Scott n' Peppe

Scott Eren’s Instant Pot is back, this time with a delectable pressure-fueled bolognese.

Arriving late to the party, I’ve just recently got around to using an Instant Pot regularly.

If you’ve managed not to hear, that’s a wildly popular countertop pressure cooker device that’s caused millions of Americans to ditch their slow cookers.

Rather than research all the wonderful things about the Instant Pot or turn to the community of self-anointed “Potheads” for a pressure cooker recipes, I figured I’d just make a slow-cooking recipe I’ve made dozens of times of times to see how the pressure cooker compared to more traditional methods.

I decided to make Bolognese sauce from the same general recipe I’ve been using for years and years. And, before I get any complaints, I should say my Bolognese is more in the style of Italian-American cuisine rather than purist northern-Italian. Specifically, I use more tomatoes in my sauce than the authentic original and I omit the finishing touch of cream because I like the tomato flavor to be more pronounced.

The first thing I noticed about cooking with the Pot was that you could make this long-cooked, flavorful dish without needing much space or even a kitchen. On a piece of counter no wider than my shoulders I was able to get the veggies chopped and everything cooked. It could be a super valuable tool to anyone with a tiny kitchen.

Another unexpected plus of the Pot I noticed was that it makes it easier to make traditionally long-cooking dishes in the summer because you’re not overheating the house. In the winter I’m happy to leave a pot simmering on the range or braising in the oven for hours as a way to help keep things warm but that’s not something I want to do when it’s 80 degrees outside.

The final major perk of the Instant Pot was that it really does get great results fast. On the stove top I usually simmer my Bolognese for three to eight hours. I was able to get a similar result, richly flavored and luxuriously textured sauce, in about an hour. What’s great too is that when the cooker is sealed you don’t have to do anything to babysit it, unlike the stovetop, which requires stirring every 20 minutes to avoid scorching. The time spent pressurized and depressurizing is genuinely set it and forget it. Go for a run, hit the Town Pump, or do Josie’s. Dinner will be ready when you return.

So grab your Instant Pot, or, even better, your roommate’s, and get to work. The summer’s too short to spend it hunched over a stove. 

Scott Eren writes about his culinary interests twice monthly. Contact him at columnists@jhnewsandguidecom.

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