meat sauce

Meat Sauce – Instant Pot

I threw this simple meat sauce together in the Instant Pot a few nights ago and thought I should share it. Cause, you know, that’s what I do. One of the things I like most about the Instant Pot is its ability to marry flavors that otherwise would take hours, and, as much as I love making sauce on the stove when I have all afternoon to let it simmer, that’s not usually possible.

Use any kind of ground meat you like, I used beef this time, but I often use turkey. If you have fresh herbs on hand or in your backyard, as I do right now, add them just before serving, so you have a fresh hit of flavor and color. It’s totally not necessary, though; the dried herbs do the job well.

This sauce is super versatile. Serve it over your favorite boiled pasta; linguini, spaghetti, and pappardelle are good choices. Bake it in a cheesy lasagne, penne, manicotti, or stuffed shells. Toast some buns/rolls and treat yourself to Sloppy Joes. Or, enjoy a low-carb meal with zoodles, sauteed mushrooms, or cauliflower rice. A generous sprinkling of grated parmesan cheese on top is always a good idea.

Meat Sauce – Instant Pot

(about 8 servings)

1 large yellow/white onion (about 2 cups, chopped)

6 ribs of celery (about 1 cup, chopped)

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 teaspoons kosher/coarse salt (reduce to 1 teaspoon if you are using beef stock instead of wine)

2 teaspoons dried basil

2 teaspoons dried oregano

2 teaspoons dried parsley

1/4 teaspoon fennel seed

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

1 pound ground beef/turkey/pork

4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped (about 1 tablespoon)

1 cup red wine or beef stock

15 ounces canned diced tomatoes

6 ounces tomato paste

8 ounces water

1 bay leaf

fresh oregano, parsley, and/or basil (optional)

Chop onion and celery into small dice.

Select the Saute option on the Instant Pot. Coat the bottom of the pot with olive oil, then add the chopped onion and celery.

Add the salt, dried basil, dried oregano, dried parsley, fennel seed, red pepper flakes, and cinnamon. Stir and saute until the onion and celery are becoming tender, 8 – 10 minutes.

Add ground meat and chopped garlic, stir, and saute until the meat is browned. This should take another 10 – 12 minutes.

Add the red wine or stock to the browned meat. Bring it to a low boil and cook for about five minutes before moving on to allow the liquid to reduce a bit. (you should still be within your 30-minute saute time on the Instant Pot, but if not, just press that button again and give yourself more time.)

Stir in the diced tomatoes and tomato paste along with the 8 ounces of water, then drop in the bay leaf.

Give the sauce a quick stir before placing the lid on the Instant Pot.

Make sure the venting knob is in the sealing position, press the Manual pressure button, and set the time to ten minutes. Once the ten minutes are up, allow the pressure to naturally release.

The pressure cooking process should take about 30 minutes. Use this time to prepare your pasta and chop fresh herbs.

Once the pressure has released, remove the lid from the Instant Pot and stir the sauce. If it’s too thin for your liking, turn on the Saute function and cook it down slightly (it will also thicken a bit as it cools). If it’s too thick, thin it out with a little more stock or water.

Stir in fresh herbs.

Serve over cooked pasta, zoodles, bread (sloppy joes!), or bake with lasagne, ziti, or penne with cheese.

If you’re not serving it right away or have leftovers, the meat sauce will keep in the refrigerator for 3 – 5 days or in the freezer for about 6 months. I don’t recommend freezing it with pasta unless it’s a cheesy baked lasagne or ziti/penne.

Enjoy your weekend. Try to look at life through a lens of wonder, joy, and compassion rather than fear, righteousness, and blame. I’ll try to do the same. It’s a choice; it really truly is. I know we are all exhausted, and we’d love to think our way of dealing with the current problems is the right way, the only way. If only everyone else would conform, we’d all be free and safe. The problem lies in the fact that neither freedom nor safety ensures the presence of the other.

“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” 

― Socrates