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What sets this recipe apart from a standard throw-in-the-packaged-food-and-cook casserole are the quality of ingredients. The fresh Italian flavor comes from Alessi, a family-owned company that’s been in the business of making tasty, authentic Italian cooking staples for 72 years!


This casserole comes together quickly in 3 easy steps:

  1. Brown the sausage and sauté the veggies in the Instant Pot using the Sauté function. 
  2. Layer the sausage mixture, polenta, pesto, and sauce and repeat. 
  3. Cook on the manual setting for 5 minutes! Once cooking is complete, there will be excess liquid in the pot from the veggies. To evaporate the extra liquid and thicken the sauce, simply turn on the Sauté function again and let everything bubble for 5 minutes. 


The steps for making this casserole in the slow cooker are quite similar to the Instant Pot. The only difference is that you’ll cook the sausage and veggies in a separate pan on the stove. 


Layer in the ingredients and cook the casserole on high for 2-4 hours or on low for 4-6 hours. Much like the Instant Pot version, there may be excess liquid in the pot. To take care of that, cook the casserole uncovered for the remaining 30 minutes.


The whipped ricotta is an extra special finishing touch to the casserole. When whipped with the garlic and lemon juice, the ricotta becomes light and airy with a bright, tangy flavor. A dollop of whipped ricotta on top of the warm casserole will melt into the marinara, adding rich and creamy flavor to an already dynamite sauce. Finally, an extra drizzle of pesto and some freshly grated parmesan cheese over the top will take this casserole to the next level!

There you have it! A next level casserole made in your Instant Pot or slow cooker with all pantry-friendly ingredients found at your local grocery store! And I’m not just talking about the produce and sausage. You can find Alessi products at most local grocers or online.

View the recipe here

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