Weeknight Meat Sauce with Rigatoni
Last month I received an email from America’s Test Kitchen. They shared with me they have a BOOK coming out that’s all about pressure cooking. I almost deleted the email because to be completely honest pressure cookers SCARE me. Seriously scare me. For some reason I truly believed if I used one I was going to have an explosion in my kitchen. True story. But somehow curiosity got hold of me.
I replied and admitted that I’ve NEVER cooked with a pressure cooker and yet they still wanted me to give it a go. Why? Because they want to show people that pressure cooking isn’t as scary as
we I think it is. They even shipped me one of their highly rated PRESSURE COOKERS to work with. Honestly I was still afraid of it. I read the instruction booklet front to back (and I NEVER read directions despite the fact I know I should) and back again.
I started with a recipe from the BOOK for Osso Bucco. Long story short it was delicious but might have been the ugliest thing I ever tried to photograph so until I can figure out how to make that
sparkle look appetizing I made a second recipe, this weeknight meat sauce with rigatoni. Pasta in a pressure cooker? Yes. Is anyone else hearing the song “under pressure” or is that just in my head?
It’s pretty straight forward you put things into the pot, brown them top with the lid, secure it and then wait for it to work it’s magic. I typically will do other things while one dish is cooking but honestly I wasn’t moving from the stove top, you know in case of an emergency. My worries were unfounded. I managed to make 2 recipes in the pressure cooker and didn’t blow up my house or burn myself. I’d call that successful.
My thoughts on the pasta? This is purely preference, It could have used a little more spice, I like a little something something in there. Also I wasn’t fond of the sauce to pasta ratio. There was too much sauce for my liking but that’s easily taken care of with a baguette. Overall, the family was happy happy happy.
A few things that I learned along the way is that pressure cookers have come a long way. By putting contents under pressure, you raise the temperature and cut your cooking time dramatically. I can see a lot more pressure cooking in my future, especially meats. Maybe I’ll give that Osso Bucco another go and see if she’s any prettier ; )
Have you ever cooked with a pressure cooker?
Disclaimer: America’s Test Kitchen sent me a pressure cooker. I was not compensated for this post. Opinions are my own. Always have been. Always will be. This post contains affiliate links.
Recipe slightly adapted from America’s Test Kitchen
- 2 ounces cremini mushrooms,trimmed and halved
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion - minced
- 3 garlic cloves - minced
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 pound 85% lean ground beef
- 3 1/2 cups water
- 1 (28- ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 (14.5- ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 pound rigatoni
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- Pulse mushrooms in food processor until finely chopped, about 8 pulses, scraping down bowl as needed; transfer to bowl.
- Heat oil in pressure cooker pot over medium- high heat until shimmering. Add mushrooms,onion, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook until vegetables are softened and well browned, 6 to 12 minutes. Stir in garlic, pepper flakes, oregano, and tomato paste. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.Stir in ground beef and cook, breaking up meat with wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 3 minutes. Stir in water, tomatoes, scraping up any browned bits. Stir in pasta.
- Lock pressure- cooker lid in place and bring to high pressure over medium- high heat. As soon as pot reaches high pressure, reduce heat to medium- low and cook for 5 minutes, adjusting heat as needed to maintain high pressure.
- Remove pot from heat. Quick release pressure, then carefully remove lid, allowing steam to escape away from you.
- Bring to simmer and continue to cook, stirring often, until pasta is nearly al dente, 2 to 5 minutes.Stir in parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Can I use other types of pasta in this recipe?
Another large tubular pasta, such as penne, ziti rigate, or rigatoni, will work fine here. Do not use strand pasta, such as spaghetti or linguine, because the strands clump together into a sticky mess when cooked under pressure.
Can I substitute other types of ground meat?
Yes. You can substitute ground pork or turkey for the beef. We don’t recommend using ground chicken or 99 percent lean ground turkey because they are just too lean and will taste dry and mealy in the final dish.
Do I need to alter the recipe for a 6-quart electric pressure cooker?
Yes, instead of relying on the cooker’s built-in timer to keep track of the pressurized cooking time, use your own timer and start the countdown as soon as the pot comes to pressure. After the 5-minute cooking time, quick release the pressure immediately; do not let the cooker switch to the warm setting. Use the browning (not the simmer) setting to simmer the pasta in step 5.