I've shared a few pressure-cooker recipes from How to Instant Pot (such as Beef Barbacoa Tacos and Smoky Potato and Kale Soup). Now I'm sharing a slow-cooker recipe. Slow-cooking is, after all, one of the many functions of the Instant Pot. (The slow cooker function gets its own chapter in my book.)
This Pork Shoulder Ragù is the recipe that landed on the book's cover. For this and more than 100 other Instant Pot recipes, get How to Instant Pot.
Pork shoulder turns fork-tender from low and slow cooking in the Instant Pot. A few minutes of effort at the beginning of your day can mean looking forward to a warm, hearty bowl of pasta and sauce toward the end of it. Rich with the flavor of slow-cooked onions and suffused with the complexity of red wine, this sauce knows few limits. As delicious as it is on pasta, it’s terrific over polenta, too.
TOTAL TIME: 10 hours
ACTIVE TIME: 20 minutes
YIELD: Serves 8
- 1 medium white or yellow onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1⁄2 cup dry red wine, such as Syrah or Zinfandel
- 1 can (28 ounces) whole, peeled tomatoes, drained
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 pounds bone-in pork shoulder, trimmed of most fat
- 1 box (16 ounces) dried short pasta, such as wagon wheels, orecchiette, or rigatoni, cooked, or 4 cups polenta, for serving
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
- Finely chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, for garnish (optional)
- Place the onion, garlic, wine, tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper in the inner pot and stir to combine before adding the pork shoulder. Close and lock the lid. Set the valve to Venting. Attach the condensation collector. Press Slow Cook and use the Slow Cook or Adjust button to select the middle temperature (“Normal”). Use the − or + button to set the time to 9 hours 30 minutes.
- When the cooking time is finished, remove the lid. The pork will be very tender. Remove it from the inner pot and transfer it to a cutting board. Discard the thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Use a potato masher in the inner pot to break up the chunks of tomato and help discover any pieces of bone remaining in the sauce. Allow the pork to rest until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes.
- While the pork rests, press Cancel and then press the Sauté or Adjust button to select the highest temperature (“More”). Allow the sauce to cook with the lid off until it thickens and loses about one third of its volume, about 10 minutes, and then press Cancel.
- Use one fork to pull off a chunk of the pork and then use two forks to shred that piece, holding down the meat with one fork and pulling at it with the other. Repeat with the remaining pork, discarding the fat and bones. Return the meat to the sauce and stir to distribute the meat.
- Serve hot, spooned over pasta and sprinkled with freshly grated Parmesan. Garnish with fresh parsley, if you like.
Pork Shoulder Ragù will keep, in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for up to 4 days. (A layer of fat will form atop the sauce. Stir it back into the sauce to enjoy the richness it adds, or scoop it off and discard it before reheating.) To reheat, place the sauce in a pot and warm on the stovetop over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.