Quick Pork Bolognese for a Crowd
As satisfying as a spaghetti-and-meatball dinner is, a quicker way to get that same satisfaction is to enjoy a big, bold Bolognese sauce over pasta (called ragu allà Bolognese, a meaty sauce that hails from Bologna). Bolognese sauce takes a quarter of the time to reach maximum flavor in a pressure cooker. Most Bolognese sauces use beef as the headliner, but my favorite blend is mostly pork, with a bit of ground beef (grass-fed, if you can find it) mixed in. Feel free to play around with the ratio as long as you don’t skimp on the aromatics. To serve, I love a long noodle, like tagliatelle or pappardelle, but any pasta will work. Or try the sauce on top of Creamy Parmesan Polenta (page 89). Either way, a dollop of creamy ricotta and the surprise of fresh mint are welcome additions.
- 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
- 11⁄2 pounds ground pork
- 1⁄2 pound ground beef
- 1⁄3 cup tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon harissa or hot 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
- 11⁄4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1 pound pasta of choice, or Creamy Parmesan Polenta (page 89)
Fresh ricotta cheese or finely grated parmesan cheese
1⁄2 cup fresh mint or parsley leaves, torn or roughly chopped
Pour the olive oil into the inner pot of the pressure cooker and set to Saute. When the oil is hot, add the onion, celery, carrot, garlic, and anchovies and cook until slightly softened, about
6 minutes. Add the pork and beef and cook, breaking them up with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 8 minutes.
Add the tomato paste and harissa (if using); cook, stirring, for 1 minute to lightly toast. Add the wine, stirring to release any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Cook for 4 minutes to cook 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 the lid and Pressure Cook on high pressure for 30 minutes. Release the steam manually. Open the lid. The sauce should be deeply flavorful. Discard the bay leaves and rosemary sprig. Replace the lid, but do not lock it on. Leave on the Keep Warm setting until ready to serve.
When ready to serve, cook the pasta in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and spoon the sauce over the pasta. Top with fresh ricotta or grated parmesan, a sprinkle of the fresh herbs, and more black pepper to taste.
Heat It Up: For a spicier Bolognese, double the harissa, or use Hungarian hot pepper paste and stir it in with the tomato paste.
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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.
Photography copyright: Gentl + Hyers © 2019
Sarah Copeland is an award-nominated cookbook author and former food director of Real Simple. She lives in upstate New York and Hungary.