Magnificent Meat Sauce with Pasta

Meat sauce

This meat sauce is so flavorful and versatile. Just wait until you see how many different recipes I am working it into! This is my first time ever cooking ground meat on my own, so I am very proud to have made something really delicious using a recipe that I will return to again and again. For this rendition, the meat sauce is served simply over pasta with some basil and parmesan cheese. It is so good. This recipe makes a lot of sauce, so I brought a container of it with me on a visit home for my family to taste, and everyone loved it. They are all picky, so that’s saying a lot!

Meat sauce

To make the sauce, heat a very large pot over medium-high heat. I started off with a pot that was too small, and I had to transfer everything into a larger pot while I was cooking. There is nothing worse than unnecessarily dirty dishes! Into the hot pot, dump 3 pounds of ground beef. I used beef that was 96% lean, and it worked well. Use a spoon to stir the meat around, and brown all of it. Once there is no pink left in the meat, use a slotted spoon to transfer the meat to a bowl. Dump all of the liquid that the meat released out into the trash, and return the pot to the stove.

Meat sauce

Dice 1 onion and 1 seeded green pepper, and mince 3 garlic cloves. Drizzle some olive oil into the pot, and then add in the vegetables. Sweat the vegetables until they soften and turn translucent. Then, pour in 1/2 cup of white wine. Use your spoon to scrape up any bits of food that are stuck to the pot, and then let the wine cook off.

Meat sauce

To the pot, add a 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes, a large can or jar of marinara sauce (I think mine was 25 ounces), and 2 tablespoons of tomato paste. And now for the seasonings…sprinkle in 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme, 1/2 teaspoon of dried basil, 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, 2 bay leaves, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt. Stir everything together.

Meat sauce

Add the browned meat into the pot of tomato sauce, and give it a good stir. Bring the sauce to a simmer, put a lid on the pot, and let it cook for 1 hour. Stir the sauce occasionally, adding water if you think the liquid looks low.

Meat sauce

After the hour, add 3 tablespoons of minced fresh basil to the sauce, along with 1 parmesan cheese rind. Let the sauce simmer for 30 more minutes. I let my sauce simmer without the lid on for the last 30 minutes because I wanted the sauce to be on the thicker side, but you can leave the lid on if you prefer your sauce to be looser.

Meat sauce

While the sauce finishes cooking, boil some pasta according to its package’s instructions. Once the pasta is drained, return it to its pot, and stir in some of the meat sauce until it completely coats the pasta. Portion the pasta out into bowls, and top it with some fresh basil and fresh parmesan cheese. This hearty sauce is SO delicious. I could eat it every day… and I have!

This recipe is adapted from the Pioneer Woman.

Shopping list:

  • Ground beef- 3 pounds
  • Onion- 1
  • Green pepper- 1
  • Garlic- 3 cloves
  • White wine- 1/2 cup
  • Crushed tomatoes- 28 ounces
  • Marinara sauce- 25 ounces
  • Tomato paste- 2 tablespoons
  • Dried thyme- 1/2 teaspoon
  • Dried basil- 1/2 teaspoon
  • Red pepper flakes- 1/2 teaspoon
  • Bay leaf- 2
  • Sugar- 1 tablespoon
  • Kosher salt- 1 teaspoon
  • Fresh basil- 3 tablespoons+
  • Parmesan cheese rind- 1 + cheese for topping
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Magnificent Meat Sauce with Pasta — 4 Comments

  1. I’ve noticed some Italian dishes use a little sugar and some even baking soda. My mother is Italian and never used these ingredients. Do you know the reason to add these things? Also some use oil while boiling pasta to prevent it from boiling over, a TV show said it helps eliminate gas. Most people I know don’t use oil but I’ve found it helpful. What do you do for boiling pasta?

    • Tomatoes can have a sour edge unless they are cooked long enough, so a little bit of sugar helps balance the flavor. I wouldn’t say it’s necessary if you like the way the sauce tastes without it. I have never heard of adding baking soda though. I don’t do much to prevent my pasta water from boiling over, but I do tend to be in the kitchen preparing other things while pasta cooks, so I can usually turn down the heat if it gets close. Thanks for sharing your tips!

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