Instant Pot Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage

On our recent cross-country journey from Seattle to Florida in Pernell, we aimed to be as self-contained as possible, avoiding restaurants and restricting shopping trips as much as possible. I filled the fridge with a week’s worth of meals before we left by cooking meals ahead that could easily be reheated in the microwave, consumed right out of the fridge or cooked quickly in one pan.

Simple Instant Pot recipes fit this criteria, and a favorite is orecchiette pasta or lamb’s ear because of its shape. With few, easy to transport ingredients and quick prep, this dish has become a favorite on and off the road. It is pure comfort and nourishing, featuring a super vegetable in broccoli rabe, also known as rapini, high in vitamins A, C, and K as well as calcium and iron.

Although not vegetarian as prepared by me, it’s easy to make it vegan, and I’ve listed alternative ingredients to do that.

Serves 2 generously.

This recipe can be doubled for a 6 quart Instant Pot. Cooking times remain the same.


  • olive oil
  • 1-bunch of broccoli rabe (about a pound / 450g), washed, stems trimmed and discarded, cut into 1-inch (2.5cm) chunks.
  • 2 Italian sausages, hot or sweet, about 4oz. Casings removed. You can substitute vegan “meat” crumbles, Impossible burger, Beyond Burger, etc.
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced.
  • a pinch of red pepper flakes.
  • a couple of tablespoons white wine.
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 pound (220g) orecchiette pasta.
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese or vegan alternative.


  1. Select the sauté function on your Instant Pot. Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil and add broccoli rabe. Throw in a pinch of salt and cook, stirring once in a while until the vegetables are softened, about 3-5 minutes. Transfer cooked broccoli rabe to a bowl and set aside.
  2. Heat another tablespoon of oil and cook the sausage or meat substitute, breaking up the meat with a silicone spoon, until browned, about 5 minutes. 
  3. Stir in garlic and pepper flakes, and cook another 30 seconds. Stir in wine. Scrape up any brown bits and stir into meat. 
  4. Add stock and pasta.
  5. Cancel the sauté function.
  6. Lock the lid in place and make sure the pressure valve is closed. Select the high pressure function and cook for 4 minutes.
  7. Turn off Instant Pot and quick-release pressure. Once pressure is released, remove lid carefully.
  8. Stir in broccoli rabe, accumulated juices, Parmesan, salt and pepper to taste.


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