Go Back
a plate with whipped ricotta and pasta with kale

Instant Pot Orecchiette Pasta with Kale and Ricotta

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 20 mins
This easy pasta dinner cooks in the Instant Pot or stove top. Serve the pasta with creamy whipped ricotta for an irresistible pasta dinner.
5 from 2 votes


For the Orecchiette

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups kale, stems removed and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups milk, (use whole milk for creamiest consistency)
  • 16 ounces dried orecchiette
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan

For the Whipped Ricotta

  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Lemon juice, for serving


To make the Orecchiette

  • Heat the Instant Pot using the Saute function. Add the olive oil and allow it to heat for one minute.
  • Add the kale and cook, stirring occasionally, until the kale has softened slightly - about 5 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and thyme and cook for an additional minute.
  • Add the water, milk, orecchiette and salt to the pot. 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.
  • Carefully release the pressure manually by using a wooden spoon to switch the valve to the "venting" position. Be very careful because the steam is hot.
  • Stir in the Parmesan and set aside until ready to serve.

To make the Whipped Ricotta

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


To make this recipe on the stove top, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling water according to package instructions.
Sauté the olive oil and kale in a skillet until slightly softened. Stir in the garlic and thyme then remove from the heat and set aside.
When the pasta is done cooking, stir in the kale and prepare the whipped ricotta.
  • Pasta: Orecchiette pasta is the preferred type of noodle for this dish. However, similar types of small noodles work too such as penne, fusilli or shells.
  • Kale: Tuscan or standard kale works great in this recipe.
  • Liquids: This recipe uses a combination of water and milk to cook the pasta. You can substitute with all water if you prefer.
  • Thyme: Fresh thyme is preferred, but you can substitute with 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme.
Store leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.


Calories: 527kcal, Carbohydrates: 64g, Protein: 24g, Fat: 19g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 44mg, Sodium: 924mg, Potassium: 454mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 2698IU, Vitamin C: 27mg, Calcium: 417mg, Iron: 2mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
If you try this recipe, don’t forget to leave a review below or share a photo and tag @spoonfulofflavor on Instagram.