This rich meaty Classic Bolognese Sauce in an Instant Pot or Stove Top is quite simply delicious! In the Instant Pot, it is quicker than making it the traditional way, but this recipe can also be made in your slow cooker or a dutch oven. This classic Bolognese meat sauce is great for dinner and perfect for feeding a crowd.
Bolognese Sauce is also called ragù. In Italy, ragù is a term used to describe a type of meat sauce that has been cooked for many hours over low heat. This Bolognese Sauce recipe is perfect for the Instant Pot because it shortens the time from 6 hours down to 1 1/2 hours.
Building Blocks of our Bolognese Sauce recipe
Authentic Bolognese Sauce is better when you build the sauce in this order:
- Make a “Soffritto” which is a mixture of carrots, celery, and onions that are uniformly chopped and sautéed with olive oil until soft and translucent. Soffritto is an important building block in Italian cooking.
One of the nice things about the Instant Pot is that you can sauté everything right in the pot, much like a dutch oven on the stovetop. Sautéing starts to build the flavors.
2. Add the diced pancetta and lightly brown. This will really deepen the flavor before you add the ground pork and beef. Once you add the ground meats season well with salt and pepper and cook until most of the juices have evaporated.
3. Add the tomato paste and garlic and allow the flavors to blend for a few minutes before you add the dry red wine. Be sure to deglaze with the wine by scraping up any of the brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Don’t skip this step because those brown bits are full of flavor! Simmer until the wine is mostly evaporated.
4. Before you pressurize the Bolognese you will need to add the liquid. In this case, add crushed tomatoes, water, and parsley.
5. Your meats are already cooked so you are just going to pressurize for about 20 minutes to deepen all the flavors. If you are cooking in a slow cooker double the water and cook for about 6-7 hours. If cooking on the stovetop double the water and cook over low heat for about 3 hours.
Cooking Classic Bolognese in a slow cooker or on the stovetop
The recipe is the same as in a pressure cooker, except for the cooking time.
- In a slow cooker begin cooking on high for 2 hours and then cook on low for an additional 5 hours or until thickened.
- On the stovetop cook on medium for about 30 minutes, and then turn to low and simmer for another 2.5 hours or until thickened.
Finishing your Classic Bolognese Sauce
Finishing a classic Bolognese Sauce in an Instant Pot is the same as in a slow cooker and a dutch oven. Once you have the thick consistency you want, add a small amount of heavy cream if desired.
Classic Bolognese Sauce is traditionally served over a wide noodle, such as Tagliatelle, Pappardelle or Fettucine. These sturdy cuts of pasta will stand up to the weight of the sauce. Top with a sprinkling of shredded Parmesan cheese.
I used the Instant Pot DUO Plus 6 quart for this recipe and it was the perfect size.
Suggested Wine Pairings:
The history of Bolognese sauce dates back to late 18th century Bologna, Italy. When thinking of wine pairings for this classic dish look no further than Italy itself. Sangiovese is one of the great indigenous grapes from Italy. This medium-bodied wine is the perfect pairing for our Classic Bolognese Sauce.
Your weekday wines:
- Gabbiano Chianti Classico Riserva, Italy
- Tenuta La Badiola 642 II Canapone Red Wine, Italy
Your weekend wines:
- Castello Banfi Sangiovese Rosso di Montalcino, Italy
- Antinori Guado al tasso II Bruciatto, Bolgheri
A special occasion wine:
- Castello Banfi Sangiovese Brunello Di Montalcino, Italy
- Bibi Graetz Testamatta Sangiovese, Italy
Other dinner ideas:
- Perfect Pan Seared Scallops
- Slow Cooker Irish Pot Roast
- Classic Beef Stew
- Garlic Mushrooms over Pasta
- Cornish Game Hens with Roasted Root Vegetables
Classic Bolognese Sauce in an Instant Pot
- 6 Quart Instant Pot, Large Slow Cooker, or Large Dutch Oven
- 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1½ cups onion, diced
- ½ cup carrots, dice
- ¾ cup celery, diced
- 4 oz pancetta, diced
- 1 lb ground beef chuck
- 1 lb ground pork
- 1 Tbsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 Tbsp tomato paste
- ½ cup dry red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir or Merlot
- 28 oz tomatoes, crushed
- ¾ cup water*, see notes below for slow cooker and stovetop
- ½ cup Flat-leaf parsley, divided
- ⅓ cup heavy cream or half & half
- 1 lb wide noodle cooked pasta, tagliatelle, pappardelle, fettucine
- ½ cup Parmesan, freshly grated, optional
- Heat Instant Pot to highest Saute setting. Add olive oil and heat until shimmering.
- Add onions, carrots, and celery and cook until softened and golden, about 8 minutes.
- Add Pancetta and saute 1 minute. Add ground chuck, ground pork, salt, and pepper and continue to saute until meat is brown and most of the juices have evaporated. If you have excess fat, carefully remove insert, drain and return to Instant Pot.
- Add garlic and tomato paste and mix well, cooking about 2 minutes. Add red wine and simmer for about 3-4 minutes, or until the wine has evaporated.
- Add water, crushed tomatoes (including their juices), and ¼ cup parsley. Mix well and bring to a low boil. Place lid on Instant Pot, seal and set to high pressure for 22 minutes.
- Quick release the pressure – be careful as very hot steam will quickly escape. Once the float drops on the release, about 12-13 minutes, carefully remove the lid.
- Change Instant Pot setting to the low saute setting and bring to a low bubble. Continue to cook about 10 minutes, stirring to make sure all is well combined, and cook to the consistency you desire. In a slow cooker begin on high for 2 hours and then on low for 4-5 hours.If cooking on the stovetop cook on medium for 30-minutes, then reduce to low and simmer for another 2½ hours. ½
- Stir in remaining parsley and heavy cream. Check seasonings and add more salt and pepper if needed.
- Prepare a wide noodle pasta, serve with Bolognese Sauce and sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan.
- In slow cooker or stovetop increase water to 1.5 cups