5 from 2 votes
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Instant Pot Creamy Sausage Rigatoni Pasta

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This creamy Instant Pot sausage rigatoni recipe is simple to make, quick to prepare, and full of flavor! It’s ready in less than 30 minutes and full of Italian goodness! Serve with your favorite garlic bread and a side salad.

A white plate of rigatoni pasta sitting on a wooden table with scattered uncooked pasta.

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Who doesn’t love a good pasta dish? especially one that is creamy, hearty, and ready in 30 minutes. This Instant Pot Sausage Rigatoni recipe will have pasta lovers coming back for seconds! 

The dish starts with Italian sausage, which is cooked to perfection before being mixed with fresh spinach, chicken broth, and crushed tomatoes. It’s combined with rigatoni noodles and topped off with heavy cream and Parmesan cheese. A simple yet satisfying meal that your whole family will enjoy any night of the week!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe…

  • Quick and Convenient: Utilizing an Instant Pot means less time cooking and more time enjoying with family, with this dish coming together in 30 minutes.
  • Flavorful Italian Cuisine: The blend of Italian sausage, fresh spinach, and rich tomato sauce delivers a true taste of Italy in every bite.
  • Versatile Meal: Perfect for a cozy family dinner or impressing guests at a casual gathering, this dish’s appeal is universal.
  • Effortless Clean-up: Since everything cooks in one pot, there is minimal cleanup and more time to savor your homemade meal.

Ingredients For Sausage Rigatoni

ingredients you need for instant pot sausage rigatoni including spinach, sausage, rigatoni and pasta sauce.
  • Italian Sausage (I used Chicken): The centerpiece of the dish, chicken Italian sausage provides a leaner option while still delivering that herby and savory punch typical to Italian cuisine.
  • Rigatoni Pasta: Chosen for its tubular pasta shape and ridges, rigatoni holds the rich, creamy sauce well, ensuring each bite is flavorful.
  • Yellow Onion: A fundamental base ingredient in many dishes, it adds a subtle sweetness and depth when sautéed, enhancing the overall savoriness of the pasta.
  • Red Peppers: This not only adds a pop of color but also a slight sweetness and crisp texture that contrasts beautifully with the creamy sauce.
  • Minced Garlic: A crucial element in Italian cooking, garlic infuses the dish with its unmistakable aroma and sharp, appetizing flavor.
  • Olive Oil: Used for sautéing, olive oil is a healthy fat that contributes to the silky texture of the sauce and enriches the dish’s Mediterranean roots.
  • Crushed Tomatoes: They break down into a rustic sauce that clings to the pasta, while imparting a rich, tangy tomato base that complements the sausage.
  • Chicken Broth: This is the cooking liquid for the rigatoni, melding the flavors while adding complexity to the sauce.
  • Grated Parmesan: The salty and nutty notes of Parmesan cheese add a layer of umami, elevating the creaminess and balancing the tomato sauce’s acidity.
  • Heavy Cream: The defining ingredient for the luxurious mouthfeel of the sauce, heavy cream transforms the dish into a creamy delight.
  • Salt and Pepper: Essential seasonings that adjust the dish to the perfect savory note, bringing out the best in all the other ingredients.
  • Baby Spinach: Added towards the end, baby spinach wilts delicately into the dish, providing a fresh, slightly earthy component and a boost of nutrition.

The complete list of ingredients, quantities, and instructions can be found in the printable recipe card below.

Substitutions and Variations

Since this dish is very flexible, you can use a variety of ingredients to modify the dish.

Here are a few suggestions for modifying this dish to fit your family’s preferences:

  • The flavor of the sausage might be a moderate, sweet, or spicy Italian sausage.
  • You can use sausage made from pork, turkey, chicken, or vegan sausage!
  • You can use any jarred marinara or spaghetti sauce you like. Choose the one that your family enjoys the most.
  • To make this meal even more cheesy and creamy, substitute your favorite cheese.
  • If baby spinach isn’t available, kale can be a good substitute; remember that it may need slightly longer to wilt.
  • Penne pasta will work in place of rigatoni.

How To Make Sausage Rigatoni

Collage of cooking the ingredients for sausage rigatoni in an instant pot.
  1. Turn on the Instant Pot’s sauté feature. Add oil and diced onions, and cook until onions are soft.
  2. Put in garlic and sausage slices; cook until sausage is browned. (Photo 1)
  3. Pour in the chicken broth to clear any bits stuck at the bottom, then stir in the tomatoes. (Photo 2)
  4. Add uncooked pasta and spinach, secure the Instant Pot lid, and close the pressure valve. Set to high pressure for 7 minutes, then quickly release the pressure when done. (Photos 3, 4 & 5)
A collage of rigatoni pasta with and without a creamy sauce on an instant pot.
  1. After opening the lid, mix in the Parmesan cheese and heavy cream until the sauce thickens. (Photo 6)
Rigatoni pasta on a white plate with a slice of bread on the side.

Recipe Tips 

  • Even Cooking: Ensure that the sausage is evenly browned for a rich and consistent flavor throughout the dish.
  • Deglazing: When adding chicken broth, scrape off any bits stuck to the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. This technique, known as deglazing, not only prevents the burn notice but also infuses the dish with additional flavor.
  • Layering: To avoid the pasta from sticking, do not stir after adding the uncooked pasta. Instead, simply ensure that the pasta is submerged in the liquid before closing the lid.
  • Quick Release: Be prepared to perform a quick release of pressure to prevent overcooking the pasta. Overcooked pasta can become mushy and lose its texture.
  • Final Thickness: After stirring in the Parmesan and heavy cream, if the sauce is too thin for your liking, you can use the sauté function briefly to thicken it.
  • Cheese Quality: Use freshly grated Parmesan rather than pre-shredded cheese, as it melts better and provides a smoother texture to the sauce.
  • Customizing Heat: For those who desire a spicier kick, adjust the heat level by using mild sausages and adding red pepper flakes.

Alternative Cooking Methods

While the recipe above is optimized for an Instant Pot, you can certainly adapt it to other cooking methods, such as a slow cooker. The low and slow cooking process of the slow cooker is excellent for developing the flavors, especially of the sausage and the tomato sauce. 

Start by sautéing the onions and garlic and browning the sausage in a skillet before transferring to the slow cooker. Add the chicken broth, crushed tomatoes, and the remaining ingredients except for the pasta, spinach, heavy cream, and Parmesan. 

Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. About 30 minutes before serving, stir in the uncooked pasta and spinach and continue cooking until the pasta is tender. 

Finally, add the heavy cream and Parmesan, stirring until the cheese is melted and the sauce is creamy. Adjust seasoning if necessary, and serve warm.

rigatoni pasta on a fork.

Storing Tips 

To store leftover pasta in the refrigerator, allow the pasta dish to cool to room temperature before transferring it to an airtight container and storing it in the fridge. It will remain good for 3-5 days.

If you want, you can freeze it. But be warned that the cream and the tomatoes may separate when thawing and reheating. This won’t affect the taste, it just won’t look as appetizing. Allow the pasta to cool to room temperature before placing it in a freezer-safe container to be used later. It will keep in the freezer for 2-3 months.

It’s best to reheat this rigatoni recipe on the stovetop to avoid drying out the noodles in the microwave. Using a saucepan, reheat your pasta on medium-low heat; you may want to add a little chicken broth, water, or heavy cream to the bottom of the pot if your sauce needs some more moisture.

What To Serve With Sausage Rigatoni

You can’t go wrong with a simple salad and cheesy garlic bread, but if you are craving something green and acidic, my balsamic glazed brussel sprouts make a great side dish for this pasta. For dessert, go for something fresh like a peach galette, blackberry dump cake, or banana cream frozen yogurt!

Recipe FAQs

Can I make this sausage rigatoni ahead of time?

Yes, you can prepare this dish ahead of time by cooking it as directed and then storing it in the refrigerator. Reheat it in a pan over medium-low heat before serving. Remember to add a little extra liquid, like chicken broth or water, to keep the pasta from drying out.

What type of pasta is best for this recipe?

Rigatoni is ideal because its shape holds the sauce well, but you can also use penne, ziti, or fusilli if that’s what you have on hand. Just be mindful of the cooking time since different pasta shapes may require different cooking durations.

Can I make this dish vegetarian?

Definitely! Substitute the sausage for a plant-based alternative, and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.

Is there a dairy-free alternative to heavy cream?

For those avoiding dairy, coconut cream or a dairy-free half-and-half substitute can be used. However, coconut cream might add a slight coconut flavor to the dish.

Can I add other vegetables to this recipe?

Yes, feel free to incorporate other vegetables like bell peppers, mushrooms, or zucchini. Just be sure to adjust the cooking time as needed for different vegetables.

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Sausage Rigatoni and bread on a white plate.
5 from 2 votes

Instant Pot Creamy Sausage Rigatoni Pasta


Author: Kim Schob
Course: Instant Pot
Cuisine: American
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Yields 6 Servings
This recipe for creamy instant pot sausage rigatoni is simple to make, quick to prepare, and full of flavor! It’s ready in less than 30 minutes and full of Italian goodness! 

Ingredients 

Instructions

  • Turn on the Instant Pot's sauté feature. Add oil, peppers, and diced onions, and cook until onions are soft.
  • Put in garlic and sausage slices; cook until sausage is browned.
  • Pour in the chicken broth to clear any bits stuck at the bottom, then stir in the tomatoes and salt and pepper.
  • Add uncooked pasta and spinach, secure the Instant Pot lid, and close the pressure valve. Set to high pressure for 7 minutes, then quickly release the pressure when done.
  • After opening the lid, mix in the Parmesan cheese and heavy cream until the sauce thickens.

Notes

  • Even Cooking: Ensure that the sausage is evenly browned for a rich and consistent flavor throughout the dish.
  • Deglazing: When adding chicken broth, scrape off any bits stuck to the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. This technique, known as deglazing, not only prevents the burn notice but also infuses the dish with additional flavor.
  • Layering: To avoid the pasta from sticking, do not stir after adding the uncooked pasta. Instead, simply ensure that the pasta is submerged in the liquid before closing the lid.
  • Quick Release: Be prepared to perform a quick release of pressure to prevent overcooking the pasta. Overcooked pasta can become mushy and lose its texture.
  • Final Thickness: After stirring in the Parmesan and heavy cream, if the sauce is too thin for your liking, you can use the sauté function briefly to thicken it.
  • Cheese Quality: Use freshly grated Parmesan rather than pre-shredded cheese, as it melts better and provides a smoother texture to the sauce.
  • Customizing Heat: For those who desire a spicier kick, adjust the heat level by using mild sausages and adding red pepper flakes.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 483kcal (24%) Carbohydrates: 54g (18%) Protein: 15g (30%) Fat: 24g (37%) Saturated Fat: 12g (75%) Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g Monounsaturated Fat: 8g Cholesterol: 57mg (19%) Sodium: 1027mg (45%) Potassium: 543mg (16%) Fiber: 4g (17%) Sugar: 7g (8%) Vitamin A: 2117IU (42%) Vitamin C: 25mg (30%) Vitamin D: 1µg (7%) Calcium: 198mg (20%) Iron: 2mg (11%)

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