There’s no quicker way to satisfaction than a big, bold Bolognese over pasta.
Most Bolognese is beef-forward, but a leaner ground-pork Bolognese, with a bit of ground beef, yields a rich and flavorful sauce.
This one is loaded with fragrant vegetables, which lend flavor and vitamins. With a tasty vegetable base, called “soffritto” in Italian, this sauce is a great source of fiber. A dollop of creamy ricotta (a naturally lower-fat cheese) and the surprise of fresh mint are natural additions to this dish on a blustery night.
This sauce takes a quarter of the time to reach maximum flavor in a pressure cooker, but works well on the stovetop, too!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 10 minutes
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
- 1 large carrot, finely chopped
- 6 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 anchovies, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 pounds ground pork
- 1/2 pound ground beef
- 1/3 cup tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon hot chili pepper paste (optional) 3⁄4 cup dry red wine, such as Merlot
- 1 28-ounce can whole San Marzano or plum tomatoes
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 1 1/4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
- Cooked pasta or polenta
- Fresh ricotta cheese or finely grated parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup fresh mint or parsley leaves, torn or roughly chopped
Instant Pot/Pressure Cooker Directions:
- Pour olive oil into the inner pot of the pressure cooker and set to Sauté. When the oil is hot, add the onion, celery, carrot, garlic, and anchovies. Cook until slightly softened, about 6 minutes. Add the pork and beef. Cook, breaking meat up with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 8 minutes.
- Add the tomato paste and hot chili pepper paste (if using). Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the wine, stirring to release any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Cook for 4 minutes to burn off the alcohol and reduce.
- Crush the tomatoes with a potato masher in a bowl. Add the tomatoes and their juices, the bay leaves, rosemary, salt, and 11⁄4 teaspoons pepper to the pot.
- Lock on lid and Pressure Cook on high pressure for 30 minutes. Release the steam manually.
- Open the lid. The sauce should be deeply flavorful. Discard bay leaves and rosemary sprig. Replace the lid but do not lock it on. Leave on the Keep Warm setting until ready to serve.
- Cook pasta in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain. Spoon the sauce over the pasta. Top with fresh ricotta or grated parmesan, a sprinkle of the fresh herbs, and black pepper to taste.
Slow Cooker or Stovetop Directions:
- To make in a slow cooker, first cook the onion, celery, carrot, garlic, and anchovies in oil in a skillet until softened, 6 minutes.
- Add the pork and beef and cook, breaking meat up with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 8 minutes. Add tomato paste and hot chili pepper paste (if you’re using).
- Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the wine, stirring to release any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Cook for 4 minutes to burn off the alcohol and reduce.
- Transfer to a slow cooker. Add all remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on High for 2 hours or Low for 4 hours. Then refer to instructions above.
- This also works in a Dutch oven. Cook on the stovetop, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and braise on low until the sauce is rich and flavorful, about 90 minutes.
Photographer: Christopher Testani; Food Styling: Sarah Copeland and Chris Lanier
Reprinted with permission from Instant Family Meals by Sarah Copeland, copyright © 2020. Photographs by Christopher Testani. Published by Clarkson Potter, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC.
This article was originally published in the winter 2022 issue of Clover Living magazine. Want to see more articles like this? Subscribe to Clover Living magazine for free (if you aren’t already subscribed) here.