Classic bolognese meat sauce made in half the amount of time. Instant Pot Bolognese is a hearty pasta dinner that will satisfy big appetites.
Bolognese is a classic Italian pasta sauce simmered for hours until it cooks down into a rich and deeply flavorful meat sauce.
I'm all for traditional recipes and slow cooking methods, but it's also nice to have a quick and easy version in your back pocket.
Just because this recipe is easy, doesn't mean it's not delicious. My Instant Pot Bolognese will satisfy all your cravings for a rich and satisfying pasta dinner.
I take a few (okay, many) liberties with this recipes, to make it as easy as possible for all of you bolognese-loving busy parents. This sauce is essentially made in 3 easy steps:
Once all the ingredients are in the pot, cook at high pressure for 20 minutes. To finish, simmer and thicken the sauce in the Instant Pot for 10 to 20 minutes.
Simple Short-Cut Meat Sauce
Use an Instant Pot: Pressure cookers are known for concentrating flavor that usually takes hours to achieve over a low, stovetop simmer. This Instant Pot recipes isn't done instantly, but it is ready in less than half the amount of time of classic Bolognese.
Use a Food Processor: This is the quickest way to finely chop the onion, garlic, carrot and celery.
Use Red or White Wine: I'm not the only one who occasionally adds white wine to her meat sauce. Both are good, with white being more subtle. Use what you like to drink and what you already have on hand.
Use Canned Crushed Tomatoes: Canned whole tomatoes are preferable, but then you have to chop or crush them yourself. I hereby give you permission to make life easier by using crushed tomatoes. (but not diced! see more about this below)
Add More Flavor
I've used the simplest ingredients possible in my Instant Pot Bolognese, which still makes an incredibly rich and delicious sauce. You can make the sauce even richer and more flavorful with a few changes:
- Use butter, instead of olive oil
- Use ground Italian sausage, instead of ground pork
- Add bacon or pancetta (saute in the beginning, before the ground meat)
- Add a pinch of nutmeg, bay leaf, fennel seeds and/or dried oregano
- Stir in a ½ cup of whole milk or cream when the sauce is finished
Diced vs Crushed Tomatoes
Canned diced tomatoes are cut into little chunks sitting in juice. Crushed tomatoes are more like a tomato puree. For this recipe, use crushed tomatoes.
Most canned diced tomatoes don't break down, no matter how long you cook them. You'll end up with mushy, semi-firm chunks of tomato in your bolognese, which isn't good.
Serious Eats explains what type of canned tomatoes you should use and why most chefs buy whole canned tomatoes, then crush them by hand.
More Pasta Recipes You'll Love
- One-Pot Spaghetti with Tomatoes and Kale
- Instant Pot Chicken Parmesan Pasta
- Shrimp Linguine with Arugula Pesto