Today’s recipe is an oldie but definitely a goodie – Spaghetti Bolognese or rather Ragù Bolognese! It is by all means my boys’ favourite dinner EVER and something tells me our family isn’t the only one. 🙂 It might not be 100% authentic Italian recipe, however it’s based on one and the end product taste simply amazing! I’ve also adapted the cooking method for my new Instant Pot hence Instant Pot Ragù Bolognese. You will find the original (on the hob) method here as well.
I’m sure there are as many different variations of Ragù Bolognese as there are people who make it. You can really go to town with this comforting and satisfying rich and meaty sauce. Few years back I’ve looked into the original Italian recipe and even then I came across number of different versions. One thing I found really interesting is that Italians add chicken livers to their ragu for extra richness. I’ve made it like this few times before but since making it predominantly as a family meal, I don’t bother anymore. 🙂 One thing I have stuck with though is adding milk towards the end of cooking. I think it works beautifully by mellowing this otherwise rich sauce. You can of course skip milk if you so wish, I won’t know lol 😉 .
Ragù Bolognese is a perfect carrier for whole loads of veggie goodness. Although original Italian vegetable base (soffritto) only contains onions, carrots and celery, you most definitely don’t need to stick to just those. I very often add my favourite broccoli stalk to bulk it up even more or some mushrooms work really great here. Whatever you’ve got in your fridge that could do with using up really, I don’t think you can go wrong here.
I have been making my Ragù Bolognese like this for over 10 years now but only recently started using my new Instant Pot which makes it that bit quicker. The initial part of sautéing your veggie base and your meat doesn’t differ at all and cannot be sped up am afraid. However, once you are ready to simmer your ragù for what takes over an hour on the hob (with occasional stir), it will only take 15 minutes in your Instant Pot and without any assistance whatsoever.
Making Ragù Bolognese is a perfect batch cooking opportunity as you can make a lot of it in one go and have it all portioned and in the freezer for when you need a quick meal or simply don’t feel like cooking. This recipe usually yields between 4-5 dinners for our family (2 adults and 2 young children) as a Spaghetti Bolognese. It is also a perfect base for lasagne, stuffed cannelloni or served with jacket potatoes.
I hope you enjoy my take on Ragù Bolognese and will be doing spot of batch cooking yourselves soon. Feel free to share your thoughts on my recipe in the comments below or via my Facebook page, Twitter or Instagram
Instant Pot Ragù Bolognese (Batch Cooking Recipe)
Soffritto (Veggie base)
- 300 g carrots
- 300 g celery stalks
- 300 g onions
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 heaped tsp mixed herbs
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 kg lean beef mince
- 250 g unsmoked or smoked pancetta/streaky bacon already diced or in one big chunk
- some red wine optional
- 2 tins chopped tomatoes
- 2 half tins of water to wash out the tins
- 200 ml milk
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 2 leftover parmesan rinds for added flavour optional
- Prepare vegetables for Soffritto by peeling and chopping them finely either by hand or using food processor.
- If using pancetta/bacon in one big chunk cut it quite finely by hand or use food processor to almost mince it.
Instant Pot Method
- Set Instant Pot to SAUTÉ and add a good glug of oil. Add chopped vegetables, bay leaves, mixed herbs and season with 1 tsp of salt and some freshly ground pepper. Fry stirring frequently for approximately 15 minutes until vegetables are soft.
- Add chopped/minced pancetta/bacon and beef mince and fry breaking it up and stirring frequently for another 15 minutes. The meat will release some liquid as it cooks which is to be expected. Keep frying until it's almost evaporated.
- Add good splash of red wine (if using) and fry some more until it evaporated and meat mixture starts to sizzle.
- Press Keep Warm/Cancel Button to cancel SAUTÉ function.
- Add chopped tomatoes. Fill each tin half way with water, swirl around and add it to the pot. Add 1 tsp of sea salt, some more freshly ground pepper and 2 parmesan rinds (if using). Stir well.
- Put on the lid and lock it in place making sure that the black, steam releasing valve is pointing to "Sealing". Set your Instant Pot to "Meat/Stew" setting on High Pressure, setting adjusted to More for 15 minutes.
- When the time is up turn the pot off by pressing Keep Warm/Cancel button and let the pressure go down naturally (NPR - Natural Pressure Release). It will take approx. 20-25 minutes.
- Open the lid, add milk and stir well. Press SAUTÉ button yet again and let the ragù reduce slightly for approx 10min until it reaches desired consistency.
- Check seasoning and add some salt/pepper if required.
- Serve over pasta and topped with lots of grated parmesan.
Traditional "on the hob" cooking method
- Follow the steps for sautéing/frying as above only using heavy duty casserole/stew pot on the hob.
- After adding tomatoes and water, stir mixture well and let it simmer, covered for approx 1 hr, stirring from time to time.
- Add milk, stir well and let it simmer for another 15-20 minutes until you reach desired consistency. Adjust seasoning to taste and serve as above.
If you’d like some more batch cooking recipes, check out my Veggie Lentils and Spinach Lasagne which is another staple, freezer dish in our house. Alternatively, if you are looking for something warming and delicious to make in your Instant Pot, check out this Instant Pot Ginger Spiced Beetroot Soup which is perfect this time of year.
Pin For Later!
I’m linking my Instant Pot Ragù Bolognese with the following pages:
Cook Once Eat Twice hosted by Corina at Searching for Spice
Brilliant Blog Posts hosted by Vicki at Honest Mum Blog
Recipe of the Week hosted by Emily at A Mummy Too