Instant Pot Creamy Italian Mac & Cheese is the ultimate comfort food pasta dish! Full of creamy, cheesy noodles, sausage, and sun dried tomatoes!
Completely obsessed with this! I know I say that a lot but, man, this is maybe my fave macaroni and cheese now! I mean, Instant Pot Creamy Italian Mac and Cheese...just the name makes my mouth water! Our traditional Instant Pot Mac and Cheese has consistently been one of our most popular recipes and a huge reader fave over the last couple of years. I wanted to basically do that, but with a twist. Let's change up the dinner routine a little. This recipe still comes together really fast with hardly any extra work. It's also definitely the perfect comfort food to indulge in while it's still comfort food season!
Italian Mac & Cheese Ingredients:
- We start with browning Italian Sausage in hot olive oil along with chopped onion. You'll do this on the saute/more mode of your IP. As far as the sausage, I use mild. You can do sweet Italian, hot, or even Italian turkey sausage if you wish.
- After your sausage is browned, you can turn the pot off. Our seasonings of garlic, basil, oregano, red pepper flakes, and of course salt and pepper get stirred in. Don't skip the pepper flakes, they don't make the dish hot, but give it nice flavor!
- Now we'll add in a jar of chopped sun dried tomatoes (without their oil). Broth, water, and your pasta shells go in and make sure to give it a quick stir.
- You'll cook on manual/high pressure for 4 minutes. Then, do a quick release.
- Next in goes your fresh spinach. Stir it around a few times and it wilts down perfectly from the heat of the pasta. Then, stir in your cream and cheese, we use a combo of provolone and parmesan for some simply amazing flavor.
Recipe Tips and Notes:
- As always, this recipe can be made in a 6 quart or 8 quart Instant Pot because that is what I test in. I have not tested this recipe in any other sizes, so results can vary.
- This recipe calls for using a mixture of broth and water. If necessary, you can use all water, but I don't recommend using broth only as we found that it came out too salty.
- This recipe using shells comes out perfectly for us at 4 minutes, if you like very soft noodles, cook for 5 minutes total.
- During testing we found that we LOVED the flavor of this dish the most with provolone and parmesan. The parmesan you should definitely not skip at all. As the recipe creator of course I am going to tell you that provolone is best also. But, if you must sub it out, I'd recommend going with white cheddar or gouda. You can use mozzarella, but the pasta will be more "stretchy" rather than creamy.
Instant Pot Creamy Italian Mac & Cheese
- 2 teaspoons Olive Oil
- 1 Pound Italian Sausage
- 1 Small Yellow Onion Diced
- 3 Cloves Garlic Minced
- 1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
- 1 teaspoon Dried Basil
- ¼ teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- 8 Ounce Jar Sun Dried Tomatoes Chopped
- 2 Cups Chicken Broth
- 2 Cups Water
- 1 Pound Medium Shell Pasta
- ¼ Cup Heavy Cream
- 2 Cups Fresh Spinach
- 2 Cups Shredded Provolone
- 1 Cup Shredded Parmesan
- Turn the instant pot to saute mode and add the olive oil.
- Once the oil is hot, add in the sausage and onion and cook, breaking up the meat as you go until cooked through, about 5-6 minutes.
- Turn the pot off and add in the minced garlic, oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, and salt & pepper to taste. Stir constantly for 1 minute.
- Add the chopped sun dried tomatoes, broth, water, and pasta shells to the pot.
- Place the lid on the pot and set the valve to sealing position. Cook on manual, high pressure for 4 minutes, then do a quick release.
- Remove the lid and add the cream and spinach to the pot and stir constantly just until spinach is wilted.
- Add the cheese to the pot in 3-4 handfuls, stirring well between each addition. Serve immediately. Leftovers should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator and eaten within 3 days.