Tender, moist and juicy Pressure Cooker Italian Meatballs in Red Wine Sauce are amazing. The Meatballs cook in a Rich and flavorful Tomato Sauce.
So, I asked a good friend of mine, Na’an Giemdilo, if Italians really refer to Tomato Sauce as Gravy.
She said, no Italian she knows calls it Gravy. She is Italian with family in Italy and I trust her. Sauce it is!
I used to baked my Meatballs in the Oven and then cook them in this Red Wine Gravy in a deep Cast Iron Dutch Oven on the stove top.
There ingredients are pretty much Pantry Staples.
It looks like so much chopping, but in actuality, there is minimal chopping.
My shortcuts will save you loads of time.
Jump to Section
How to Make Italian Meatballs?
- All ingredients for meatballs are chopped in a food processor.
- The ground meat is then combined.
- The mixture is rolled into balls, sautéed and then cooked in a red wine sauce.
I use this method with my Pressure Cooker Greek Meatballs too, which are delicious and a snap to make.
Why Use a Food Processor for Meatballs?
First of all, a food processor is such a time saver in the kitchen.
All the ingredients for the meatballs can be added at the same time and processed to perfection.
Ground meat will combine with the meatball mix and break drown more.
This helps the make the meatballs will be easier to roll.
Each meatball will be nice and tight and stay together when cooked under pressure.
The easiest way to get the Meatballs all about the same size, is to first divide the Meatball mix into four sections. Then divide each section into three Balls.
You can see this in one of the above photos.
Roll the Meatballs nice and tight.
Doing so, will help make the Stainless Steel Pot, non-stick.
Searing the Meatballs after dredging through Potato Starch prevents the Meatballs from sticking and will add a nice crust.
Recently, I have been getting a slew of questions regarding searing the meat first.
I am asked if it is necessary or if they can skip the browning and/or searing of the meat.
Should I Sear or Brown My Meat?
- On some recipes, absolutely. But not on all recipes.
- There is not a boilerplate answer for this question.
- There are many, many factors that go into deciding about sautéing, searing, browning, or not to sauté, sear or brown.
- I will tell you that for this recipe, searing the Italian Meatballs first is highly recommended for maximum flavor.
- The Meatballs and Sauce shouldn’t be greasy, but we want some fat in the Sauce.
- Searing the Meatballs first, which will remove some of the excess fat, but will leave in the flavoring (and dumping the grease), will prevent this from happening.
- Alternatively, you can bake the Meatballs in the Oven or Air Fryer first. (see notes in the recipe card)
- Getting a nice and dark crust on these meatballs, will ensure a very soft and juicy meatball.
- I have a trick for cooking chicken, so that the White Meat always stays moist and juicy. Without this trick, you probably won’t have a juicy piece of chicken.
Dredging the Meatballs in Potato Starch first, makes searing super easy and the Meatballs will just roll around the pot.
This is something I rarely say.
Deglaze the cooking pot and dump out all the liquid and gunk.
Yes, yes, I know, Fond (the brown bits) are where flavor lives….Yummy and flavorful.
In this case, we don’t want the icky fat trapped inside.
If you are a beginner cook, you may have difficulty searing the Meatballs and need to use extra oil.
For more advanced cooks, if you are able to sear with just a little oil, then you can skip this step, keep the Fond and go on to the next step of cooking down the Onions.
Otherwise, start with a clean pot for the next step.
In my very popular Pressure Cooker Sloppy Joe’s recipe, it calls for draining the grease and liquid, as well.
I wrote about my reasoning in that article. One method is not always the same for every recipe, so I suggest at least trying the recipe as written and then coming to your own conclusion.
The purpose for the Onion in the Sauce part of the Pressure Cooker Italian Meatballs in Red Wine Sauce is for flavor, not texture.
Therefore, it is best to grate the Onions, so that they will completely disintegrate into the Sauce.
You can also grate the Carrots, which is for the same reason.
Make sure to grate right into the cooking pot, so that you get all the Onion juice!
There won’t be much to deglaze here and using the Red Wine to do the deglazing will allow much of the alcohol to burn off now and leave great depth of flavor.
Make sure you use a good Spatula that can handler higher heats.
Even if you are not a Red Wine drinker or hate Red Wine, you will still love this recipe. The Red Wine gives it rich and deep flavor.
You are now ready to make the Red Wine Tomato Sauce.
It is super quick and pairs so nicely with the Italian Meatballs.
How to Make Italian Red Wine Tomato Sauce.
The Carrots will balance out the acidity of the Tomato Sauce.
Some people use Sugar to do this, so if you don’t have carrots available, add two teaspoons of Sugar.
The Sauce will already be very fragrant and wonderful.
You might want to have a loaf of my Country Sourdough Bread nearby, so that you can dip the bread into the Red Wine Tomato Sauce!
Your kitchen will small amazing.
I mean amazeballs, really!
Not all canned tomatoes are created equally. It doesn’t so much matter the brand.
Make sure the label on the can reads “imported from Italy.”
You want the tomatoes to come from Italy, not tomatoes with Italian spices.
I can still remember cooking this recipe totally outside when we were RV’ing.
Since I don’t like to cook inside the RV, we set up a full kitchen outside.
It was ridiculous. I even bought several storage cabinets that doubled as kitchen counters.
My first Electric Pressure Cooker was a Wolfgang Puck, in 2004/5.
We even had an ice maker!
These Pressure Cooker Italian Meatballs in Red Wine Sauce, are just as good cooked in the Pressure Cooker!!!!!
And, in a fraction of the time!!!!!
You can see from the above photo, the Italian Meatballs are not drowning in an oily and greasy Sauce.
Some oil and grease is good and does add flavor.
How good does this look?
Imagine putting these Pressure Cooker Italian Meatballs in Red Wine Sauce in my yummy Air Fryer Italian Bread Buns?
Well, that might be too much, really, but, try those buns!
The Meatballs are tender, juicy and packed with flavor.
The Red Wine Tomato Sauce is to die for, seriously. Just ask Jen Neefer, one of my testers on this recipe.
Oh yum! Rich and delicious Pressure Cooker Italian Meatballs in Red Wine Sauce.
This is a very simple recipe and your family and friends will think you stood over a hot stove for hours and hours and maybe, all day!
For more Italian recipes, try my Instant Pot Italian Chicken Marsala recipe, my Pressure Cooker Italian Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake, Pressure Cooker Chicken Picatta recipe and so many more wonderful dishes.
Kitchen Equipment and Essentials
- Instant Pot, Ninja Foodi or Pressure Cooker
- J.A. Henckels Classic 8 inch Chef’s Knife
- Amco Advanced Performance 18/10 Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons
- Simply Gourmet (Dry) Stainless Steel Measuring Cups
- Anchor Hocking Glass (Liquid) Measuring Cups
- Cilio Olivewood Spatula
- di Oro Living Silicone Spatulas Set
- Rachael Ray Stoneware EVOO Oil Dispensing Bottle
- Alton Brown Salt Box
- Electric Pepper Mill
- 6 oz Porcelain Ramekins
- My FANTASTIC Teak Cutting & Charcuterie Board & Compartments
- Small 1.5 Quart “Pot in Pot” Mixing Bowl
- Microplane Artisan Fine Cheese Grater
- Cuisinart Large Food Processor
Caring is sharing! If you would like to support This Old Gal, please share this recipe on Social Media, so that I can continue to bring you more wonderful recipes!
If you share a picture of something you make from our blog, tag it with #thisoldgalcooks so we can see it. We might feature it on Instagram! It makes my day when I see you’ve made one of our recipes!
Here is the handy printable recipe:
Pressure Cooker Italian Meatballs in Red Wine SaucePrint Pin SaveSaved! Rate
- 5 ounces Ricotta Cheese
- 1 cup Rolled Oats (not Instant)
- 3 Tablespoons Heavy Cream
- 2 cloves Fresh Garlic
- 1 large Egg
- 7 grams Sun Dried Tomatoes (dry, not in oil)
- 15 grams Fresh Flat Leaf Parsley (fresh)
- 19 grams Hard Parmesan Cheese grated
- 1/2 teaspoon Paprika
- 1.25 teaspoon Dried Oregano
- 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 1 teaspoon Fennel Seeds crushed
- 1 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes (or Sambal Oelek Chili Paste)
- 1/2 teaspoon Ground Allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon Ground Cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- Fresh Flat Leaf Parsley
- Asiago or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- Add all Meatball Mixture ingredients to the bowl of a food processor and process, until well combined. Add Beef and Pork and pulse to combine.
- Roll into 12 Meatballs and then dredge through Potato Starch.
- Select Sauté or Browning on Pressure Cooker and allow pot to fully heat.
- Add 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil to cooking pot. Sear Meatballs in batches, adding additional Oil, as needed, until slightly crisp and remove to a plate.
- Add ¼ cup Water and deglaze cooking pot. Dump out liquid/bits and start with clean pot.
- Add 1 Tablespoon Oil, Carrots and diced Onions to cooking pot. Sauté until soft.
- Add Garlic and Sauté for 30 seconds longer.
- Pour in Red Wine and deglaze cooking pot, making sure to scrape up all stuck on brown bits. Add Tomato Paste and simmer for about five minutes to reduce the Wine.
- Whisk in Beef Stock, Tomato Puree, Oregano and Basil. Make sure nothing is stuck to the bottom of the pot.
- Carefully add Meatballs to the Sauce.
- Lock on Lid and close Pressure Valve. Cook at Low Pressure for 10 minutes. When Beep sounds, wait 15 minutes and then release pressure.
- Garnish with Parmesan Cheese, Basil, Parsley.