Easy and quick homemade Pressure Cooker Spaghetti Bolognese, this delicious recipe is made all in one-pot, perfect for a busy weeknight!
I love cooking the bolognese sauce in my Dutch oven over the stove top, but it takes hours. So today, I’m sharing a quicker alternative and just as tasty, Pressure Cooker Spaghetti Bolognese (圧力鍋スパゲッティボロネーゼ) recipe with you.
Stovetop vs. Pressure Cooker Spaghetti Bolognese
Just to be clear, I am NOT saying that pressure cooker makes better Bolognese sauce. There’s just something magical about slow cooking, as if you are adding love to the food every time you stir. However, just because you don’t have time, you don’t have to give up on homemade bolognese sauce all together.
With a pressure cooker, you can save your time and effort, but achieve full depth of flavor equivalent to the slow-cooking sauce that’s been simmering on the stove top for hours.
And for busy moms who often struggle to put time in the kitchen, that’s a huge win!
3 Key Ingredients for Pressure Cooker Spaghetti Bolognese
1. Soffritto (in Italian, and Mirepoix in French)
What is soffritto? It’s a mixture of finely chopped onions, carrots, and celery (it really depends, but usually in 2 parts : 1 part : 1 part ratio) that are sautéed with olive oil or butter until tender and golden.
It’s an umami-rich magical flavor. It’s used as the flavor base for a wide variety of dishes including soups, stews, stocks, ragu, sauces, risotto, and more.
2. Beef & Pork
I use two types of meat for my bolognese sauce: beef and pork (both about 20% fat). They are both juicy, flavor-rich meat, but when the beef is used by itself, the texture of the meat sauce tends to be harder. Therefore, blending in the pork makes the sauce more tender.
You can use Italian sausages too, but I like my bolognese sauce with ground beef and pork as I grew up eating it this way.
3. Red or White Wine?
Both will work, but I use red wine because it’s a red meat dish. Plus, we can enjoy the rest of the wine with the meal after cooking.
The alcohol in the wine evaporates while the food is cooking, and the only flavor remains. The wine flavor adds complexity and a variety of tastes (acidity, sweetness, etc) to the dish that’s difficult to substitute.
Why Pressure Cooker Instead of Slow Cooker?
I usually use pressure cooking mode on my favorite Instant Pot (I’m not sponsored; I just love this gadget!) rather than slow cooking mode simply because I typically decide on dinner menus pretty last minute.
If you have an electric slow cooker, or slow cooking fits your lifestyle, you can definitely use this recipe as well.
To quickly explain, this Instant Pot is a 7-in-1 Multi-Functional Cooker. It can be a rice maker/porridge maker, steamer, sauté/browning, yogurt maker, and warmer. My mom used stove top pressure cookers at home growing up but they scare me a bit with the loud whistling noise. You also need to stay in the kitchen to control the heat. With the Instant Pot, you can just set and walk away!
A Little Tip for Pressure Cooker Spaghetti Bolognese
As the liquid stays in the pot during the cooking process, not much liquid is lost compared to the stove top. If there is too much liquid for your liking, turn the Instant Pot to “Saute” mode and evaporate some liquid.
Japanese Ingredient Substitution: If you want to look for substitutes for Japanese condiments and ingredients, click here.
Pressure Cooker Spaghetti Bolognese
- 1 carrot (3.2 oz, 90 g)
- 1 stalk celery (3.5 oz, 100 g)
- 1 onion (8.5 oz, 240 g)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 6 button mushrooms
- 8 oz ground beef chuck (about 20% fat)
- 4 oz ground pork (about 20% fat)
- 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 bay leaf
- ¼ cup red wine (4 Tbsp)
- 1 28-oz can whole peeled or crushed tomato and juice (800 ml)
- ¼ cup chicken/vegetable stock (4 Tbsp)
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp dried basil
- 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 tsp kosher/sea salt (I use Diamond Crystal; use half for table salt) (and more to taste)
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 ½ lb spaghetti (4 oz/113 g per person)
- 1 ½ Tbsp kosher/sea salt (I use Diamond Crystal; use half for table salt) (for boiling pasta)
- Parmigiano-Reggiano (Parmesan) cheese
- parsley (I actually love using cilantro instead of parsley. Have you tried it? So good!)
- Gather all the ingredients.
- Cut carrot, celery, and onion into small, roughly equal-size chunks. If you don’t have a food processor, simply mince them by hand.
- Put the vegetables m in the food processor and pulse a few times until desired consistency is reached. If a few pieces are too large, do not continue with food processor to get them chopped as you will over-chop the rest. Just mince those remaining pieces by hand. Set aside.
- Mince the garlic. Brush off any dirt and debris from mushrooms and slice them. Alternatively, you can lightly rinse the mushrooms with cool water and pat dry with paper towels, but do not soak the mushrooms (they absorb water like sponge).
- Press the “Sauté” button on your Instant Pot (I use 6-QT Instant Pot) and heat 2 Tbsp olive oil.
- Add minced garlic and 1 bay leaf and stir until fragrant.
- Add the minced vegetables and sauté until onion is tender.
- Add the meat and mix with the rest of ingredients in the pot.
- Add ¼ cup (60 ml) red wine and stir, scraping the juicy bits stuck to the bottom and side of the pot and evaporate the alcohol completely, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add 1 28-oz (800 ml) whole tomatoes (crushed before adding) or crushed tomatoes and ½ cup (120 ml) vegetable broth.
- Add sliced mushrooms, 2 tsp dried oregano, and 2 tsp dried basil on top.
- Cover and lock the lid on the pressure cooker. Make sure the steam release handle points at “sealing” and not “venting”. Press the “Keep Warm/Cancel” button on the Instant Pot to stop “sauté” mode. Press the “manual” button to switch to the pressure cooking mode. Press the “minus” button to change the cooking time to 20 minutes.
- If you’re using a stove-top pressure cooker, you won’t have any buttons to press. Just cook on high heat until high pressure is reached. Then reduce the heat to low but maintain high pressure for about 20 minutes.
- When it is finished cooking, the Instant Pot will switch automatically to the “Keep Warm” mode. Let the pressure release naturally, about 15-20 mins. Meanwhile, boil a large pot of water (4-5 QT), add 2 Tbsp kosher salt, and boil your choice of pasta. Cook according to the package instruction and drain the pasta.
- After de-pressurizing is completed, unlock the lid and add 1 Tbsp unsalted butter and freshly ground black pepper. Taste the spaghetti sauce, and if necessary, season with kosher salt (I added about 2 tsp here). If the sauce is too thin or “soupy” (moisture released from the ingredients), turn on “Saute” mode and reduce the sauce to the consistency you like (I did not need to do that).
- Finely mince fresh parsley. Serve the spaghetti sauce over the pasta. Sprinkle chopped parsley and grated parmesan cheese. Enjoy!
- You can keep the leftovers in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and in the freezer for a month. I recommend packing the sauce in individual portions so you can enjoy later on. It's great emergency food if you're really behind on prepping a meal. Thaw in the fridge overnight and re-heat in a pot over very low heat on the stovetop.