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Meaty pasta sauce recipe

Meaty pasta sauce recipe

  • Recipes
  • Ingredients
  • Meat and poultry
  • Beef
  • Beef mince

This is a deliciously rich and well-flavoured Italian sauce to go with pasta. Beef and pork are simmered together in a seasoned tomato sauce base.

3 people made this

IngredientsServes: 4

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 large stick celery, finely chopped
  • 115g minced beef
  • 115g minced pork
  • 125ml red wine
  • 450g tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree
  • salt and black pepper to taste

MethodPrep:20min ›Cook:2hr20min ›Ready in:2hr40min

  1. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook the onion, carrot and celery in the hot oil until the tender and the onion has started to brown around the edges, about 5 minutes. Stir in the beef and pork; continue cooking and stirring until the meat is brown and crumbled, about 5 minutes. Pour in the wine, bring to the boil and cook until the wine has nearly evaporated. Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer 2 hours until the meat is very tender. Use a little water as needed if the sauce begins to look too dry.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(4)

Reviews in English (4)

by Leonda58

I followed the recipe exactly and our family really enjoyed it. Would like to try it with some garlic and fresh basil next time.-18 Sep 2009

by Lizthecook

It came out a little too vinegary for my taste. If I made it again, I'd probably use red wine instead of red wine vinegar. Also, a tip, mince all the veggies in a food processor the night before you cook, to ease up on the prep time.-11 Mar 2010

by Wyattdogster

In the end, we liked this sauce but it needed a little help. Because of the confusion in the ingredients I had to make some changes. The ingredients call for red wine vinegar, but the directions say to add the red wine. Hmm, I chose to go with the vinegar but used half the amount. I was worried about the acidity of the tomatoes and the vinegar so I added two large bay leaves at the start of the simmering time. After an hour of simmering, I tasted and the sauce needed a boost so I added 2 cloves of minced garlic. With these few changes, it was an excellent sauce. I do wonder what the submitter intended..vinegar or wine? addendum: I see that the ingredient list has been corrected to include red wine instead of red wine vinegar, which was listed in the original ingredient list. I made it again, and again I added the fresh garlic, it just seems to be missing it!-06 Aug 2012

Nana’s Best Meat Sauce (with Spaghetti) Recipe

Nana knows a thing or two about home cooking.

If you’ve been following the blog for awhile, you’ve surely tried Nana’s EPIC Creamy Potato Soup Recipe and Nana’s Epic Chicken and Rice. If you haven’t yet STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING and go add these to your dinner menu for next week. Seriously.

Anyways, as I was saying, my mom “Nana” is my go-to guide for all things comfort food. So when I wanted to create a hearty, savory, Sunday dinner-worthy Spaghetti with Meat Sauce recipe, I of course turned to Nana…

This fabulously easy and delicious sauce is a play off my mom’s old-timey spaghetti and meat sauce recipe. It’s not meant to be an authentic Italian Bolognese recipe, but is more of a classic Italian-America bistro meat sauce that’s heavy on the tomatoes. It is similar to Sunday Gravy but without the sausage links and peppers.

Pasta with Meat Sauce Recipe

TRADITIONAL ITALIAN RECIPE: My mother always wanted to please everyone at home, even if it meant creating much more work for herself.

She often made different versions of the same dish in order to appease everyone’s (sometimes picky) taste preferences. Sauce was always a point of contention. For the most part, my mom made a simple marinara sauce that she flavored with spare ribs as it simmered away.

One of my 3 sisters for examle didn’t like chunks of anything in her sauce, so my mommy never served up true bolognese for her. I too, when i was young, didn't like meat that much, But bolognese was the exeption. It was easy to choose.

At some point in those early years, I had the chance to taste my mom's meat sauce after it had spent a Sunday afternoon simmering away on the stove. I was about 8 year old. I still remember that day. It wasn't bad at all. Not only had I fallen head over heels for my pickyness, but I also fell madly in love with that sauce. I’ve been enjoying it ever after, and I made it myself for the first time shortly before Christmas 2000, when I moved to the UK. I called her, and asked about her recipe. And while I ate it I remember thinking "my mom is awesome".

Like most sauces, there’s no real “italian recipe” for this. The recipe is pretty loose because it really is “just a pinch of this and a drizzle of that”. However, I wrote down exactly what my mother uses.

You still have the ability to alter the sauce to your taste buds and I encourage tasting it throughout the cooking process!

If you prefer a meatless sauce, you can simply omit the meat and make the sauce as directed below.


Cook olive oil and butter in a large skillet on medium heat until melted and hot (not smoking).

Add onion and sauté until translucent, then add the mushrooms and cook until softened.

Crumble in the ground beef, breaking it up into bits with your spatula and cook until browned.

Add wine, marinara sauce, Italian seasoning, garlic and fresh basil. Mix to combine thoroughly. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Serve on top of pasta or with crusty bread. If storing for later, let sauce cool completely and store in the freezer in an airtight container until you're ready to reheat and enjoy for dinner.

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Great simple sauce, made as is except I added salt & pepper in each layer. Next time would add some pepper flakes in the onion step to give it a little zing. You certainly could add other veggies as others wrote about.

I have made this over and over again and my kids love it. I add in a few fresh tomatoes and more parsley than the recipe calls for. I also use Italian style diced tomatoes.

I use this as a base for when I want to make a meat sauce for lasagna whether it be sausage, beef, or both. When finishing with the onion mixture I add a small can of paste and an a whole glass of wine and reduce some before adding the rest.

This is a great basic meat sauce recipe. It is lacking in salt and pepper which I like to add to each layer. So 1/2 tsp kosher salt and pepper to taste added to the meat and again to the onion/garlic/carrot (yes I like to add carrot to cut the acid in the tomatoes)

Needs salt and pepper for my taste.

Very good & easy. Used ground turkey & hot turkey sausage.

3 1/2 forks. Terrific for a Sunday night with family. Per other reviews, I added some red pepper flakes, 2 T tomato paste, lemon zest, 1/2 grated carrot, 2 extra garlic cloves and a little more wine. Lots of flavor for such a quick sauce!

Great. I made this for my kids and I as a weekday dinner, so I omitted the wine. It turned out perfectly and the kids (ages 5 & 3) loved it too.

We love this dish although I have to admit making my own changes. Instead of parsley I use fresh cilantro and I agree with the note about using other fresh herbs over the dried stuff, especially the basil. I also add green peppers.

My Mom is from Northern Italy, and the man who raised me is Sicilian, very different styles of sauces, take something from each. This recipe is what we might call a quick everyday sauce. To amp up the flavor, add more fresh garlic, you can smash it with a knife blade or slice it. Add a carrot shredded to the onions, will take the bitterness of canned tomatoes out. Use fresh herbs if you can, good handful sizes, and don't be afraid to add some cheese to your sauce toward the end of cooking, parmesan and romano. For dried herbs, you can use oregano and basil, and you can add crushed rosemary and winter savory, crush them in your hands as you add them. For more flavor, you can add lots of different things, capers, olives, sauteed mushrooms.

I had everything but the onions, but just added onion powder with all the other dried ingredients. Did 3/4th lb ground beef and 1/2 lb ground pork. Good cupboard meat sauce. And I used petite dice tomatoes which worked well.

nice recipe. Here's a really good pasta sauce recipe I stumbled upon.

I agree with those who said it was missing something - wishing I had the email from whoever said theyɽ send me a better one. I used half pork, doubled spices, then added some dried hot pepper flakes, worcesstershire but it just wasn't great . Next time I'll try mushrooms and maybe other veggies - or another recipe!

This was a great hearty meat sauce. The wine flavor came through a lot, which I loved. Next time I will chop the tomatoes more finely for a little more consistency. Great dish.

I have tried soooooo many recipes for a decent meat sauce over pasta, and this is the one I keep coming back to over and over. In the winter, I use dried spices and canned petite diced tomatoes. In the summer, I make it with home grown spices and any kind of ripe tomatoes. Ahhhhh! Delicious! The only change I make is adding a small can each of tomato paste and tomato sauce. I dislike runny sauce of any kind, and the addition of the tomato paste and sauce is to kick up the tomato flavor and to make it thicker and less watery. Sometimes I add red wine, sometimes I don't. I always get two thumbs up from my hubby no matter what. I've used this recipe for going on three years now, and it's just the *best* recipe for meat sauce anywhere.

This recipe is such a great "base". I also used tomato paste and 2 cans of "Italian style, stewed" tomatoes. I used heaps of fresh herbs which were really tasty and instead of wine (I don't cook with alcohol) I used a bit of red wine vinegar and some worchester sauce. Turned out SO well and was a hit!

I liked this basic meat sauce recipe. The flavors are much better with fresh herbs instead of dry. I felt it needed more olive oil, but didn't want any more fat, so i added some chopped black olives, which improved the flavor. Tomato paste and bay leaves also helped.

this is really easy and pretty darn good. i also added an italian salad dressing package and some sugar. as an addition to the meat i used italian sausage. yum!

This is a good STARTER recipe that you can tweak to your liking. I use tons more garlic, used tomatoe paste instead of sauce, and use more red wine. I also tweak the herbs. more basil, less the others. I like that this let me know the basic ingredients that should go into the sauce which allows me to tailor the sauce to my family's taste. My husband LOVES when I make this sauce. Easy and tastes much better than jarred sauce.

Makes for a perfectly decent but underwhelming sauce. The sauce was fresh and healthy but not particularly tasty. I didn't have fresh herbs, which I'll grant is a factor. I did add some lemon zest and a teaspoon of sugar, as suggested below.

Excellent! and soooooo easy!

Followed other reviewer's advice and used tomato paste instead of tomato sauce. Also adding mushrooms (cremini and white cap) makes this sauce more interesting and more tasty. This recipe is definitely a keeper!

This is my favorite meat sauce. I do not use the tomato sauce but substitute tomato paste and add more wine!

try it with a little lemon zest. it does wonders. oh and yeah, i found that the flavors did not come through very well, even though i used all fresh ingredients. still good and would eat and cook it again.

  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the garlic and oil over medium heat for about 5 minutes
  2. Add in the beef and break it up into crumbles and cook over medium heat for about 5-7 minutes or until there isn’t too much pink left
  3. Add in sauce, spices, milk and butter and stir well and allow the sauce to simmer for a few
  4. While the sauce is simmering, cook pasta per instructions then strain water and add pasta to saucepan with sauce
  5. Mix in shredded cheese and stir everything together
  6. Season with some extra shaved parm, basil and red pepper if desired and enjoy!
  7. *Store leftovers in fridge for 5 days. I reheat in microwave with a splash of water!

Recipe Summary

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 carrot, grated (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3/4 pound ground beef
  • 1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 pound fettuccine
  • Grated Parmesan, for serving

Heat butter and oil in a large saucepan over medium. Stir in carrot, onion, and garlic. Add ground beef, and cook until it turns from pink to brown, about 5 minutes.

Add tomatoes and their liquid, crushing them with the back of a large spoon. Stir in milk, bay leaf, thyme, nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Simmer 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook fettuccine until al dente according to package instructions, about 12 minutes. Reserve about 1/2 cup of the cooking water drain fettuccine, and return to the warm pot. Add meat sauce, and toss. Add pasta water as needed if the sauce seems dry. To serve, sprinkle with Parmesan.

Ethan B.

For the celery is it just 4 ribs ir 4 whole stalks? Also for the tomatoes is it 2 cans each or 2 cans totaling 28oz?

Gregory-Marc M.

I have been using this recipe for years now. I've made some tweaks some people may like. I add about 10 finely chopped mushrooms or two medium size portebellos and reduce the carrots to 2. I add spices as I find it is missing quite a few. I add: 2 tspns of Italian Seasoning 1 tbsp Salt (to taste really) 1 tbsp Sugar (to cut the acidity a bit) 1 tspn to a tbpn of fresh ground pepper half a tspn of dry mustard half a tspn of rosemary I feel this really makes it pop

Daniel L.

close to my own recipe, i add mushrooms , broccoli. I also remove the sausages casings and make meat balls with the meat, along with lean ground meat. I use Costco Victoria Marinara sauce.

Sharon C.

Hello. New cooker here. Please help me. For following "2 cans 28 oz (796 ml) diced Italian tomatoes 2 cans 28 oz (796 ml) tomato sauce . " Are the listed ml the TOTAL amount or the amount of EACH can should be and thus we need 2? I ask because diced tomatoes only come in 796ml cans where I shop. Thanks so much if anyone can answer this for me.

Ray P.

Attn: Gus J. Celery is defined differently in most countries. CDN sticks=ribs. That's a single 'rib' of celery. CDN brunch=stalk. I think it is the same definition as in the US. You will find in many recipes that there is an equal number of carrots as celery. So 4 carrots = 4 sticks, or 'ribs' of celery.

Kris D.

Excellent recipe! Well done, a keeper!!

Anthony C.

Add in 1-2 bay leaves, extra oregano, parsley flakes and extra salt. Its a great recipe just does need a little more for the volume.

Sarah D.

Husband and guests found that this taste like homemade catelli. I’ve never eaten catelli, but seeing as it’s canned spaghetti sauce I didn’t exactly take it as a compliment. I like it, but I prefer my own sauce which is even simpler but is full of fresh herbs. This sauce lacks depth. It needs fresh basil, thyme, and oregano. I also had to add a bit of honey to cut the acidity of the tomatoes (and it did wonders). Overall it’s good, but there are better sauces out there.

Dorothy M.

when you say cloves you mean like cloves you use on ham, how to you remove them after or do you


Hi Dorothy, yes exactly, no need to remove them. Thanks!

Michele R.

Excellent flavor with a slight kick from the chilli flakes, cloves add a pleasant aroma and taste. Sauce boasts a rich red eye appealing color . I have about a cup of red wine I am contemplating adding . However, this sauce tastes fabulous as is.

Denise S.

Excellent spaghetti sauce. This is definitely going to be my go-to sauce going forward. Thank you so very much for sharing!!

Pedro D.

Must admit that i'm very disappointed with this recipe. In my opinion it lacks in flavor. It needs more punch. All i can taste is the tomatoes. unfortunaltely the taste of the italian sausage gets lost in this sea of tomatoes. It's a decent base but i would suggest adding whatever ingredients fits your palate because it's pretty much flat. A couple tsp of oregano isnt nearly enough to properly flavor the sauce.

Bradley P.

We were visiting friends in the summer and they served this for dinner - we never ask for seconds and both did on this occasion! My friend shared the recipe and I've now made this several times as it has become our favourite pasta sauce. We're addicted!

Marv B.

I’ve tried so so many sauce recipes and this is by far the only one I’d try again. If you like a great meaty slightly spicedy but not overbearing sauce then this is it.The absolute best. I didn’t use the cloves, still was a 10 plus!! I’ve poured this stuff over anything- chicken, burgers, pork you name it. Just the best. My key to a great sauce is if you can eat it warmed up with a spoon or a bit of bread then that’s the key to a great sauce!!

Christine B.

J'ai bien aimé, par contre, la deuxième fois j'ai ajouté des champignons et des piments frais! Car j'adore!!

When using wine to cook with, go for a dry variety. I know some people will say just go for the cheapest bottle you can find, but I suggest using a type of wine that you would drink. Varieties that work best for cooking are Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, and Merlot.

Add a splash to the sauce, and a splash to your glass! Cooking is always so much fun with a (moderate, of course) glass of wine in hand.

Hearty Bolognese-Style Meat Sauce for Pasta

This hearty meat sauce is inspired by the classic ragù alla bolognese, which is a thick, meaty sauce that is simmered for hours with milk, red wine, and a couple of tablespoons or so of tomato paste—a surprisingly small amount of tomato by North America standards.

This recipe is even saucier. The wine stays in and a small amount of beef stock is added. The milk is gone, and canned tomatoes are used instead of tomato paste.

It's also much quicker to make than the traditional ragù, which might spend four hours simmering away until the meat breaks down and melts luxuriously into the sauce. This recipe calls for simmering this sauce for about an hour, long enough to cook away much of the liquid, while still leaving just enough so that it will still coat your pasta.

Like ragù alla bolognese, this meat sauce pairs well with bigger pasta such as tagliatelle–which are wide ribbons–or rigatoni–which are short, wide tubes.

Indeed, if there's a recipe this meat sauce resembles even more than the traditional Italian ragù alla bolognese, it's the simplified version of bolognese sauce commonly served in the UK, where it is unabashedly enjoyed with spaghetti—to the palpable dismay of Italian chefs everywhere. (Indeed, spaghetti bolognese, or spag bol as it's called, is as ubiquitous over there as fish and chips or doner kebabs.)

The combination of ground beef chuck and pork brings a meaty, fatty goodness to the sauce. It's hearty and satisfying, whatever your pasta inclinations might be. It would also make a great sauce to use for making lasagna.