Pressure Cooker Lasagna
Yield: 4 servings
Cook Time: 50 minutes (1 hour & 10 minutes making optional pasta sauce)
Whenever my mother made lasagna it seemed like an all day affair. First, she would spend all day making and boiling the pasta sauce and then boiling the noodles. Then she would have to cook the sausage, mix the cheeses and then assemble everything. And when all that was complete, she would then have to bake it for an hour. All so that we could have a nice Italian dinner. Unfortunately, my mother didn’t use a pressure cooker so lasagna was very labor intensive.
Nowadays, lasagna can be cooked quickly and efficiently thanks to pressure cookers. At first, I didn’t even know that it was possible to make lasagna pressure cooker style. I couldn’t conceive of it being cooked in this device. It took a good friend of mine to show me how to do it and once she did, I was hooked. I was completely blown away.
So I fired up my pressure cooker and made my first lasagna. I noticed that my cooker significantly cut the cooking time down to a fraction of the time it took my mother. While my mother would spend about 6 hours making lasagna, I could now make it in about an hour. It was like a miracle. Check out my recipe and you’ll see that it’s not only easy to make but also very delicious.
- 1 box of lasagna noodles
- 1 jar of pasta sauce (for homemade: see below)
- 1/4 pound of Italian sausage
- 8 ounces of ricotta cheese (or cottage cheese, in a pinch)
- 1 egg
- 2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon of parsley
- 2 teaspoons oregano (dried)
- 1 teaspoon basil (dried)
- 1 teaspoon thyme (dried)
Pasta Sauce (optional):
- 2 small onions (chopped)
- 2 garlic cloves (minced)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 6 cups peeled tomatoes (chopped)
- 1 can tomato paste
- 2 ounces brown sugar
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons oregano (dried)
- 1/2 teaspoon basil
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Pasta Sauce Instructions (optional):
Note: This pasta sauce recipe is optional. If you would rather buy store bought pasta sauce and don’t want to go through the trouble of making your own, then feel free to skip this section.
Chop up all of your vegetables and set aside. Set your pressure cooker to Saute or Brow and add your olive oil to it. Now add the onions and saute them until tender. When they’re soft, go ahead and add the tomatoes, the garlic, the salt, spices and bay leaves. Put the lid on the pressure cooker and set to High. Cook for 10 minutes. Quick release the pressure, add the tomato paste and the brown sugar and then place the lid back on the cooker. Set to High again and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and discard it. Place the pasta sauce in a bowl, cover it and place it in the refrigerator to cool.
The first thing you are going to want to do is to mix the filling for the lasagna. So take a large bowl, put the ricotta cheese in it, add an egg and then stir in 1 cup of mozzarella cheese. After you’ve done that, then stir in 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese, all of the parsley and the oregano, basil, and thyme. Set this mixture aside.
Now you’ll want to cook your sausage. Take a ¼ pound of Italian sausage and place it into your pressure cooker. Now set the cooker to Saute or Brown and cook the sausage into it is thoroughly cooked. Remove it from the cooker and set aside. Make sure that you thoroughly clean the pressure cooker before moving on to the next step.
Now you’ll want to find a heatproof container that will actually fit down inside your pressure cooker. I used a 7-inch spring-form pan for this purpose. I was something that would fit nicely into my cooker. Then I added a layer of dry noodles to this spring-form pan. Those that didn’t fit, I broke so they would fit into the pan. Once I had the noodles for the lasagna in the pressure cooker, I then ladled a cup of sauce over it, topped it with the sausage and approximately half of the cheese mixture I just made.
I then added another layer of noodles to the pressure cooker lasagna and once again added the sauce, the rest of the meat and the rest of the ricotta cheese mixture. I then made one last layer of noodles, added some more sauce and then added the remainder of the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. The pressure cooker lasagna was now ready to be placed into the cooker.
I covered the top of the lasagna with a layer of foil to keep out moisture that would turn it into a soup instead of a pasta dish. I then added 1 & 1/2 cups of water to my pressure cooker. I then place my lasagna pan on a steaming rack and lowered it down into the cooker.
I then sealed my pressure cooker, locked the lid and set it on high heat. I allowed it to cook for approximately 20 minutes. After that time had elapsed, I then set my pressure cooker to Warm and let it sit for an additional 15 minutes. When that time had elapsed, I then quick-released the pressure. When the lid was safe to remove, I did so and retrieved the lasagna (using a towel and oven mitts to keep from burning myself).
After I removed the lasagna from the cooker I placed it on the counter and allowed it to sit for an additional 10 minutes. Then I removed the spring-form sides and cut the lasagna. It was now ready to serve to my family.
I like to serve my lasagna with a nice crusty bread or some kind of garlic bread. I also like to serve a nice spring salad along with it. Serve all that with a little bit of red wine and you have a dinner that the family won’t soon forget.