This recipe is one of my go-to lazy-cook dinners – especially helpful right now while I’ve been learning how to manage dinnertime with a newborn baby in the house! My back-pocket beef & veggie bolognese is lovingly known as “insta-spaghetti”, and while it’s not the same as your all-day ‘Sunday Sauce’ fancy bolognese affair, it is a filling, nourishing, very easy comfort food dish. The recipe combines grass-fed ground beef, lots of chopped mixed vegetables, canned tomatoes and whole-wheat pasta – all in one pressure cooker.
I recognize that one-pot pastas can be controversial for some purists, especially in the Instant Pot – it’s true that you don’t have the same ability to closely monitor your pasta for the exact moment it reaches your personal al-dente ideal – but for this recipe, I really don’t care! For me, it comes out just right every time. I’m a big fan of the body that the sauce gains from the pasta’s starch, and the way all of the flavors get to marry together while they cook.
The vegetables can vary based on what you have handy in your crisper, but my mix generally involves onion, garlic, celery, carrots, mushrooms, and some zucchini if I’m lucky enough to have them all. I like using a food processor to chop everything finely – it makes for a nice texture to blend everything into the meat sauce, and of course it cuts way back on prep time compared to chopping all those veggies by hand.
Simple recipes like this are one of the reasons why I love my Instant Pot… these multi-cookers can be such helpful allies in our efforts to get dinner on the table. I’m especially grateful to have this tool in my kitchen during this new-mom season of my life, while I’m forever busy and sleep deprived but still craving home-cooked meals!
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[Instant Pot] Insta-Spaghetti!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 3 medium cloves garlic chopped
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (or your favorite combination of dried herbs)
- 1 pound grass-fed ground beef
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 cup (75 grams) finely chopped mushrooms
- 1 cup (150 grams) finely chopped carrots
- 1 cup (150 grams) finely chopped celery
- 1 cup (150 grams) finely chopped zucchini
- one 15 ounce can crushed or diced tomatoes
- 8 ounces dry spaghetti whole-wheat or white
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or basil
- 6 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- Using the saute function, heat the olive oil in the pressure cooker. When the oil is hot, add the onion and cook until soft. Add the garlic and Italian seasoning and cook another minute until fragrant, then stir in the ground beef and salt. Break the meat into small chunks and saute until cooked through. Stir in the chopped vegetables and canned tomatoes.
- Break the spaghetti in half, and place them atop the bolognese mixture, loosely arranging the noodles into two perpendicular layers. Pour in the water, assuring that the noodles are just submerged under the surface (if they are exposed, add another splash of water to cover).
- Close the lid, with the valve set to sealing position. Cook on high pressure for 3 minutes.
- When the cooking time is complete, carefully open the valve to manually release the pressure. Gently stir to fold the pasta and sauce together, and if the mixture seems wet, let it stands with the lid off for a few minutes and any excess liquid will absorb. Serve topped with fresh herbs and grated Parmesan cheese.