This rich, delicious rigatoni bolognese combines ground beef and lots of mushrooms for an intensely hearty flavor. Its easy to make in a slow cooker or pressure cooker.
If you’ve tried my wildly-popular pasta pomodoro, think of this recipe as his darker, richer older brother. Where the pomodoro sauce is light and bright and buttery, this one is thick and meaty and warming. This is the kind of food you want to come home to after a long commute through driving rain or bitter snow. The sauce is like a warm sweater on a cold night. Thick and comforting.
The bolognese sauce has all the deep flavor of a sauce that has simmered all day on the stovetop, but it can be easily made in a slow cooker or, even better in a pressure cooker/Instant Pot, for the same taste in a fraction of the time.
Surprisingly, the secret to the meaty flavor isn’t the meat at all. The recipe only calls for about a half pound of ground beef. The rest of the flavor comes from the mushrooms. Lots and lots of mushrooms round out the flavor in that little bit of beef. A dash of balsalmic vinegar adds even more richness.
Toss it with a pound of imported rigatoni and a hefty handful of parmesan cheese for a perfect cold weather meal. Winter is coming my friends.
1/2 lb. lean ground beef
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 lb. button mushrooms, finely diced
1 medium carrot, diced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon ground oregano
1 teaspoon each kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
2 teaspoons sugar (optional)
1 lb. best-quality imported Italian rigatoni, cooked according to package
Garnishes: 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, chopped basil, salt and pepper to taste
- Brown ground beef in a skillet over medium high heat or the insert of a multi cooker/Instant Pot set to “brown.” When meat is browned, drain beef as needed and place in a bowl. Set aside.
- Add olive oil to skillet or multi cooker and heat over medium heat or “brown” function. Add mushrooms, carrot, and onion and cook over medium heat until mushrooms begin to brown and onions are soft, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook for about 3 minutes more.
- If using a skillet, transfer vegetables to a slow cooker. Add beef, tomatoes, vinegar, oregano salt, pepper and sugar. Secure lid and slow cook on low for 4 hours or high for up to 8 hours. If using a multi cooker, lock the lid for pressure and cook on low pressure for 15 minutes or high pressure for 30 minutes.
- To serve, adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste and toss sauce with cooked pasta. Top with parmesan cheese and fresh basil if desired.