Antonis Achilleos
Active Time
40 MIN
Total Time
2 HR 10 MIN
Yield
Serves : 4

One of my all-time favorite foods to cook for cold, dreary nights is braised meat—slow-simmered until it is meltingly tender and has perfumed the whole house with savory aromas. I usually reserve that kind of cooking for the weekend since it takes hours, but thanks to the Instant Pot, I can eat this way even on a busy weeknight. And that’s a great thing because we all deserve to eat this way whenever we want to (or, in my case, need to).

The meat of choice in this recipe is chuck roast. It’s reliably rich and reasonably fatty, a perfect contender for braising. When cut into large chunks, seared, and cooked under pressure, it takes only 30 minutes to reach perfect fork-tender doneness—not hours as it would in the oven or on the stovetop. Once it’s done, I pull it into large shreds and toss the meat and sauce with pasta. Pappardelle is my noodle of choice because the broad noodles soak up the sauce beautifully, but you could also use tagliatelle or fettuccine. The meaty sauce is equally good over a bed of mashed potatoes or polenta if you’re not in a pasta mood—but you might want to thicken it a bit if serving that way.

It’s worth noting that a few special touches give the sauce added oomph with barely any added effort. First, along with onion and garlic, some sliced fennel bulb goes into the pot, where, through the magic of pressure cooking, it goes from super crunchy to buttery soft and yielding with a light whiff of anise. And a canned chipotle chile goes in as well, where it disintegrates while adding a hint of smoke and heat.

So when nothing but a big plate of meaty pasta will do—and your heart demands tender braised meat, not ground meat (which is also delicious but a totally different experience)—pull out the pressure cooker. In just about an hour, you can be diving into this big bowl of soul-satisfying goodness.

How to Make It

Step 1    

Select SAUTÉ setting on a 6-quart programmable pressure multicooker (such as Instant Pot). (Times, instructions, and settings may vary according to cooker brand or model.) Select HIGH temperature setting, and allow to preheat. Add oil to cooker. Add beef to cooker, and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Sear, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 15 minutes. Transfer browned beef to a plate.

Step 2    

Add onion, fennel, and garlic to cooker. Cook, stirring occasionally, just until starting to soften, 3 to 5 minutes. Add wine, scraping bottom to loosen browned bits. Add tomatoes, and return beef to cooker, along with any accumulated juices. Stir in remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt and remaining 3/4 teaspoon pepper; submerge bay leaves, oregano sprigs, and chipotle chile in tomato mixture.

Step 3    

Cover cooker with lid, and lock in place. Turn steam release handle to SEALING position. Select MANUAL/PRESSURE COOK setting. Select HIGH pressure for 30 minutes. (It will take 15 to 20 minutes for cooker to come up to pressure before cooking begins.)

Step 4    

Carefully turn steam release handle to VENTING position, and let steam fully escape (float valve will drop). Remove lid from cooker.

Step
Step 5    

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions for al dente; drain, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid.

Step 6    

Remove beef from cooker using tongs, and place on a cutting board. Discard bay leaves and oregano sprigs. Skim fat from top of tomato sauce; discard. Coarsely shred beef using 2 forks; return beef to cooker. Select SAUTÉ setting on cooker. Select medium temperature setting, and bring tomato sauce to a boil. Add cooked pasta, tossing gently to coat in tomato sauce mixture. (Don’t worry: It will be very saucy, but the pasta will start to absorb the sauce, and all will end well.) Cook, tossing occasionally, until sauce thickens slightly and pasta absorbs some sauce, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup reserved cooking liquid to cooker as needed to loosen sauce. Season with salt to taste. Divided among shallow bowls, and top with cheese. Garnish with oregano or parsley, and serve immediately.

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