The best sausage for this sort of easy pasta casserole are the fat links that come five or six to a package. (Or, of course, honest-to-God Italian sausages from an Italian butcher. But who would freeze those instead of grilling them right up and snarfing them down?) If you haven’t thought in advance to slice the sausages into 1-inch bits before freezing them, don’t worry. Sausages are so full of fat that they slice easily, even when frozen.
1lbfrozen hot or mild Italian sausage(pork or turkey; gluten-free if that is a concern), cut into 1‑inch pieces
3cupsplain marinara or spaghetti sauce24‑ounce jar
1tbspdried Italian seasoning blend
1lbfrozen bell pepper strips4 cups, any color
12ouncedried zitior gluten-free dried ziti
6ounceshredded mozzarella cheese(1 1/2 cups)
Press the button SAUTÉ. Set it for HIGH, MORE, or CUSTOM 400°F and set the time for 10 minutes.
Mix the sausage, marinara, broth, and seasoning blend in an Instant Pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until many wisps of steam rise from the liquid. Turn off the SAUTÉ function; stir in the bell pepper strips and ziti. Lock the lid onto the pot.
Option 1Max Pressure Cooker
Press Pressure cook on Max pressure for 5 minutes with the Keep Warm setting off.
Option 2All Pressure Cookers
Press Meat/Stew or Pressure cook (Manual) on High pressure for 6 minutes with the Keep Warm setting off. The valve must be closed.
Use the quick-release method to bring the pot’s pressure back to normal. Unlatch the lid and open the cooker. Stir in the shredded cheese. Set the lid askew over the pot and set aside for 5 minutes to melt the cheese and let the pasta continue to absorb excess liquid. Serve by the big spoonful.
• Use any frozen vegetables you like. But since pepper strips are classic, don’t ditch them entirely, even if you want to add other frozen vegetables.
Consider 8 ounces frozen bell pepper strips plus 8 ounces of another vegetable, even frozen chopped onion.
• Skip the purchased Italian seasoning and make your own blend: Combine 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg, and 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds.
• Garnish the servings with stemmed and minced fresh herbs, particularly parsley and oregano.
• And/or drizzle a little balsamic vinegar over each serving.
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