Turn Your 2-Star Instant Pot Pasta Into 5-Star Restaurant Meal

On a hectic weeknight, nothing beats the convenience of a one-pot meal. And luckily, with the help of the Instant Pot, even sophisticated dishes like homemade bolognese can be simplified into effortless, single-dish meals—provided you have the right recipe.

In the third episode of Recipe Redemption, professional chef Roscoe Hall takes on one of our lowest-rated pasta recipes, Instant Pot Pasta Bolognese, and gives it the top-chef treatment. With a few simple ingredient swaps and a slight tweak to the cooking method, Roscoe makes a Sunday dinner-level feast accessible for any night of the week.

Roscoe’s Instant Pot Pasta Takeover

The original recipe for Instant Pot Pasta Bolognese has all of the building blocks of a delicious dish, but could benefit from a few adjustments. The original recipe only has 2.3 stars, with reviews complaining about uncooked pasta and a lack of flavor. While the Instant Pot isn’t Roscoe’s usual cooking weapon of choice, he puts it to work this week to whip up a meaty pasta meal. 

In Roscoe’s version, he cuts down the veggies to a fraction of the original amounts, using only one stalk of celery, one carrot, and no cherry tomatoes. “It’s not about the vegetables in bolo,” he explains. “It’s about that meat.” Instead of removing the cooked ground beef from the pot and draining it, the chef lets it all stay in the pot to “build depth of flavor.” 

His next modification is adding diced pancetta to bring an intensely smoky, savory flavor to the sauce. “Listen,” he says, “putting cured meat in sauces is one of the most amazing things in the world.” 

Instead of dried Italian seasoning, he adds a sprig of thyme and a bay leaf. And, when it comes to tomato paste, he always reaches for a tubed paste over the canned kind. Why? “Because you don’t have that can leftover of all that crusty stuff,” Roscoe explains.

In an unexpected play, Roscoe swaps the traditional red wine in a bolognese for a white, calling it a “6-star ingredient.” He skips the soy sauce and cocoa powder and instead flavors his pasta sauce with a parmesan rind for extra richness and creaminess. 

In Roscoe’s version, he opts for long tagliatelle noodles instead of the suggested rotini shape. And, he confirms, despite what you’ll be told by pasta purists, it’s okay to break the noodles in half if they don’t fit in your pot. The pasta police won’t be coming after you.

Using the sauce as if it is a pot of boiling water, he cooks the noodles directly in the rich meat sauce, saturating the pasta with savory flavor from the inside out. The finished dish is vibrant, creamy, perfectly cooked, and all-in-all a beautiful bolognese. To see all of Roscoe’s professional tips and tricks, check out the full episode of our recipe-saving series. 

Allrecipes / DDM Video Studio

How to Make Roscoe’s Redeemed Bolognese

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 1 pound ground beef 
  • 1 onion, diced 
  • 1 carrot, diced 
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic 
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pancetta
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste 
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • ¾ cup white wine
  • 2 cups chicken or beef stock
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • ½ cup heavy cream 
  • 1 piece of parmesan rind
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 16-ounce package pappardelle or tagliatelle pasta noodles
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese and fresh basil, for garnish
  1. Turn on a multi-functional pressure cooker (such as Instant Pot®) and select the sauté function. Heat oil in the pot; add ground beef and season with salt and pepper, and stir to cook until browned and crumbly (5 to 7 minutes). 
  2. Add onion, carrot, celery, garlic, and pancetta and stir, sautéing until the veggies are soft (8-10 minutes). Add tomato paste, bay leaf, thyme sprig, and white wine. Stir it all together, and allow the sauce to bubble and the alcohol to cook off for a minute or two. 
  3. Add stock and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly reduced, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, heavy cream, and parmesan rind and stir until fully incorporated. 
  4. Turn the appliance off sauté mode, then close and lock the lid. Select low pressure and set the timer for 4 minutes, allowing 10 to 15 minutes for pressure to build. When the timer is up, release the pressure carefully using the quick-release method according to the manufacturer’s instructions, which will take about 5 minutes. Then, unlock and remove the lid. 
  5. Turn the appliance back to sauté mode, add in the noodles, and stir them into the sauce, making sure they are fully submerged. Cook the noodles for about 5 minutes, or until they reach al dente (note: it will be about half the time as stated on the box). 
  6. Once the noodles are cooked, plate up a portion with a hefty helping of grated parmesan cheese, some torn basil leaves, and a drizzle of olive oil, and enjoy.