cooking the sausage in the pot, use a wooden spoon to break it up into small pieces without damaging the Instant Pot.
- Adding baking soda to the ground beef is a great hack for helping the meat brown nicely. We learned it from America’s Test Kitchen and use it for our Easy Instant Pot Ground Beef Tacos and Beef and Bean Chili.
Though you can skip adding the baking soda and soaking the meat for 20 minutes if you’re in a time crunch, we love how we don’t have to brown the meat in batches and how tender the ground pork becomes.
- You can also make this dish with ground chicken or turkey, if you prefer.
Frequently Asked Questions about Rigatoni Pasta with Vodka Sauce and Sausage
When we were testing this recipe, we had vodka sauce on hand. However, you can use any style of pasta sauce, depending on what’s in your pantry.
You can use any shape of pasta for this recipe. Just note that you may need to alter the cooking time. See our perfect Instant Pot pasta formula for a quick how-to.
We like to garnish our bowls of pasta with cheese and fresh basil. Then, we’ll serve it with nice crusty bread and steamed veggies or salad on the side.
Yes, you can simply swap the ground pork for ground beef with no changes to the recipe.
We tested this recipe with both Rao’s and Bertolli vodka sauce and liked it with both. Rao’s is more expensive, so we usually wait until there’s a sale and stock up.
Store cooled leftover pasta and sausage in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days.
We don’t recommend freezing cooked pasta, as it tends to get mushy when it’s defrosted.
MORE Instant Pot Pasta Recipes
Recipes you can make with this or other recipes you might like:
- Instant Pot / Pressure Cooker Bow Tie Pasta is a super fast kid-approved dinner that’s always a good idea on busy nights.
- Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs includes juicy, tender meatballs and everyone’s favorite pasta shape.
- Chicken Bacon Pasta in Garlic Cream Sauce is a super rich and comforting meal that comes together in one pot.
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- 1 pound ground pork
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 to 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, as needed
- 1 cup finely chopped medium onion
- 4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
- 1 pound (16 oz) uncooked rigatoni pasta
- 1 3/4 cups water
- 1 jar (24 oz) creamy vodka sauce (or your preferred blend)
- 1/2 cup shredded Italian cheese blend, optional, for serving
- Thinly sliced fresh basil, optional, for serving
- In a large bowl, combine ground pork, water, salt, baking soda, parsley, Italian seasoning, black pepper, paprika, and red pepper flakes. Mix until well combined, then let sit for 20 minutes.
- Select Sauté to preheat the pressure cooking pot. When hot, add 1 tablespoon oil and the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened (about 4 minutes). Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add the ground pork to the cooking pot and cook until pork is browned and broken into small pieces.
- Add the water and scrape the bottom of the pot to ensure no browned bits remain.
- Add the rigatoni, then stir until evenly mixed and flat on top. Pour the vodka sauce on top and DO NOT STIR. Select High Pressure and set the cook time for 5 minutes for al dente, 6 minute cook time for soft.* When the cook time ends, turn off the pressure cooker and use a quick pressure release. When the valve drops, carefully remove the lid.
- Stir the sauce and noodles until combined. (Remember, the pasta will continue to absorb the sauce as it cools.)
- Serve immediately, topped with the shredded cheese and fresh basil if desired.
*Make sure to follow the pasta formula. The rigatoni we tested this recipe with had an 11–12 minute cook time on the stovetop.
**If you’re in a hurry, you can omit the baking soda and water and skip the first step with the rest. Add the spices when you’re browning the meat.
***You can also use ground Italian sausage instead of the ground pork and spices. We don’t care for fennel or anise, which is a common ingredient in Italian sausage, so we prefer to make our own. You can also make this with ground chicken, turkey, or beef, with no change to the cook time.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 302Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 61mgSodium: 428mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 19g
Nutrition information is calculated by Nutritionix and may not always be accurate.
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