Pressure Cooker Ragù Bolognese Recipe

The pressure cooker makes short work of a typically long-cooked sauce. J. Kenji López-Alt

Why It Works

  • Powdered gelatin adds body to the sauce.
  • The pressure cooker tenderizes the meat and adds flavor in less than half the time it takes to make a traditional stovetop or oven-cooked Bolognese.

I haven't actually kept track of what the trigger is that leads me to break out the Dutch oven and start grinding meat year after year—it could be the changing weather, the lack of fresh summer produce, or perhaps the displays of Christmas decorations that go up immediately after Halloween—but ragù Bolognese is the only dish I'll make year after year, like clockwork. Good thing I love the stuff. This year, in the midst of some epic pressure cooker testing (stay tuned for the results), I decided to see if I could adapt the recipe to work in a pressure cooker, hopefully cutting down on cooking time while building flavor in the process.

Recipe Facts



Active: 60 mins
Total: 2 hrs 30 mins
Serves: 8 to 10 servings

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  • 1 cup (225ml) homemade or store-bought  low sodium chicken stock

  • 4 packets powdered gelatin (1 ounce; 30g)

  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1/2 pound (225g) finely diced pancetta

  • 1 large onion, finely minced (about 1 1/2 cups; 300g)

  • 2 large carrots, finely chopped (about 1 cup; 200g)

  • 2 large stalks celery, finely chopped (about 1 cup; 200g)

  • 4 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 4 teaspoons/15g)

  • 1/4 cup fresh sage leaves, minced (about 1/4 ounce; 8g)

  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, minced (about 1/2 ounce/15g), divided

  • 1/2 pound (225g) finely minced chicken livers

  • 2 pounds (900g) ground beef chuck (about 20% fat)

  • 1 pound (450g) ground pork shoulder (about 20% fat)

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 cups (450ml) dry red wine

  • 1 (14-ounce; 400g) can crushed tomatoes, preferably San Marzano

  • 1 1/2 cups (350ml) heavy cream, divided

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 3 ounces (80g) finely grated Parmesan cheese

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons (15 to 30ml) Vietnamese or Thai fish sauce

  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, minced (about 1/4 ounce; 8g)

To Serve:

  • 1 1/2 pounds (700g) pappardelle or tagliatelle, or 1 pound (450g) dried penne

  • Finely grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Place stock in a 1-cup liquid measure and sprinkle with gelatin. Set aside.

  2. Heat olive oil in a pressure cooker over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add pancetta and cook, stirring frequently, until pancetta is browned and crisp, about 12 minutes. Add onions, carrots, celery, garlic, sage, and half of parsley and cook, stirring, until softened but not browned, about 8 minutes.

  3. Increase heat to high, add chicken livers, and cook, stirring, until livers are no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add beef and pork, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring and breaking up meat with a wooden spoon or a potato masher, until meat is no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until excess liquid has evaporated and the meat starts to sizzle, about 25 minutes.

  4. Add stock and gelatin mixture, wine, tomatoes, 1 cup heavy cream, and bay leaves. Seal and cook at high pressure (12 to 15 psi) for 30 minutes. Release pressure and remove lid. Simmer over moderate heat until thick and emulsified, 30 to 45 minutes longer.

  5. Stir in remaining 1/2 cup heavy cream, Parmesan, fish sauce, basil, and remaining parsley. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly to emulsify. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bolognese can be cooled and stored in sealed containers in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

  6. To Serve: Heat Bolognese in a large pot until just simmering. Set aside. Cook pasta in a large pot of well-salted water until just barely al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of cooking liquid. Transfer to a large skillet or sauteuse and add 3/4 of sauce, along with cooking water. Cook over high heat, tossing and stirring gently, until sauce is thick and pasta is coated, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with remaining sauce. Serve immediately, passing extra Parmesan at the table.

Special equipment

Electric or stovetop pressure cooker (get our full review)


You can use equal parts beef and lamb (1 pound or 450 grams each) in place of the beef.

This Recipe Appears In

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
714 Calories
42g Fat
46g Carbs
35g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 10
Amount per serving
Calories 714
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 42g 54%
Saturated Fat 19g 93%
Cholesterol 237mg 79%
Sodium 881mg 38%
Total Carbohydrate 46g 17%
Dietary Fiber 4g 13%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 35g
Vitamin C 16mg 82%
Calcium 168mg 13%
Iron 6mg 34%
Potassium 762mg 16%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)