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.
Instant Pot Pasta Bolognese
A Bolognese is the ultimate meat sauce simmered in red wine to create an unforgettably divine flavor. I like mine with a touch of cream.
- 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.
Digna Irizarry Cassens
This was my second recipe from your first book, Pressure Luck. I altered it a bit since I have a favorite spicier red gravy recipe, and with great trepidation cooked the pasta with it in the IP. It was such a hit! I made enough for 3 days, and the other 2 servings froze very well and reheated without mushing up. What I like the most is the simplified methods illustrated step by step. Great for beginner cooks yet good enough for experienced ones. For the price your book(s) are a perfect addition to any kitchen.
This is wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing it!
Do you use the same timing for gluten free pastas?
Barbara A Mingione
I would like to know that also
I just made this and used GF pasta fusili. I cooked for 8 mins but both myself and hubby agreed that it needed another minute, pasta was al dente.
This is THE BEST pasta recipe I’ve made in the instant pot to date, and I’ve had my instant pot for years! WOW this is so insanely good and easy, definitely a staple in my recipe collection 🙂
I couldn’t love this more! 🥰
Fantastic and so easy to make
That’s what I strive for!
We made this for dinner tonight. My four year old loved helping cook and my husband said, “oh this is amazing! This is the jam!”
If adults like my food, I’m thrilled. If KIDS will eat them? Cherry on top.
Incredible recipe and very easy to make! Has anyone tried doubling the recipe in an 8qt IP? The recipe as it stands will probably serve 6 adults but I want to be on the safe side.
I’m hoping to get an answer too! I have 4 adult boys. This doesn’t look like enough.
It would be extremely helpful if all of these great recipes had servings info included. I’ve made several of them, all amazing, but I’m never sure if I’ll have enough.
They do. Just above the recipe card.
This recipe looks AMAZING! I am going to make this tomorrow, however, I wanted to know if this size of recipe would work in the new Instant Pot Ultra 10-in-1 “mini” size. If not, should I halve the recipe?
I have an 8 quart Instant Pot. I wouldn’t double the recipe, but another recipe I’ve tried calls for 2 pounds of meat. I use ground beef and sweet Italian sausage taken out of its casing. Always keep in mind that the inner pot can only be filled to the 2/3 line. The only time I’ve filled my pot higher is with Jeffrey’s Pot Roast recipe to which I add extra carrots and potatoes in the foil packets which rest on top of the meat. The 8 quart pot allows for a bit extra but not double. I selected the 8 quart because I’m used to using that size or larger in my stove top cooking. I usually cook for 4 to 6 people. I hope that Jeffrey doesn’t mind that I answered this question.
Is it possible to adapt this recipe for a smaller IP? I would love to try this as my first dinner recipe in my new 3 quart Duo, and would really appreciate your suggestions.
Sure! Simply halve it. Cool time remains the same.
If I wanted to make just the sauce (no pasta in it so I can freeze it) would I just leave out the beef broth?
I want to know this also! I made it per the recipe, and it was amazing, but I was hoping to just make the sauce next time.
The pasta came out perfect and had so much flavor (I just added pepper instead of salt- personal preference). Thank you.
Jeffrey, I have only used your recipes in my Instant Pot that I received last Christmas and have not been disappointed. All easy to follow and so delicious! You may have this tip somewhere on your site but how do I adjust a cooking time when using a gluten free rather than a full gluten (regular) pasta? A couple of times I had to substitute for my daughter and the pasta did not cook to perfection as usual. Thank you!!
Thanks, Mary! Thanks for the lovely words. This is all in my book. 😉
Can I just make the meat sauce and leave out the pasta? I usually freeze the sauce to use in other dishes.
I’m wondering the same. Will it change the cook time without the pasta? Sometimes I’m all about the bread & the sauce! 🤤
This would be good to know as well. Anyone tried it?
FYI. This is a fan favorite meal when we go camping! Last time I made at home and reheated in crock pot at low temp. Why I need to make w/sauce only – so the pasta doesn’t get broken up when stirring.
Did anyone find out if we can just make the sauce without the pasta and if the cook time remains the same? Would we still need to add the broth? I would love to put this over zoodles instead of pasta, especially since it is summer in the south lol! Thanks in advance! Love all these recipes!!!
Just wondering if you don’t have the tomatoes could you use your favorite sauce instead? I love Rao’s!
Sure! Great brand 😉
The real thrill is to make the pasta from scratch! I prefer that because I use white whole wheat flour for the healthy effects. Homemade pasta make a huge difference in this dish…trust me!
Do you alter the directions for fresh pasta? I’ve recently gotten into making fresh pasta. But haven’t tried the instant pot because I wasn’t sure how it would change.
I can’t wait to make this. May hubby has a brain tumor and I have been meal prepping so when he has surgery and comes home, I will just be able to grab something already made for him. I love Bolognese. Thank you for what looks like
This is a rustic style Bolognese, which I prefer over the smoother form. I am very traditional so I left out the Boursin and seasoned salt for a bit more kosher salt. I upped the cream to 1/2 cup. Also, since I am traditional, I used Chianti Classico for the red and Pinot Grigio for the white.
Never had Bolognese—have bad reaction to tomato based sauces, but decided to try your recipe. Wow! Loved the creaminess of the sauce. Will definitely make again and gladly suffer the consequences!
looks so yummy.
looks very appetizing and delicious. thank you.
This was SO GOOD! We made it exactly as directed including cream and Boursin (though used rigatoni) and it’s one of our favourite meals (up there with the Mediterranean chicken stew and beef stew of Jeffrey’s).
Such rich flavour from cooking in wine. Definitely going to make again.
Hi Jeffrey. This Bolognese was unbelievably good! I’ve had my ip for nearly 10 months now (Xmas pressie) and every single one of your recipes hits the spot, without fail. Thank you.😁
Good recipe. Its works and delicious.
I HAVE A COMPLAINT! I thought I was the only one who could make a really good pasta bolognese. After many years of trying, eating and testing, finally i have found one that is so easy to make. My complaint is that I have to bow down and say thankyou ( well not a complaint, rather a compliment ). The aromas from your recipe made me swoon and I was so glad that you made it so easy. Thankyou, Thankyou, Thankyou. nom, nom, nom
This is the only time the complaint department is happy!
I want to ask for tips on choosing the right spaghetti
Just the best sauce in the world of Bolognese. Did it first time in the late 60s for my restaurant in Finland. Clients were demanding for the recipe which I never gave away and they kept coming for more and more for spaghetti Bolognese a la Mr. Carrier. Thank you very much.
Can I make this with linguine or fettuccine? My husband won’t eat ziti.
Sure. Break the noodles in half, layer in a criss-cross fashion and cook for 6 minutes for linguine and 8 for fettuccine.
Maybe a crazy question–but here goes. Can I serve this pasta to someone who is not comfortable with alcohol? Or does the alcohol burn out? Thought I’d serve for the holidays but some guests are staying away from alcohol. Also, can I feed it to a child??