Want that slow cooked spaghetti bolognese taste but in a fraction of the time? Then you need to try my Pressure Cooker Spaghetti Bolognese – gorgeous depth of flavour and melt in the mouth texture… but done in just 30 minutes!
Slow cooked flavour but FAST!
I just LOVE slow cooked food – don’t you? That long slow cooking time works some kind of crazy magic on food… the flavours mix and mingle in a way that gives so much extra depth and deliciousness. And the texture of even the toughest cuts of meat becomes unctuously soft… to the point of melt-in-the-mouth wonderfulness.
But the problem with slow cooked food is TIME!
Slow cooked food is fine on a day when I am at home at precisely the right time to put the food in the slow cooker or in the oven on low… not so much on those manic crazy days when I’m juggling work / kids / playdates / afterschool clubs and a whole host of other appointments… AKA real life!
Which is why I adore my pressure cooker so much. This wonderful kitchen gadget gives me all that slow cooked deliciousness, but in a fraction of the time!
Pressure Cooker Spaghetti Bolognese
I have been playing about with my recipes, trying to figure out which ones will work best in a pressure cooker and I’ve hit on a total star with this Pressure Cooker Spaghetti Bolognese!
A bolognese sauce is one of those recipes that tastes OK done fast, but a million times better slow cooked. But who has the time for that?
Enter my trusty pressure cooker! Pressure cooking my bolognese sauce results in an incredible depth of flavour and such tender beef… it is well worth the teensy bit of extra effort it takes to do this in a pressure cooker, rather than a regular frying pan.
As an extra bonus the vegetables almost melt into the sauce, meaning you can get lots of goodness into fussy small people without them really noticing!
How to cook spaghetti bolognese in a pressure cooker?
I’ve kept to a very classic recipe here, starting by frying a soffritto (mix of finely diced carrot, celery and carrot) and some lardons (diced bacon).
Next, I brown off my beef mince, before adding a clove of garlic and then a tin of chopped tomatoes and a beef stock cube (or stock pot).
Finally, I add some oregano, bay, salt and pepper, then put the lid on and bring the pressure cooker up to high pressure.
I cook the bolognese sauce for 15 minutes at high pressure (12psi), before turning the pressure cooker off, releasing the valve and waiting until it comes back to normal pressure, before taking off the lid and serving up.
From start to finish this bolognese recipe takes just 30 minutes, but tastes like you’ve been slaving over the stove for hours!
Can you make this pressure cooker Bolognese with any pressure cooker?
Yes, absolutely. I use the Prestige SmartPlus Pressure Cooker (6 litre)*, but this bolognese recipe will work with any pressure cooker. Just follow the manufacturers guidelines about safely bringing the pressure cooker up to full pressure and releasing the pressure afterwards.
Can I make this spaghetti bolognese recipe without a pressure cooker?
Yes, but you’ll need more time!
Cook the bolognese sauce as specified in the recipe card below, but instead of bringing the pressure cooker up to pressure, bring the bolognese sauce to the boil, then turn down to a very low simmer, cover with a lid and cook for 1-2 hours. (The longer you cook the bolognese for, the more delicious it will taste and the more tender the meat will be.)
If you do choose to cook this in a conventional saucepan, do also check the sauce occasionally to see if it’s starting to stick, and if so, add more water as needed.
What to serve with pressure cooker bolognese?
Well the obvious thing to serve with this pressure cooker bolognese is, of course, spaghetti! However, this sauce also goes wonderfully with a wide variety of pasta shapes – my personal favourite is linguine (pictured here) but, it will also work well with tagliatelle, fusilli, penne etc.
This sauce is also ridiculously delicious with brown pasta (brown penne is my fave) – perfect if you want to give this dish a bit of a healthy twist!
It will also go well with rice, mashed potatoes, crusty bread or even on top of a baked potato!
And of course, you can use this sauce as the base for a classic beef lasagne.
I prefer to serve my spaghetti bolognese scattered with grated parmesan, but you can use good ol’ cheddar if you prefer!
What to drink with pressure cooker bolognese?
To my mind, medium bodied Italian reds work best with this bolognese – something like a Chianti or a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo would be perfect. A Sangiovese (the grape variety in Chianti) from somewhere else, such as the USA or Australia would also work well here.
I wouldn’t really recommend white wine with this recipe, but if it has to be white for you – try a dry Italian white – they work surprisingly well (though no where near as well as a red!)
Can you batch cook this pressure cooker bolognese sauce?
Absolutely – and I encourage you to do so. It freezes brilliantly… or will keep for up to 3 days in the fridge.
A great tip is to make a double quantity, then, on the day you make it, serve it as bolognese.
A few days (or weeks if you freeze it) later, turn the rest of the sauce into a speedy lasagne. Lasagne is one of those things that can take ages to make, but not if you already have a batch of bolognese sauce ready to go!
Just one thing to bear in mind if you are batch cooking this pressure cooker bolognese sauce: make sure you check the manufacturers guidelines about what is the maximum quantity you can put into the pressure cooker – they usually have quite strict limits, as overfilling a pressure cooker can cause issues with pressure cooker safety – and no-one wants an exploding pressure cooker!
Can you reheat bolognese sauce?
Definitely! If you have any leftover bolognese sauce, simply place it in a plastic lidded container and put it in the fridge (within 2 hours of cooking it). It will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.
When you come to reheat the sauce, simply place it in a regular saucepan and heat until piping hot all the way through.
Alternatively reheat the bolognese sauce in your microwave until piping hot all the way through.
Can you freeze leftover bolognese sauce?
Of course! Place the leftover bolognese sauce in a plastic lidded container and, when cool, put it in the freezer (ensure you do this is within 2 hours of cooking it). It will keep in the freezer for up to 1 month.
When you want to cook with the bolognese sauce, defrost overnight in the fridge, then reheat as above.
If you like this bolognese sauce…
… you might also like:
Pressure Cooker Spaghetti Bolognese
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 100 g lardons (or diced bacon)
- 1 small onion very finely diced (see note)
- 1 small carrot very finely diced (see note)
- 1 celery stick very finely diced (see note)
- 500 g beef mince
- 1 clove garlic
- 400 g tin chopped tomatoes
- 1 beef stock cube or stock pot (I use Kallo organic stock cubes)
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt and pepper to taste
- cooked spaghetti, linguine or other pasta shape
- grated parmesan or cheddar
- Place the lardons and oil in the pressure cooker. Fry over a medium high heat, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes or until the lardons are golden in colour.
- Turn the heat down and add the diced onions, carrots and celery. Cook gently for 2-3 minute until softened.
- Turn the heat up and add the beef mince. Fry the beef mince until most parts are nicely browned – about 3-4 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes, beef stock cube, oregano, bay, salt and pepper, then put the lid onto the pressure cooker and ensure the pressure regulator is turned to high pressure (12lbs per square inch/position 2 on the Prestige SmartPlus)
- Heat over a high heat until the visual indicator rises to indicate cooking under pressure, then continue to wait until steam is escaping at a steady rate. Turn the heat down until you just hear a gentle hiss and cook for 15 minutes.
- After the 15 minutes is up, turn the heat off and gently move the pressure cooker regulator to the steam release position.
- Wait until the visual pressure indicator drops before removing the lid.
- Serve the bolognese sauce with spaghetti or another pasta shape and topped with parmesan or cheddar.
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