I was never a big fan of my crockpot, and in fact, I might have pulled it out and dusted it off to use just three times a year since purchasing it many years ago. When I first heard about the Instant Pot, not being a crockpot fan, I was sure that it was another kitchen appliance that I wouldn’t use much so I ignored all the blogs raving about how great it was. I kept coming across recipes on Pinterest that raved about amazing dishes that could be prepared in mere minutes instead of hours however, and I decided that I needed to take a closer look at the Instant Pot. Well, I gave in and bought it, and now it is probably one of my most used appliances in my kitchen! I use my Instant Pot to make broth and yogurt every single week, use it to make soups and stews, and have found it perfect to cook dried beans. The Instant Pot is much more than a slow cooker and it actually the electric pressure cooker function that I use most often. I can make a delicious, deep flavored homemade chicken or vegetable broth in about forty minutes, where I used to have to simmer it on the stove for hours.
I recently decided to make a vegetable-based ragu sauce in my Instant Pot and combined mixed mushrooms with cubed eggplant for the base. The addition of rehydrated dried porcini mushrooms adds a surprising meaty flavor to this sauce creating a depth of flavor that will appeal to any meat lover. I first sautéed my vegetables in batches in my Instant Pot, then added the rest of the ingredients and cooked the sauce for thirty minutes using the pressure cooker function. The sauce was still a bit loose after forty minutes, so I simply continued to cook the sauce on the sauté function for ten minutes until it thickened. This sauce makes a large quantity, so I divided the sauce once it was cooked and froze half for a future meal. In my goal to eat healthier this year, I served this sauce on whole grain pasta which was a perfect pairing. The nutty flavor of farro pasta was an excellent choice for this earthy flavored sauce. The way the eggplant and mushrooms are cooked in this recipe creates a texture and flavor similar to a meat ragu although that wasn’t my intention, although It will appeal to any meat lovers in your family!
Deborah Mele 2018
Instant Pot Meaty Mushroom Ragu
- 1 Ounce Dried Porcini Mushrooms
- 6 Tablespoons Olive Oil, Divided
- 2 Pounds Mixed Fresh Mushrooms, Chopped
- 1 Stalk of Celery, Finely Chopped
- 1 Medium Carrot, Peeled & Finely Chopped
- 1 Medium Onion, Finely Chopped
- 1 Medium Eggplant, Peeled & Finely Chopped
- 5 Garlic Cloves, Peeled & Minced
- 1/2 Cup Dry White Wine
- 2 (15 Ounce) Cans Chopped Tomatoes
- 3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
- Salt & Pepper To Taste
- 1/4 Cup Finely Chopped Fresh Parsley
- 4 Tablespoons Finely Chopped Fresh Basil
- 2 Teaspoons Dried Oregano
- 1/2 Teaspoon Red Chili Flakes
- In a small bowl, place the dried porcini mushrooms and cover with 1 1/2 Cups boiling water.
- Let sit 20 minutes until softened.
- Drain mushrooms and reserve the soaking liquid.
- Finely chop the rehydrated mushrooms and set aside.
- Add 4 tablespoons of the oil to the Instant Pot and turn on the sauté function.
- Add the mushrooms, celery, and carrots, and cook, stirring often until the vegetables are soft and the mushrooms are beginning to brown, about 8 minutes.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove the mushroom mixture to a bowl.
- Add the remaining oil to the pot along with the onions and eggplant, and cook stirring often until soft and lightly browned, about 8 minutes.
- Add the garlic to the pot, and continue to cook another minute or two.
- Return the mushroom mixture to the pot along with the wine.
- Continue to cook until the wine has reduced by half, about 5 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes, reserved mushroom liquid, tomato paste, salt, pepper, parsley, basil, oregano, and chili flakes to the pot.
- Set the function to Manual, and cooking time to 30 minutes.
- Allow the pot to release slowly.
- Open the pot and taste the sauce.
- Adjust salt and pepper as needed.
- If the sauce is too loose, you can return to the sauce function to thicken it to your preference.
- Serve the sauce on pasta of choice.