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Serves: Makes 4 cups


  • 1 onion, chopped coarse
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped coarse
  • 1 celery rib, chopped coarse
  • 4 ounces pancetta, chopped
  • 4 ounces mortadella, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound meatloaf mix
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh sage
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • Salt and pepper


Bolognese is typically a labor of love involving a lot of prep and hours spent at the stove. The pressure-cooker cuts down on time, yet, adds concentrated rich flavor, resulting in a sauce that tastes like it’s been cooking all day.

  • Total time: About 1-½ hours, 30 minutes under pressure
  • Pressure level: High
  • Release: Quick

Bolognese is typically a labor of love, involving a long shipping list, a lot of prep and hours spent at the stove. For this version, we started with meatloaf mix, which was an easy way to add lots of meaty flavor from beef, pork and veal, sold in one simple package. A few ounces each of mortadella and pancetta gave our sauce a richness to take it to the next level. To quickly break down our classic Italian aromatic soffritto base of onion, celery and carrot, as well as the mortadella and pancetta, we turned to our food processor.

We added the meatloaf mix to the pot first to cook off moisture. Once it began to sizzle, we knew it was time to sauté the soffritto and other meats in the rendered fat, building another layer of deep flavor. Then our pressure cooker came into play. We added our wine and broth to the pot, locked on the lid, and cooked our sauce for just 30 minutes. The end result was a sauce with concentrated, rich flavor that tasted like it had been cooked all day. Garnish with Parmesan if desired.

Prep ingredients: Pulse onion, carrot and celery in food processor until finely chopped, about 10 pulses; transfer to bowl. Pulse pancetta and mortadella in now-empty food processor until finely chopped, about 25 pulses; transfer to separate bowl.

Build flavor: Heat oil in pressure-cooker pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add meatloaf mix and cook, breaking up pieces with spoon, until all liquid has evaporated and meat begins to sizzle, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in processed pancetta mixture and sage; reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring often, until pancetta is translucent (about 5 to 7 minutes). Stir in processed vegetables and tomato paste and cook, stirring often, until mixture is rust-colored and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Stir in wine, scraping up any browned bits and cook until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Stir in beef broth.

High pressure for 30 minutes: Lock pressure-cooker lid in place and bring to high pressure over medium-high heat. As soon as pot reaches high pressure, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 30 minutes, adjusting heat as needed to maintain high pressure.

Quick release pressure: Remove pot from heat. Quick release pressure, then carefully remove lid, allowing steam to escape away from you.

Before serving: Bring sauce to simmer over medium-high heat and cook until thickened, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon over cooked pasta and serve.


What if I can’t find meatloaf mix? You can substitute ½ pound each 85 percent lean ground beef and ground pork.

Recommended wine?: Use a good-quality medium-bodied wine, such as Côtes du Rhône or Pinot Noir.

Do I need to alter the recipe for a 6-quart electric pressure cooker? Yes, quick release the pressure immediately after the pressurized cooking time; do not let the cooker switch to the warm setting. Increase the simmering time to 20 minutes and use the browning (not the simmer) setting.

Recipe developed for Fagor, by America’s TEST KITCHEN

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