Instant Pot Tomato & Meat Ragu

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AUTHOR NOTES

What would happen if Marcella Hazan had an Instant Pot? This is my attempt at an answer. I’ve adapted her recipe for Bolognese Meat Sauce from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, stopping only to add a few (likely blasphemous) twists along the way. Like the pancetta—which I’m not exactly sorry about. And the swap for red wine, which I’m pretty sure negates this ragu from being considered a bolognese. Toss it with a pound of your favorite pasta, cooked al dente, a splash of pasta water, and a whole bunch of grated parmesan, and you’ll have a deeply satisfying weeknight ragu. —Ella Quittner

  • COOK TIME: 50 minutes
  • SERVES: 6 or more
Ingredientss and grocery list
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 ounces pancetta, sliced about 1/4-inch thick and torn or cut into bite sized pieces (you can substitute bacon or guanciale)
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/4 pound ground pork
  • large yellow onion, finely diced (about 2 cups)
  • medium carrot, peeled and finely diced (about 1 1/2 cup)
  • stalk of celery, finely diced (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1/4 cups canned crushed or pureed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 pound your favorite pasta, cooked al dente
  • hunk Parmesan, for grating over bowls to serve
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Directions
  1. Turn your multi-cooker on to its sauté setting (if your cooker has a timer component, set it to 45 minutes just to be safe, then hit cancel when you switch to pressure cooking mode) and add the olive oil. Heat until glistening, then add the pancetta and sauté for a few minutes until the fat has rendered, and it’s tormentingly crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the ground beef and pork and brown on all sides, breaking up the meat—you can do this in two batches if needed; overcrowding will prevent proper browning. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  2. With the multi-cooker still on sauté, add the onion, carrot, and celery, and cook until onion turns translucent. Add back the ground meat and pancetta, and add the milk and nutmeg. Let the milk come to a simmer while stirring frequently so it doesn’t burn—scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan as you stir. Let the milk simmer for a few minutes until it has mostly evaporated.
  3. Add the wine, and let it simmer for a minute before adding the tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine, then put the lid on the cooker and turn to pressure cook mode on high for 20 minutes.
  4. Once the sauce has completed pressure cooking, let the pressure release naturally for a few minutes before turning your steam valve to allow a quick release.
  5. To serve, toss the sauce with al dente pasta, and a large splash of the pasta’s cooking water to help it bind to the noodles. Grate plenty of Parmesan over the top.
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