The Best Spaghetti with Meat Sauce. When I’m away from home for a few days, the “homey” dish that I crave most often is my Spaghetti with Meat Sauce. My recipe for Spaghetti with Meat Sauce defines “home” to me, and when you come up with a great dish, you keep it.
Last summer, while travelling, I had stopped at a Giant Food grocery store that was selling cans of “spaghetti sauce” for a dollar (see below). Unbelievable. What is “Traditional?” And exactly WHAT is “meat-flavored?”
My Spaghetti with Meat Sauce has been getting rave reviews for over 20 years. A deep red herby tomato sauce with a mixture of ground beef and either rich buffalo or venison certainly spices up a plate of plain spaghetti noodles. It is far better than “store bought” versions. I can’t guarantee it will only cost you one dollar to make 26 ounces of my sauce — but I will say that mine has real meat in it!
Use ground turkey instead of the ground buffalo, venison, or beef to lighten the recipe. Or serve the sauce with my Easy Turkey Meatballs instead of cooking with the ground meat. Or go vegetarian and add more mushrooms or some sauteed zucchini and eggplant.
Which pasta to use? What about substituting whole wheat pasta such as whole wheat spaghetti or whole wheat penne? We like the extra “bite” of the whole wheat pasta.
Offer with garlic bread!
From the kitchen of A Food Lover’s Delight….
Spaghetti with Meat Sauce
2 T olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
1 stalk of celery, sliced thinly
1 lb ground meat (can use beef, venison, buffalo, or a mixture of the three meats)
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz fresh cremini or white mushrooms, stems removed, and sliced
1 bay leaf
2 t dried oregano
2 t dried basil
2 t dried thyme leaves
1 t dried fennel seed
1 t dried rosemary
1 t dried marjoram
1 t dried dill
1 t crushed red pepper flakes
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
1 c dry red wine
1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
1 can (14.5 oz) tomato sauce
1 T sugar
2 t salt
1 t freshly ground black pepper
1 lb spaghetti, cooked, either regular or whole wheat
Parmesan cheese, freshly grated/shredded for topping
1. Warm the olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat.
2. Add the chopped onion, carrot, and celery. Cook until vegetables are soft.
3. Add the ground meat, breaking it up into bite-sized chunks, and brown with the vegetables.
4. When ground meat is browned, add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes.
5. Add the dried herbs all at once, and saute with the ground meat and vegetable mixture.
6. Add the mushrooms and cook until mushrooms are slightly soft, 2 – 4 minutes.
7. Add the diced tomatoes and cook 3 minutes.
8. Add the dry red wine and cook 5 minutes.
9. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, sugar, salt, and pepper and stir. Lower heat and simmer 2 – 3 hours, stirring occasionally so bottom doesn’t burn. Add liquid if necessary, such as more wine, or some vegetable stock/broth.
10. While the sauce is in its final simmering phase, prepare the spaghetti noodles according to the package directions. Be sure to remove the bay leaf prior to plating the sauce.
11. Drain and plate the spaghetti and top with sauce and parmesan cheese.
Serves 4 – 6 as a main course depending on how much sauce is preferred by each diner. Offer toasted garlic bread to sop up the sauce, and a fresh green salad on the side. I usually ladle the sauce on top of freshly cooked spaghetti on a plate and top with freshly grated parmesan cheese. Occasionally, I will put the cooked spaghetti in a bowl and toss with sauce and parmesan cheese.
Variations: Substitute ground chicken or turkey for the ground meat. I prefer to add some of the buffalo or venison to the ground beef for a richer, deeper-flavored, meatier sauce. This sauce goes great with penne or rigatoni or other pastas — the whole wheat pastas work well since this is a pretty hearty sauce. Even tops cheese ravioli as a hearty main course. Flavors tend to meld together better in the sauce when cooked then refrigerated for 24 hours and reheated. A vegetarian option is to omit the meats and instead use more mushrooms or add diced or sliced zucchini and eggplant or other vegetables.
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