Is there anything more homey and comforting than the tangy, umami smells of simmering tomato sauce? I think most of us will agree that a bowl of al dente pasta and ragu is a universally loved dish, and with the kiddos back to virtual school now, easy weeknight dinners are a must. Back when my casa was overrun with little ones, spaghetti nights were a weekly occurrence. So, for this batch of ragu, I decided to use the Insta to keep clean up minimal and as a means to slow cook the sauce all day with little fuss or attention required. I did spend about 15 minutes worth of prep work to dice up my veggies, but nowadays you can find plenty of prechopped vegetables at most groceries, if after a long day of homeschooling you don’t have the energy for prepping your own mise en place that is. Take that extra time instead to sip a refreshing glass of vino. You deserve it!
2 sweet Italian sausage links
2 cups fresh tomatoes, cored and diced
1/2 lg sweet onion diced
2 carrots, trimmed and petite diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp Aleppo, optional
2 tbsp dried Italian herb blend, or to taste
1 can diced tomatoes
1 cup water or stock
2 tabs butter, divided
salt and black pepper
1 lb spaghetti or angle hair pasta
Set the Insta pot to the high Sauté setting and melt a tab of butter. To the melted butter add the Italian sausage and sauté until it browns, breaking up large chunks as needed. Add next the onion, carrot, dried herbs, and garlic. Salt and pepper. Continue sautéing until the veg begins to soften. Turn off the Sauté setting and add next the fresh and canned tomatoes and cup of water, stirring all the fond up from the bottom the pot.
Now you have two options. You can switch the Insta Pot to its Slow Cooker setting and let the ragu simmer on Normal heat for several hours. Alternately, you can switch the Insta to the Soup/Stew setting and pressure cook the ragu for 30 minutes on high. As stated, I went with the slow cooker option and let the ragu simmer for about 6 hours.
Once the vegetables have broken down, add the last tab of butter, taste the ragu, and adjust seasonings, as needed. Switch the Insta back to the high Sauté setting and reduce the ragu to your desired consistency, optional. I prefer a thicker sauce, so I reduced the ragu for an additional 15 minutes. Serve immediately with pasta of choice and garnish with cracked black pepper, fresh basil, sliced grape tomatoes, and grated Parmesan, if desired.