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Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

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close up overhead shot of a plate of Spaghetti noodles topped with Meat Sauce and garnished with parsley
Rich and meaty, this spaghetti with meat sauce is a traditional Italian dish that will become a go-to recipe.
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Table of Contents
  1. Spaghetti with Meat Sauce Ingredients
  2. How to Make This Spaghetti with Meat Sauce Recipe
  3. How To Serve
  4. Storage
  5. More Recipes You’ll Love
  6. JUMP TO RECIPE

Spaghetti with meat sauce is probably one of the most popular and loved meals, especially in an Italian kitchen. The sauce is hearty, meaty and rich and tops the tender spaghetti noodles in just the right amount for a dish that will be a family favorite in no time, if it isn’t already.

Spaghetti in any form is a winner for most families. Our million dollar spaghetti and chicken spaghetti are two more fantastic recipes to try.

close up shot of a plate of Spaghetti noodles topped with Meat Sauce and garnished with parsley

Spaghetti with Meat Sauce Ingredients

Spaghetti with Meat Sauce raw ingredients that are labeled

You’ll need:

  • 1 pound lean ground beef (93%-7%fat)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup sweet yellow onion (known as a Vidalia onion), small diced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons dry Italian seasoning blend
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 (28-ounce) can + 1 (15-ounce) can tomato puree
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes (San Marzano tomatoes), crushed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley, chopped (plus additional for garnish)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped (plus extra for garnish)
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 pound spaghetti noodles, cooked according to package directions

SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS

SPICE: If you enjoy a little heat in your spaghetti and meat sauce, you can add ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes to the sauce while it is simmering.

BROTH: I used beef broth for this recipe, but chicken broth or dry white wine would be a great alternative. These add a depth of flavor to the sauce and add more moisture to the sauce without adding additional tomato products so that your sauce does not get too thick while simmering.

TOMATOES: You can substitute canned crushed tomatoes for the canned tomato puree and the canned plum tomatoes. This will give you a tomato sauce that does not have any chunks of tomato pieces in it.

BEEF: I like to use very lean ground beef, or ground sirloin when I cook. However, you can substitute that with fattier ground beef or even a ground Italian sausage, ground pork or ground turkey if you prefer. Remember that if you use fattier blends of ground beef to drain off all the excess fat from the cooked meat except for a tablespoon or two. You need some fat left in the pot to cook your onions and spices.

How to Make This Spaghetti with Meat Sauce Recipe

OUR RECIPE DEVELOPER SAYS

This easy homemade spaghetti sauce recipe will freeze really well and is perfect to thaw and use for a quick pasta on busy weeknights.

STEP ONE: In a large stockpot (8-quart) on medium-high heat, add the olive oil to the bottom of the pot and then add the lean ground beef. Cook the ground beef for 5 minutes or until no pink remains. Be sure to break apart and crumble the ground beef as it is cooking. Push the cooked and crumbled ground beef to the side of the pot.

PRO TIP:

If you have more than a tablespoon or so of excess fat in the pot, then drain off the excess fat from the pot.

ground beef being cooked in a pot

STEP TWO: To the pot, where the ground beef was pushed to the side, add the chopped onions, minced garlic, dry Italian seasoning blend, salt and black pepper. Cook the onions and spices for 2 to 3 minutes or until the onions become translucent. Once the onions are cooked, combine them into the cooked ground beef.

onions, garlic, and seasonings added to the pot of cooked ground beef

STEP THREE: Stir in the tomato paste to the ground beef mixture and cook for an additional 1 minute.

tomato paste added to the ground beef mixture in a pot

STEP FOUR: Add the beef broth, tomato puree and whole plum (San Marzano) tomatoes to the cooked ground beef mixture. Using a potato masher, break up the whole tomatoes into small pieces. Add the chopped fresh Italian parsley, chopped fresh basil, and granulated sugar. Stir to combine all the ingredients together.

ingredients added to the meat sauce in a pot

STEP FIVE: Reduce the heat to low and simmer with the lid on for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. 

STEP SIX: Once your spaghetti meat sauce has simmered then you will turn off the heat to the pot, remove the lid, and stir in the unsalted butter to the sauce. This gives the sauce a nice silky finish. 

butter added to the meat sauce in a pot

STEP SEVEN: When your spaghetti meat sauce is down to the last 10 minutes of simmering, you can prepare your spaghetti noodles according to the box directions.

PRO TIP:

Serve your spaghetti with meat sauce as individual portions or place your cooked spaghetti noodles onto a large pasta plate and top the noodles with the meat sauce. Top with a sprinkle of fresh parmesan cheese before you serve it.

How To Serve

You can garnish your spaghetti dish with additional chopped fresh parsley and basil and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. For an even heartier meal, add our homemade meatballs on top of your meal. This spaghetti with meat sauce can be served with a side Caesar salad and garlic bread.

This delicious meat sauce is also a great option to serve over top zucchini noodles if you prefer to stay away from pasta.

Storage

IN THE FRIDGE: You can store any leftover meat sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

IN THE FREEZER: For longer storage, you will want to place the homemade sauce into freezer-safe containers or gallon freezer bags and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw the frozen sauce in the refrigerator, then place the thawed sauce into a saucepan and reheat on medium heat. Serve with freshly cooked pasta noodles. 

overhead shot of a plate of Spaghetti noodles topped with Meat Sauce and garnished with parsley

This spaghetti recipe is a classic dish and a staple in every Nonna’s kitchen. The sauce is flavored perfectly with plenty of tomatoes, fresh herbs and beef, and simmers away on the stove top to let all the flavors mingle in just the right way. You’ll never want to use jarred pasta sauce again.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can I freeze this spaghetti sauce with ground beef recipe?

The hearty sauce freezes incredibly well and can be stored for up to three months. Thaw and serve over fresh pasta noodles.

Can I add other veggies to the sauce?

This perfect recipe has plenty of room for additions. Try green peppers and fresh mushrooms for two popular choices.

Can I choose a different ground meat for this recipe?

Ground pork, Italian sausage, or ground turkey are all great options in place of ground beef in this homemade spaghetti meat sauce recipe.

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close up overhead shot of a plate of Spaghetti noodles topped with Meat Sauce and garnished with parsley

Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

5 from 1 vote
Rich and meaty, this spaghetti with meat sauce is a traditional Italian dish that will become a go-to recipe.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 8 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound lean ground beef, 93%-7%fat
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup sweet yellow onion, known as a Vidalia onion, small diced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons dry Italian seasoning blend
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 28 ounces can tomato puree
  • 15 ounces can tomato puree
  • 28 ounces whole plum tomatoes (San Marzano tomatoes), crushed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh italian parsley, chopped (plus additional for garnish)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped (plus extra for garnish)
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 pound spaghetti noodles, cooked according to package directions

Instructions
 

  • In a large stockpot (8-quart) on medium-high heat, add the olive oil and lean ground beef. Cook the ground beef for 5 minutes or until no pink remains. Be sure to break apart and crumble the ground beef as it is cooking. Push the cooked and crumbled ground beef to the side of the pot. If you have more than a tablespoon or so of excess fat in the pot, then drain off the excess fat from the pot.
  • To the pot where the ground beef was pushed to the side, add the chopped onions, minced fresh garlic, dry Italian seasoning blend, salt and black pepper. Cook the onions and spices for 2 to 3 minutes or until the onions become translucent. Once the onions are cooked, combine them into the cooked ground beef.
  • Stir in the tomato paste to the ground beef mixture and cook for an additional 1 minute.
  • To the stockpot, with the cooked ground beef mixture, add the beef broth, tomato puree and whole plum (San Marzano) tomatoes. Using a potato masher, break up the whole tomatoes into small pieces. Add the chopped fresh Italian parsley, chopped fresh basil and the granulated sugar. Stir to combine all the ingredients together.
  • Reduce the heat to low and simmer with the lid on for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  • Once your spaghetti meat sauce has simmered then you will turn off the heat to the pot, remove the lid, and stir in the unsalted butter to the sauce. This gives the sauce a nice silky finish.
  • When your spaghetti meat sauce is down to the last 10 minutes of simmering, you can prepare your spaghetti noodles according to the box directions.

Notes

  • This easy homemade spaghetti sauce recipe will freeze really well and is perfect to thaw and use for a quick pasta on busy weeknights.
  • If you have more than a tablespoon or so of excess fat in the pot, then drain off the excess fat from the pot.
  • Serve your spaghetti with meat sauce as individual portions or place your cooked spaghetti noodles onto a large pasta plate and top the noodles with the meat sauce. Top with a sprinkle of fresh parmesan cheese before you serve it.

Nutrition

Sodium: 817mg | Calcium: 78mg | Vitamin C: 27mg | Vitamin A: 1590IU | Sugar: 12g | Fiber: 6g | Potassium: 1122mg | Cholesterol: 43mg | Calories: 407kcal | Trans Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Fat: 9g | Protein: 23g | Carbohydrates: 60g | Iron: 5mg
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