6-ingredient sausage ragu sauce (stove top or pressure cooker)

6-ingredient sausage pappardelle bolognese (stove top and pressure cooker)

This is a ridiculously tasty sausage bolognese recipe that I usually serve with pappardelle pasta. Perfect for when you're in the mood for a bit of comfort food but don't want to spend hours at the stove. Speaking of which... you need very little hands-on time for this recipe, and the best part? It's made with just 6 main ingredients!
Course easy main meal
Cuisine British
Keyword comfort food, pappardelle, ragu, sausages, winter
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Pressure cooker 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings 4 -6
Calories 757kcal
Author Helen



  • 2 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 1 bulb fennel chopped like an onion
  • 14 ounces pork sausages (I use six good quality Italian sausages)
  • 3/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 cup red wine (pressure cooker: ½ cup)
  • 3 1/2 cups passata (US = tomato sauce) (pressure cooker: 1 cup)
  • 1 cup water (pressure cooker: ½ cup)

to serve

  • 3 tbsp panko breadcrumbs (roughly)
  • grated parmesan cheese
  • salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces pappardelle pasta (about 1 'nest' per person - trust me, this is enough!)
  • toasted Italian bread with olive oil & salt optional (but sooo delicious!)


  • Trim the long part of the fennel off the bulb and put aside. Chop the very end off the bulb, then cut into fine pieces, like an onion.
  • Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan/cast iron pan, or the bowl of an electric pressure cooker. Squeeze the meat out of the skin and into the hot pan/bowl.
  • Cook the sausage for a few minutes until white, then mash it with a potato masher until it looks like ground meat.
  • Add the chopped fennel, the fennel seeds (if using) and the rosemary and let cook for about five minutes longer.
  • Pour in the wine, passata/tomato sauce and water (note different amounts if using pressure cooker). Leave to cook gently for about an hour (stove top). If using a pressure cooker, choose the 'bolognese' setting, or manually set it for 20 minutes followed by 'auto quick' pressure release. Reduce the liquid for a few minutes using the 'reduce' or 'saute' setting. Add salt & pepper to taste.
  • About ten minutes before the end of the cooking time, cook the pasta according to the packet instructions.
  • While the pasta is cooking, heat up about a tablespoon of olive oil in a small frying pan/skillet. Fry the panko crumbs for a few minutes, stirring regularly, until they are crispy.
  • Divide the pasta between your plates, then ladle the bolognese sauce on top. Sprinkle with the crumbs, grated parmesan, and some green fronds from the fennel.



Thanks to Jamie Oliver's restaurant, Perth, for the inspiration for this recipe!

A note on making this on the stove top vs. in an electric pressure cooker

Both ways of cooking will yield excellent results, but obviously the pressure cooker method will be a bit quicker (about 35 minutes vs. 1 hour actual cooking time).
I use the 'bolognese' setting on my pressure cooker. It's 20 minutes of actual cooking time, but there's also pre-heating and de-pressurizing time to add to that (so all in all you're looking at about 35 minutes in the pressure cooker). 
If your electric pressure cooker doesn't have a bolognese setting, manually set it to 20 minutes, and 'auto quick' pressure release. 
Sometimes I reduce my bolognese sauce a little after it's cooked (for 2 to 3 minutes) on the 'reduce' setting. The saute setting will work for this too.

A note for bolognese snobs & general perfectionists!

Use the best quality sausages you can find.
I don't think it matters too much whether you use red or white wine - just use whichever you prefer or have.
Make sure the breadcrumbs are nice and crispy and you put plenty on top of each dish ... it really makes the dish, in my opinion!
Serve with toasted Italian-style bread drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt. A bit indulgent, but just delicious!

A note on freezing this sausage bolognese sauce

This bolognese sauce freezes really well. Simply let cool and freeze in sealed glass containers. 
This recipe is very easily doubled or even tripled if you want to stock up your freezer!


Calories: 757kcal | Carbohydrates: 73g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 35g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 71mg | Sodium: 787mg | Potassium: 1666mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 1270IU | Vitamin C: 30.9mg | Calcium: 112mg | Iron: 6.9mg