Classic Italian Meat Sauce

Spaghetti makes regular appearances at our house. The kids love noodles and any Italian dish is a big favorite for everyone. I like to make it because it is easy and quite economical.

This is not the first spaghetti sauce recipe I have shared. I have already posted a few different versions of spaghetti on the blog:

  • Spaghetti and Meatballs – Who doesn’t love this classic dish.
  • Sunday Gravy – This is my favorite spaghetti recipe but it requires 4-6 hours of low and slow cooking. Ribs, sausage and meatballs makes Sunday Gravy a meat lovers dream come true!
  • Merguez Meatballs with Tomato Sauce – If you are looking for a fresh take on this classic dish try this one with North African aromatics.

This homemade recipe for spaghetti meat sauce is a traditional dish that is hearty and perfect for any kind of pasta. Penne, rigatoni, fusilli, spagettini.

The recipe for today is my classic Italian meat sauce. I have used this recipe for years and probably make it 6 times a year, if not more. The dish uses basic ingredients but tastes amazing. The sauce is hearty and full of wonderful flavours.

Classic Hearty Italian Meat Sauce - Homemade Spaghetti Recipe

Heat the pot or dutch oven over medium heat and cook the ground beef until all browned. Make sure to use a wooden spoon to break the beef into small pieces. Drain the grease.

Classic Hearty Italian Meat Sauce - Homemade Spaghetti Recipe

Stir in the onion, pepper and garlic. Cook for a few minutes or until the onions are transparent.

Classic Hearty Italian Meat Sauce - Homemade Spaghetti Recipe

Add the mushrooms and wine and cook for a few more minutes, or until the mushrooms are tender. 

Classic Hearty Italian Meat Sauce - Homemade Spaghetti Recipe

Stir in the strained or crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar and spices.

Classic Hearty Italian Meat Sauce - Homemade Spaghetti Recipe

Turn the heat to low and let the sauce simmer for an hour or so, stirring often. Serve on cooked noodles.

Classic Hearty Italian Meat Sauce - Homemade Spaghetti Recipe

Classic Italian Meat Sauce

Classic Hearty Italian Meat Sauce - Homemade Spaghetti Recipe
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This homemade recipe for spaghetti meat sauce is a traditional dish that is hearty and perfect for any kind of pasta. Penne, rigatoni, fusilli, spagettini.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 6 people

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 1 sweet pepper (red, orange or yellow), diced
  • 2 cups fresh mushrooms sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes (3 cans if you prefer a thinner sauce)
  • 1 5.5 oz can of tomato paste (about 2/3 cup)
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp basil
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds

Instructions

  • Brown the ground beef in a large saucepan on medium heat. Use a wooden spoon to break it into small chunks while it is cooking. Continue to do this until it is all cooked through and you no longer see any pink. Drain the grease.
  • Add the onion, pepper, mushrooms and garlic. Stir regularly and cook for about 5-7 minutes or until the onions and peppers are tender.
  • Stir in the remaining ingredients. Bring to a low boil and lower heat to a simmer.
  • Let the sauce simmer for 45-60 minutes. Stir the sauce regularly, scraping the bottom of the saucepan to ensure nothing is sticking or burning.
  • Serve on cooked pasta noodles.

Classic Meat Sauce 2

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4 comments

  • Good luck to you. Appreciate your effort and experimentation along with you passionate affection for taste bud pleasure. My four grandparents were born in Italy. When things were tight we used ground beef in the meat sauce or sausage once in a while. When things were better financially we put beef cubes along with either boneless spare ribs or pork chops in the pot instead of ground beef. Back in the old days when we were little children it was homemade Sicilian meatballs and links of homemade Italian sausage to make it fun for the children. Always drop hard boiled eggs in the pot for the last half hour or so. Had dinner guests in tears every now and then when they told me “Oh my God! I haven’t had eggs in tomato sauce since my grandparents died.” It was done to stretch the dollar and allow everyone to eat some protein, not just the breadwinner when times were tough way back when and the amount of meat was limited. Personally that’s my favorite part of the dining experience squashing the egg yolk with my fork and putting some sauce on it before it goes down the hatch. YUM YUM YUM. Never ever ever used fennel in the sauce. God help us! However to each his own. Whatever turns you on as they say. Some people do put fennel in their sausage when they make it. Some people don’t care for it at all.(not even in cookies). Our family owned a success restaurant for 17 years and wishing you a successful venture yourself. Was fortunate that the grandparents were raised in different provinces of Italy so had the benefit of enjoying their cooking from varied areas. God bless you and yours. Ciao!

    • Reply
    • Hello Nancy Ann! Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing some of your family story. I have never tried hard boiled eggs in a meat sauce like this. I totally get how it could be a way to stretch the meal and provide more protein during difficult years. Makes sense. Yes, I imagine my enjoyment of a little fennel is because I love it in my sausage and I often make meat sauce with sausage. All the best to you and thanks again!

      • Reply
  • Yum…i feel like i can taste this through my computer screen. Is that weird?

    • Reply
  • 5 stars
    My family loves pasta with any kind of meat sauce. I wish I could just dunk a hunk of bread into that bowl. 🙂 Looks great. 🙂

    • Reply

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