Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Instant Pot: Spaghetti Bolognese

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Spaghetti was my jam back in the day. In fact, I had a childhood photo stuffing my face with spaghetti on the kitchen table that I still cherish. So even at a young age, spaghetti was a favorite dish. These days, I tend to cook gluten free pasta for myself and regular pasta for my boys. My husband is pretty amazing because he loves to help out in the kitchen during our spaghetti dinners. However, it's quite a production with all the pots and pans and baking sheets used to make our beloved spaghetti. One pot for pasta (which takes forever to get boiling). One pot for sauce. If you ask me, it's one pot too many! Enter the Instant Pot. I now love spaghetti nights even more because everything can be made in it!


I usually like to prepare for our spaghetti dinners with a big pot of bolognese sauce. This is my favorite sauce because its loaded with ground chuck, finely diced carrots, celery, onions and garlic and a myriad of seasonings. Everything gets cooked in the Instant Pot and the result is enough sauce for several pasta dinners. 

But even after the pasta sauce is made, we love how we can toss in dried spaghetti, a few cups of sauce, a few cups of water, seal the lid and minutes later, dinner is ready. Below is the recipe for my go-to bolognese sauce to make in the Instant Pot and how to make One Pot Spaghetti Bolognese immediately following. 

If you would rather use a Slow Cooker,  you can get the Slow Cooker recipe version here!

Instant Pot Spaghetti Bolognese
recipe adapted from Real Simple

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
    3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ground beef chuck
  • 1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
    1 teaspoon dried basil
    1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds meatballs (frozen or fresh, homemade or store bought)
  • 3/4 pound spaghetti or GF spaghetti
  • grated Parmesan, for serving

In your Instant Pot:

Plug in the IP with insert set in place.

Press SAUTE and add oil. When hot, add onions, garlic, carrots, and celery cooking until softened. 

Add ground beef and cook until browned.


Add the tomato paste, wine, oregano, thyme, bay leaf, 1 teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper and sugar. 

Add meatballs and stir to combine.

Secure the lid of the IP and ensure the valve is set to SEALING.

Press MANUAL and adjust the time to 20 minutes on HIGH pressure.

The display will reflect ON while the IP comes to pressure. Allow a few minutes for your IP to come to pressure.

Once at pressure, the display will reflect 20 (the number of minutes you initially set) and will begin to countdown to 0 minutes.

When the IP beeps after pressure cooking for 20 minutes, allow your IP to naturally release pressure for 10 minutes. While naturally releasing pressure (also known as NPR or NR), the display will reflect numbers counting up from 1. The numbers indicate how many minutes the IP has stopped cooking since it beeped (or how many minutes it has been naturally releasing pressure).  No need to touch your IP while it naturally releases pressure.

When the display reflects 10 (which is 10 minutes since the IP has beeped), turn the setting on top of your IP to VENTING. Doing so allows the IP to quickly release pressure (also known as QPR or QR). I use a wooden spoon to carefully turn the setting to avoid close contact with the potential steam. You may also want to turn your IP away from cabinets to allow the released steam to escape freely. The pin at the top of your IP will drop when all pressure has been released and it's safe to open.


Open up your IP when the pin has dropped (allow a few minutes for this to happen).

Prepare the spaghetti according to package directions just prior to serving. 

Serve bolognese sauce over spaghetti as is or with meatballs. Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. 

* This makes a nice amount to use and jar up for future meals. Alternatively, you can cook this prepared sauce (or any other jarred sauce) and spaghetti noodles together for a true one pot meal.

One Pot Spaghetti Bolognese

1 pound dried spaghetti
3 1/2 cups bolognese sauce above (or your favorite pasta sauce)
3 cups water


In your Instant Pot:

Plug in the IP with insert set in place.

Add dry pasta, pasta sauce and water. Stir to combine. Ensure pasta is covered entirely with liquid. If not, add enough water to cover.

Secure the lid of the IP and ensure the valve is set to SEALING.

Press MANUAL and adjust the time to 6 minutes on HIGH pressure.

The display will reflect ON while the IP comes to pressure. Allow a few minutes for your IP to come to pressure.

Once at pressure, the display will reflect 6 (the number of minutes you initially set) and will begin to countdown to 0 minutes.

When the IP beeps after pressure cooking for 6 minutes, place a kitchen towel on top of the setting knob and carefully turn the setting on top of your IP to VENTING. Doing so allows the IP to quickly release pressure (also known as QRP or QR). Note - it may get messy, which is why I use a kitchen towel over the setting to reduce spray from the IP. I also use a wooden spoon to carefully turn the setting to avoid close contact with the potential steam. You may also want to turn your IP away from cabinets to allow the released steam to escape freely. The pin at the top of your IP will drop when all pressure has been released and it's safe to open.

Open up your IP when the pin has dropped (allow a few minutes for this to happen).


Serve and garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. 

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