What do you get when you combine crushed tomatoes with some finely chopped onion, carrot and celery along with the most wonderful wine-infused ground meat that’s so rich in flavor? A Bolognese.
A traditional Bolognese takes hours to make in a saucepan. The meat must simmer in wine for flavor infusion with water often needing to be added so the meat doesn’t dry out as the sauce reduces. It’s a delicate balance and a babysitting job for sure.
Forget all of that here. Even better? This will all be done (pasta AND sauce) IN. ONE. POT. (Such as your Instant Pot or Ninja Foodi) and in a FRACTION of the time the old-school method without compromising any of the incredible flavor whatsoever.
Folks, I have created what I feel is the definitive Bolognese sauce. And I am sure you’re going to love it.
Here’s How I Made It! (scroll down to the bottom for the fully-written recipe):
Begin with a lovely onion…
…and dice it up.
Then take a big carrot that would make Bug Bunny envious…
…and dice it up as well, adding it to the onion.
Then, take some celery…
…focusing on about 2 stalks/ribs…
…and dice those up as well, giving them a playdate with the onion and carrot.
Oh. See those leafy tops within the celery stalk? Reserve those for later.
Head to the Instant Pot, add in some olive oil and give it heat.
Once the oil has a chance to heat up…
…add in the onion, carrot and celery. Stir it up the oil and allow to sauté for a few.
Then, add in some garlic and allow it to sauté for a moment as well.
Now it’s time to add the ingredient that makes this a Bolognese: MEAT! Use ground meat of your choice (I chose the holy trinity of veal, pork and beef).
Break the meat up in the pot as it sautés with the veggies for a few minutes…
…stirring often so it becomes nice and crumbled.
Now the key to making a Bolognese is some wine. Add some red…
…and allow the meat to simmer in it for a solid period of time. (DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP as it is key to giving the meat a rich and wonderful flavor).
After the meat has simmered in the wine, add in some crushed tomatoes…
…and the leafy tops reserved from the celery stalks.
Give everything a big stir together.
Finally, it’s time to add our pasta. I prefer a Ziti Rigati for this (a Ziti with ridges).
Add the pasta to the pot and push/smooth it down with the back of a mixing spoon so it’s submerged in the broth. BUT DO NOT STIR IT. This can can issues when the pot attempts to come to pressure.
After smoothing the pasta down so it’s submerged, it should look just like this. It is totally find if some peaks through the surface. Secure the lid and cook at high pressure.
When the lid comes off, the pasta will have cooked perfectly!
Give everything a good stir.
Now, my personal touch (although not always common in a Bolognese) is to add a little cream…
…and (you guessed it), Boursin! Although cream cheese will work too. This will simply amplify the flavor giving it a hint of creamy cheesiness.
Cut the cheese (whoops) into cubes…
…and then add it to the pasta and stir well until it fully melds into the sauce.
Serve up this beautiful Bolognese into some bowls.
And create a Parmesan snowstorm on top of it.
Stick a fork in this masterpiece…
…show it off to everyone you’re about to serve it to (as drool forms in their mouths)…
…and react dramatically.
- 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large Spanish onion, diced
- 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
- 2 stalks of celery, diced (reserve the leaves/leafy tops from the stalk if possible)
- 1.5 lbs of a ground meat of your choice (I used a veal, pork and beef mix)
- 1 tbsp of crushed or minced garlic
- 3/4 cup of dry red wine
- 1/4 cup of dry white wine
- 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes (use San Marzano if you can swing it – worth the difference)
- 2 cups of beef broth (I used 2 tsp of Beef Better Than Bouillon + 2 cups of water)
- 1 tsp of kosher salt
- 1 tsp of seasoned salt
- 1 tsp of Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp of oregano
- 1/4 tsp of nutmeg (optional)
- 1 lb (1 box) of Ziti Rigati (like a Ziti with ridges)
- 1/2 cup of heavy cream or half & half (optional)
- 5.2 oz of Boursin or 5 oz of a brick of cream cheese (optional, for an even richer experience)
- Parmesan cheese, for topping
- Add the olive oil to the Instant Pot and then hit “Sauté” and adjust so it’s on the “More” or “High” setting. Allow it to heat up for three minutes and then add in the onion, carrot and celery. Sauté for 5 minutes and then add in the garlic and sauté for 1 minute longer.
- Next, add in the ground meat, stir and allow it to sauté for 5 minutes with the vegetables until it crumbles and releases its juices (which we will keep in the as it adds a ton of delicious flavor)
- Pour in the red and white wine, stir it in with the meat and vegetables and allow the meat and veggies to simmer in it for 10 solid minutes (do not go less than 10 minutes as this is where the rich flavor is born into the meat as well as the alcohol burning off)
- Next, add in the crushed tomatoes, broth, seasoned salt, kosher salt, nutmeg, oregano and Italian seasoning. Stir everything together very well
- Lastly, add in the pasta BUT DO NOT STIR (or you may have issues coming to pressure). Simply press and smooth the pasta down with a spoon so it’s submerged in the broth (it’s okay if it peaks above a little)
- Secure the lid and hit “Keep Warm/Cancel” and then hit “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” for 6 minutes at High Pressure (this cook time is for Ziti Rigati. If using Rigatoni, go for 8 minutes). Quick release when done and give everything a good stir
- Finish it off by adding in the cream and the Boursin (or creme cheese) and stirring for another minute or two until totally melded into the sauce -OR- if you prefer it without the dairy and like it with just a meat-and-tomato base, simply leave out the cream and Boursin and serve as is!
- Serve in bowls and top with some Parmesan cheese, if desired
Sautéing the meat in wine is what truly makes a Bolognese a Bolognese. But if you can’t tolerate it, sub the wine with additional beef broth and simmer the meet in 1 cup of it in place of the wine for 10 minutes before adding the other 2 cups with the crushed tomatoes prior to pressure cooking.
As mentioned, the cream and Boursin/cream cheese is optional but I think it makes it the greatest and most flavorful Bolognese out there! It doesn’t over-cream the sauce at all, but rather gives it a wonderful hint of additional flavor and color while allowing the meat to remain the star of the show.