I Love Lasagna
Lasagna has long been one of my favorite meals. I always picture myself as a human version of Garfield the cat when we have it for a meal. Sometimes there are leftovers, but they seldom make it through the night, and never through the next day.
When we got our Instant Pot, our meal planning changed dramatically. Instead of eating out or buying “prepared” foods 3-5 times a week, it dropped to 1-2 times a week. Lasagna was one of the few things we still “bought out”, both in restaurants and buying our favorite frozen from the grocery store. I had never even considered trying to cook one on my own.
Then I ran across a great recipe on the A Mind Full Mom website, and I was hooked. Without a doubt, I’m not much on the “visual” side of things when I cook food, and my efforts with this pretty much show that; but wow, the ability to control the ingredients so it’s what I prefer instead what the restaurant or a frozen food company comes up with is great. Even with prep and pressure building times figured in, this is still takes about the same time as a frozen lasagna, but is so much better when you control what’s in it.
I will admit, I ran into a few problems on my first few attempts, but perseverance paid off. Once I got the techniques and tools down, I was able to concentrate on making it just the way I like. Obviously, your tastes may be different, feel free to experiment.
Better “Tools” Worked for Me
My first set of failures was the tin foil sling. A 7″ spring form pan fits in a 6 qt Instant Pot, but it doesn’t leave much room to lower and raise it; thus the need for a sling. I tried to follow the Mindful Mom’s instructions on making one, but mine just were never quite right. The first attempt, it broke as I was lowering it on the plate. Fortunately, it wasn’t much of a drop, so I didn’t lose the meal. The next time, I made it too narrow, and the pan was hard to handle.
The straw that broke the camel’s back was when it broke as soon as I started lifting it out of the IP. There was that beautiful lasagna stuck in the pot, and me struggling to find a way to get it out. I actually had it most of the way out when the whole IP went on it’s side. I still salvaged it, but it took a lot of juggling and help from my wife. I figured there had to be a better way.
That’s when I found a OXO silicone pressure cooker sling on Amazon. This solved the problem, and also serves a replacement trivet.
Disaster Turned Discovery
The next issue I ran into was when our ancient spring form pan broke. This was a major problem for me – between lasagna and cheesecakes, I used this a lot. Truth be known, when we first got the IP and I discovered I could make cheesecake in it (another favorite of mine), I didn’t even know what a spring form pan was. When I asked my wife if we needed to buy one, she said she thought we had one. She found it stored away in the back of a cabinet, probably where she put it 24 years ago when we first were married.
One day making this very meal, the latch broke as I opened it. That lead me to searching for a replacement, and I finally decided on the Genuine Instant Pot Silicone Springform Cake Pan, also from Amazon.
I was shocked at how well this has worked. Because it’s silicone, it’s very easy to peel off and have the lasagna (or cheesecake) retain its shape. For whatever illogical reason, the glass bottom seems more appropriate for serving than did the metal bottom on the old pan. I think my only complaint about it, and it’s a minor one, is I wish it were 3″ instead of 2.5″.
An added bonus is that this fits perfectly with the OXO sling mentioned earilier.
I made some changes to the original recipe. I like more meat in my lasagna so I doubled the meat. I also decided to mix it up a bit by using sausage and hamburger, so I used a 1/2 pound of each. I like mushrooms in just about everything, and lasagna is no exception. Finally, I increased the original amount of garlic a bit, and I prefer to use beef broth or stock instead of water for the liquid/steam for the instant pot.
Meaty Instant Pot Lasagna
- 6-8 no boil lasagna noodles
- 1/2 cup beef broth or stock
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning – divided for meat & Ricotta
- 3 cups Marinara sauce
- 8 ounces Mozzarella cheese shredded
For the meat mix
- 1/2 pound ground beef
- 1/2 pound sausage
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 onion chopped
- 1/2 cup sliced musrooms (optional)
For the cheese mix
- 16 ounces ricotta cheese
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/3 cup Parmesan Cheese freshly grated
Brown the Meat
- Turn the Instant Pot to Saute and let heat until hot.
- Add in ground beef or ground sausage. Begin to brown and break up meat into smaller bites.
- Add in kosher salt, 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning, minced garlic, and diced onion and mushrooms. Saute for 3-5 minutes or until meat is no longer pink.
- Once meat is browned, remove from pressure cooker using a slotted spoon.
- Pour in 1 cup of beef broth into the Instant Pot Inner Pan and Scrape up any browned bits of meat with a spoon or spatula.
- Turn Instant Pot off.
- If you are not using a silicone sling, add in trivet to the Instant Pot
- Mix together the ricotta cheese with an egg, 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder and grated Parmesan cheese.
Use a 7″ inch or 7″ oven safe cake pan to layer the ingredients for the lasagna.
- If you are using the silicone sling, put the spring form pan on the sling while your layering the lasagna
- Start with a thin layer of marinara sauce.
- Break up oven ready lasagna noodles to fit to cover the bottom of the baking pan.
- Top with half the ricotta cheese mixture.
- Sprinkle with half the meat mixture.
- Cover the meat mixture with marinara sauce.
- Add another layer of lasagna noodles, breaking to fit in a single layer over the marinara sauce.
- Top with remaining ricotta cheese mixture.
- Sprinkle with remaining meat mixture.
- Top with another layer of marinara sauce.
- Add final layer of lasagna noodles, breaking to fit again.
- Top with generous layer of marinara sauce.
- Sprinkle generously with shredded Mozzarella Cheese.
Cook the Lasagna in Pressure Cooker:
- If you are not using the silicone sling, place the lasagna on the tin foil sling to help lower it in the Instant Pot and to easily remove it.
- Place lasagna on trivet inside pressure cooker. If using the silicone sling, simply lower it into the Instant Pot, the bottom of the sling will serve as the trivet.
- Place lid on lasagna and turn vent knob to “seal.”
- Set to high pressure for 22 minutes.
- Let pressure release for 10 minutes and then do a quick release for any remaining pressure.
- Let lasagna sit for 10 minutes before serving.
Brown the top of the lasagna (optional)
- If you would prefer a browned top to your lasagna, remove lasagna from the Instant Pot and place on a cookie sheet. Place lasagna under broiler for 3-6 minutes, watching carefully, as to not burn.