instant pot beef ragu with pappardelle

I’ve generally refrained from posting recipes that deal solely with a specific tool or gadget because in my opinion cooking should be inclusive for everyone, not just folks with all the toys. That being said, my husband got me an instant pot last christmas and I love that thing. I’ve never been a huge fan of slow cookers but pressure cookers, rice steamers, among its other functions? Yes please! This isn’t a sponsored post, I just really love my instant pot and I feel like so many people have one now that why not throw out a couple recipes? If you don’t have an instant pot, you can still make this recipe! Just follow the notes below the recipe to adapt for good old fashioned oven braising.

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Beef ragu is hands down one of my favorite things to put on pasta. It’s rich and hearty and chock full of flavor. Plus, it’s budget friendly because the cuts of meat used in ragu are usually cheap and benefit from a long cooking time (chuck and brisket to name a couple). The reason these cuts are so inexpensive is because they do take some time to tenderize. You can’t simply throw a hunk of brisket on the grill and expect a tender steak. They come from parts of the cow that do a lot of work and thus need more care to get them tender. Braising a ragu in the oven would take at least 3-3.5 hours, whereas with the instant pot the recipe is finished in a fraction of the time. I love that I’m able to throw together a rich and elegant meal on a weeknight.

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Oh, and what’s that dollop of white on the pasta? FREAKING MASCARPONE. I had it once at a little italian restaurant in San Diego on my bolognese and now I always put it on my pasta. If you haven’t done this, be prepared to change your life. Mascarpone is rich and creamy and just adds a little coolness and balance to an acidic and fatty sauce. And of course it’s topped with copious amounts of freshly grated parmesan, like all pasta should be. Buon appetito!

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Items used in this post:

Yield: 4-6 servings

instant pot beef ragu and pappardelle

prep time: 15 minscook time: 1 hour and 30 minstotal time: 1 hours and 45 mins


  • 2 lbs. cubed beef (brisket or chuck work well)
  • 3 oz pancetta or bacon, diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 medium carrots, finely diced
  • 3 ribs celery, finely diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, plus more for topping
  • 28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand
  • 1 cup dry white wine, nothing too sweet
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 lb. pappardelle pasta, cooked to al dente according to package instructions
  • mascarpone, for topping
  • freshly grated parmesan, for topping


  1. Turn your instant pot onto the 'sauté' function. Add the diced pancetta and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring regularly until the pancetta has crisped up and rendered some of its fat. Transfer pancetta to a plate and set aside. Add the olive oil to the instant pot and the cubes of beef into a single layer. Let the meat get very brown on all sides. You may have to do this in two batches. Remove the beef from the pan and set aside with the pancetta. 
  2. Add the onions, carrots and celery and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally until soft. Add the minced garlic and cook 1 minute more. Return the beef and pancetta to the pot. Add the wine, and bring to a simmer. Add the tomatoes and juice, bay leaf, oregano, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, and milk. Place the lid on the pot and lock into place. Cancel the sauté setting and change to 'meat/stew' high pressure for 1 hour and 15 minutes. 
  3. Manually release the pressure on the instant pot (make sure to do this away from walls or shelves that could be damaged by steam). Remove the lid, shred the meat with a fork,  and transfer again to the sauté function and simmer for 15 min or so until thickened, stirring once in a while so that the ragu doesn't stick. While you are doing this, cook your pasta and drain. Transfer pasta to bowls, top with ragu, mascarpone, freshly grated parmesan and red pepper flakes (if desired).


This recipe can be made without an instant pot. Follow the directions using a large dutch oven instead and cook in the oven for 2 1/2 hours at 375 plus another 30 minutes uncovered.
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