This orecchiette pasta with whipped ricotta is a gourmet-level vegetarian recipe that’s super easy to make and customize!

Cook this delicious Instant Pot orecchiette pasta with garlicky kale and parmesan, served over a plate of creamy ricotta!

Instant Pot Orecchiette with Kale on a plate

Easy Instant Pot Pasta

  • This easy one-pot meal is super easy to make in the Instant Pot.
  • This orecchiette pasta recipe is satisfying whether served as a vegetarian dinner, or customized to include sausage, shrimp, chicken, or any favorite protein.
  • Add extra vegetables to the mix, like broccoli, mushroom, and fresh or sundried tomatoes. Or keep it simple and stick to the recipe as written — either way, it’s fail-proof.
  • The whipped ricotta sauce is so easy to make, just mix 3 ingredients and add to the plate, no cooking necessary.
plated Instant Pot Orecchiette with Kale with a spoon

Ingredients and Variations

Orecchiette – Orecchiette pasta (orecchiette means “little ears” in Italian) has real gourmet appeal, but if it’s difficult to find, feel free to substitute any similarly-sized pasta like shells, (aka conchiglie) or farfalle.

Cheese – Parmesan adds that “umami” taste, but any aged salty cheese like asiago or romano will offer fantastic flavor. As for the ricotta, it’s so mild that it can be hard to duplicate, but in a pinch or to save pennies, try a light and mild cottage cheese instead. Goat cheese or feta could be used but may overpower the other flavors.

water , orecchiette , ricotta , garlic , kale , oil , salt , parmesan with labels to make Instant Pot Orecchiette with Kale

How to Make Instant Pot Orecchiette

The simplicity of this dish is part of its charm!

  1. Use the sauté function on the Instant Pot to cook the kale and garlic with olive oil.
  2. Add water, orecchiette pasta, and salt, and pressure cook (as per the recipe below).
  3. Vent manually, then stir in the parmesan and serve.

Tips for Perfect Orecchiette Pasta

  • Follow the cooking times in the recipe carefully to ensure that the kale and the pasta are not overcooked.
  • Prepare the serving plates with whipped ricotta ahead of time, so the pasta can be served piping hot on each plate.
  • Garnish the top of each plated serving with freshly ground black pepper, and some extra parmesan flakes, if desired.
spoonfull of Instant Pot Orecchiette with Kale

How to Store

  • Most pasta dishes, including orecchiette pasta, will last in the fridge for 3-5 days and can be frozen for up to three months.
  • Keep the whipped ricotta stored in a separate airtight container. Frozen whipped ricotta is safe to consume, however, the texture and flavor may be affected when thawed. But it’s so easy to make, so just whip up a fresh batch in minutes!

More Pasta Recipes

Instant Pot Orecchiette with Kale on a plate
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Instant Pot Orecchiette

Instant Pot Orecchiette is a smooth, creamy and quick fix for dinner.
Cook Time 20 minutes
10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Author I Don’t Have Time For That



For the Orecchiette 

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups kale stems removed & chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 4 cups water
  • 16 ounces dried orecchiette
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese grated

For the Whipped Ricotta

  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt


For the Orecchiette

  • Heat the Instant Pot using Saute-Normal function. Add the olive oil and allow it to heat for a minute. 
  • Add the kale and cook, stirring occasionally, until the kale has softened slightly, about 5 minutes. 
  • Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute. 
  • Add the water, orecchiette, and salt. Stir gently. Attach the lid and ensure the valve is in the “sealing” position. Set the Instant Pot to Pressure Cook- Manual for 4 minutes. 
  • Release the pressure manually by switching the valve to the “venting” position. Stir in the parmesan and set aside until ready to serve. 

For the Whipped Ricotta

  • Add the ricotta, olive oil, and salt to the bowl of a food processor and process on high for 4-5 minutes, or until the ricotta is light, fluffy, and smooth. To serve, smear the ricotta on the plate and top with the pasta and kale. Top with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, if desired. 


Leftovers will last in the fridge for 3-5 days and can be frozen for up to three months.
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Nutrition Information

Calories: 702kcal | Carbohydrates: 89g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 48mg | Sodium: 1361mg | Potassium: 463mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 3816IU | Vitamin C: 32mg | Calcium: 543mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian

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