A delicious cheesy ziti that is made in the Instant Pot that easily comes together in under an hour for a quick weeknight meal. This pasta features a flavorful meat-packed sauce with both Italian Sausage and ground beef paired up with your favorite jar sauce that’s finished with cheese. This is perfect paired with Instant Pot Green Beans with Onions, or followed up by my Instant Pot Monkey Crack Bread!
History of Ziti and Johnny Marzetti
The smells of a perfectly baked ziti wafting through the house on Sunday afternoon makes for a delightful family meal. According to The Pasta Project this dish is Neapolitan in origin and is a traditional Southern Italian dish where the pasta is actually broken by hand. This dish was normally served at weddings, holidays, and celebrations where family was important so breaking the pasta by hand was an activity everyone in the family could take part in.
Who is Johnny Marzetti anyhow? He was the brother-in-law of Teresa Marzetti who immigrated to Columbus, Ohio from Italy then opened a restaurant with a famous dish of ground beef, pasta sauce, cheese, and pasta that is know today simply as Johnny Marzetti. A popular and much loved dish of Ohio State University students this became popular across the mid-West for how easy it was to prepare and how flavorful it was.
Prep the ingredients for cheesy ziti
Dice one onion and one green pepper then put the Instant Pot on saute. Cook until softened, about two-three minutes. I like to put a little salt and pepper on them. Next, add the minced garlic to saute for about a minute. Then add the Italian sausage and ground beef to cook until no longer pink. Add the oregano, pepper, salt, and hot red pepper flakes to the meat while it cooks.
Next pour in the beef broth, add the ziti pasta on top but do not stir, the cream cheese, Worcestershire sauce, and jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce. Again do not stir anything, and be sure to dot the top of the pasta with the cream cheese then pour the sauce on top. I added a pinch of sugar to the spaghetti sauce while it was in the jar then shook with the lid closed to cut down on the acidity of the tomato sauce.
Cook the cheesy ziti
At this point, seal the lid and cook on high pressure for 5 minutes then follow with a quick release. Remember since this is pasta you’ll want to release in short bursts in order to prevent any sort of mess from the pasta water if there is any.
Once the pressure is fully released remove the lid, and now give the contents a good stir. Next set to saute, and add all the yummy cheeses. I used mozzarella, parmesan, and a six-cheese Italian blend for a total of 2 1/2 cups of cheese but you can use any of your favorite Italian cheeses. It should only take a few minutes to melt the cheese so stir constantly to keep from sticking. Also, if the heat is to much you can always cancel then turn back on if needed! 🙂
You can serve immediately, however, I do suggest a rest time of five minutes. The leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for up to one week.
Instant Pot Cheesy Ziti (Johnny Marzetti)
- 1 onion diced
- 1 green pepper diced
- 1 tbsp garlic minced
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pound Italian sausage not in casing
- 3 tbsp oregano
- 3 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp hot red pepper flakes can be increased to one
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- 24 ounces spaghetti sauce
- 3 cups beef broth I used unsalted
- 1 pound rigatoni or any 12 minute pasta
- 2 cups mozzarella or combination of Italian cheeses
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
- Set Instant Pot to saute then add the diced onion and green pepper then cook until softened. Add the garlic and saute about a minute. Add the ground beef, Italian sausage, oregano, pepper, salt, and hot red pepper flakes. Cook until the meat is no longer pink.
- Turn off the saute function, add the beef broth, Worcestershire sauce. top with pasta but do not stir. Cube the cream cheese and dot the top of the pasta. Pour the spaghetti sauce on top. Do not stir. Close the lid and cook on high pressure for 5 minutes then follow with a quick release in short bursts.
- Set pot to saute then add cheese and stir until melted. Rest for a few minutes if desired then serve immediately or store in an airtight container for up to one week.