Are you in need of a hearty and comforting Bolognese sauce Made for Busy Weeknights? We've got the recipe for you! Our Instant-pot Bolognese sauce is a perfect meaty, easy bolognese sauce recipe that takes less time to make than it does to disappear into rumbling tummies. Well, maybe not that quick,⏤nevertheless, I assure you it's a lot quicker than the traditional way.
To be honest, I'm a huge fan of long, slow cooking, but sadly every day cannot be a slow-cooking Sunday. The traditional Bolognese sauce is 100% a slow-cooking Sunday kind of meal⏤Bolognese recipes tend to call for a very lengthy simmering time of 3-6 hours. That's a lot of slow cooking time it's definitely not a busy weeknight kind of meal.
This Instant-pot Bolognese sauce is all about ease and speed! It comes together in just 45 minutes because we've got to get dinner on the table on Wednesday nights, too.
Psst...how do you say, Bolognese?
Sigh! The struggle to correctly pronounce the name of this dish is real, my friends. Seriously, I even struggle with the correct pronunciation of the name of this dish. I find it very difficult to say or at least remember how to correctly say, and it seems everyone has a different opinion of its correct pronunciation. Is it Bolo-nayze. Bolo-neez. Bolo-nyay-zay? For instance, I was calling it Bolo-neez, but when I asked a friend how to pronounce the name of this dish, she responded with Bolo-nayze. 🤷🏼♀️ In the end, I just became more confused. I'll just let it go and accept I may have been incorrectly pronouncing this sauce for years.🥴
Bolognese vs Ragu
Oh, Bolognese, the perfectly tomato-y, meaty pasta sauce paired with pasta, it's the true king of comfort in a bowl!
We all know and love the classic Bolognese, a meaty sauce with a bit of vegetable; however, that leaves us with the question of "what's the difference between Bolognese and Ragu," which is appear to be the same meaty dish, right?
Let's do a comparison!
- Meaty tomato sauce
- Benefits from long cooking time
- Can have vegetables in it.
- No milk or cream is the sauce.
- Used and made everywhere in Italy with hundreds of variations
- Served with a thinner pasta most often Spaghetti
- Meaty Tomato sauce
- Benefits from long cooking time
- Carrots, onion, & celery are essential
- Milk is always in the sauce
- Served with a thick pasta like Pappardelle
- Bolognese sauce originated from the Italian city of Bologna
- Fewer variations of the recipe
Well, the answer is simple. In short, Ragu is a general term for any meaty tomato sauce, and Bolognese refers to a meaty tomato sauce with dairy that came from the region the sauce was famous for⏤it's that simple!
How to Make a Good Bolognese Sauce
Instant-pot Bolognese, here we come! Here are my simple steps, and one of them is "eat!"
- Choose good quality onions, carrots and celery. It's easy to overlook these base ingredients, but the sweet and subtle flavour can make or break your recipe. Celery is super savoury, onion is aromatic yet luscious, and carrots add just the right amount of sweetness—together they'll build a bright, lightly sweet base that'll really dress up your tomatoes.
- When selecting your beef, look for ground beef that's 20% fat—also known as "80/20." The fat in the meat really defines the flavours of this dish.
- Cook your beef lightly and spice generously. You'll only need to lightly brown the beef then season—no need to thoroughly cook the meat since we're going to use the pressure later. Add in the garlic and spice to the meat so the aromatics can do their magic.
- Choose a high-quality Italian San Marzano tomatoes and Passata sauce⏤nope. I didn't spell that incorrectly; passata is a strained tomato sauce. It's very important to choose a high-quality tomato product, so you can avoid having an overly acid tasting sauce.
- Pressure! The trick to a quick Wednesday night dinner is using an instant-pot or your pressure cooker of choice! There's not to pressure over the perfect dinner on a weeknight. Just set it and forget it.
- Simmer! For about 10 minutes, the sauce will reduce and thicken, and let your whole kitchen smell incredibly delicious.
- Cream! One of the ingredients that define the Bolognese sauce is the inclusion of dairy; it enriches the sauce and makes it incredibly luscious, silky and satisfying.
- Boil some water for pasta well the sauce is simmering, so you'll have a perfectly al dente pasta ready to go when your Bolognese is done.
- Mangia! That's the Italian word "EAT!"
More Cozy, Simple Weeknight Dinners
There are a few things I love more than the smell of crispy fall air and the sight of colourful trees, that is to spend my free time around the dining table, enjoying a homey meal made with a dash of love to share with the ones I love.
Here are some other cozy meals to try:
Let The Instant Pot Bolognese Taking the Guesswork Out of your Dinner!
We have no doubts this quick Bolognese will become your family's favourite. However, If you make this dish in your kitchen, snap a photo and tag us on Instagram using @deliciously.mediterranean and #deliciouslymediterranean. Mangia!
Instant pot bolognese sauce
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- 1 large carrot finely chopped or grated
- 1 large stick of celery finely chopped
- 1 lb beef minced
- 1 ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning*
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs*
- 1 dried bay leaves
- 4 garlic cloves roughly chopped
- ½ teaspoon chilli flake optional
- 1 large can 28oz of San Marzano whole tomatoes
- 1 cup passata sauce
- ½ cup water or stock
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Sautè the onions, carrots, and celery. Set Instant Pot to SAUTE–MEDIUM MODE. Add olive oil, onions, carrots, and celery, and cook until softened, about 3-5 minutes.
- Brown the ground beef. Add ground beef with salt and freshly ground pepper. Sauté for 5-6 minutes, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until most of the meat lightly-browned with just a little pink remaining.
- Season, then add whole tomatoes, paasta sauce. Add the Italian seasoning, Italian dried herbs and garlic to the beef mixture. Stir to combine. Pour in crushed tomatoes, then break up the tomatoes into large pieces with the back of a wooden spoon. Then pour in the passata sauce. Stir everything together.
- Cover and pressure cook on LOW. Put the lid on the Instant pot, seal, and set the unit to PRESSURE COOK MODE – LOW for 15 minutes.
- Quick-release the pressure and simmer. Release the pressure. Cancel the setting on the instant pot and reset to the SAUTE MODE – LOW. Simmer the sauce uncovered, for 5 minutes, stirring frequently until the sauce has thickened to your desired consistency. (The sauce will slightly thicken as it cools)
- Pour in the creme and serve. fold in the heavy cream or omit for a dairy-free sauce. Serve in your favourite pasta bowl of cooked pasta with plenty of freshly-grated Parmesan cheese and a sprinkling of parsley.
- Buon appetito!
Select the highest quality tomatoes you can afford
- choosing good tomatoes will help you avoid having an overly acid tasting sauce and reduce the need of adding extra sugar.
How to avoid the Burn message
- It's important to use the LOW setting on things like a meaty tomato sauce, it's the only way to ensure you don't burn your sauce.