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Best Spaghetti with Meat Sauce Ever
There are so many wonderful ways to enjoy a delicious meat sauce with pasta, but one of my favorites is to showcase the meat sauce topped over some perfectly cooked spaghetti. I have also used this meat sauce recipe for my lasagna, and it turned out absolutely amazing.
This spaghetti with meat sauce recipe is so satisfying, and one of our family favorites. I love how the meat sauce fills the home with the aromatic smells of fresh Roma tomatoes and garlic that are cooked slowly in a marinara sauce with ground meats, red wine, and herbs.
This meat sauce requires a little more effort to prepare by using freshly peeled and seeded Roma tomatoes, but I feel the extra effort is worth the freshness that they give to the sauce.
Roma tomatoes have a meaty flesh that cooks down into a well-balanced meat sauce that is sweet and somewhat tangy. Roma tomatoes are synonymous with Italian cooking, and they give the meat sauce a real garden-fresh flavor that pairs perfectly with the fresh herbs. I like to combine the Roma tomatoes with a good quality marinara sauce to add volume and help thicken the meat sauce.
Tips for a great spaghetti with meat sauce
Sear the ground meats in small batches. Avoid overcrowding the bottom of the pot while browning the ground beef and sausage. Adding too much ground meat to the pot will prevent the meat from browning. Overcrowding causes the meat to steam and simmer in its own juices rather than sear and brown. Browning the meat develops a rich and hearty sauce with good color.
Deglaze the pot with the wine. Deglazing the pot with red wine adds a nice flavor profile to the meat sauce. It also helps lift and dissolve caramelized bits of food from the bottom of the pot. Scrape the bottom of the pot well to help remove these bits. If you prefer not to use wine, beef broth is a great substitute.
Add fresh herbs to the sauce. The addition of fresh basil and parsley pair perfectly with the Roma tomatoes giving the sauce that fresh from the garden taste.
Cook the sauce low and slow. Be patient and allow all those wonderful ingredients to infuse slowly into the sauce. Cooking low and slow develops a rich and flavorful meat sauce with more body.
Use fresh Roma tomatoes. Roma tomatoes are perfectly suited for making tomato sauce. They are a meaty well-balanced tomato that cooks down and produces a hearty sauce with a nice balance of acidity and sweetness. Roma tomatoes elevate the meat sauce giving it a savory garden-fresh flavor.
Add sugar to the sauce. The acidity in tomatoes gives them their tangy taste. Use sugar to lower the acidity and make the sauce less tangy.
Use a large enough pot to cook the pasta. Choose a pot that will easily accommodate 3 quarts of water per 250 grams of pasta. You want a big enough pot and volume of water to allow for expansion of the cooked pasta. The water will return to a boil faster, and the pasta will be less likely to stick together.
Add 1 tbsp of salt per 3 quarts of water to season the pasta water while cooking. The salt will prevent the pasta from tasting bland.
Garnish pasta with freshly grated parmesan cheese. A great spaghetti with meat sauce would not be complete without being topped with freshly grated parmesan cheese. The fruity and nutty flavor profile of parmesan cheese pairs perfectly with the meat sauce.
Garnish pasta with freshly chopped basil. Basil is an aromatic herb with a touch of sweetness and a subtle peppery flavor with hints of mint that pairs perfectly with the tomatoes in the meat sauce. Adding fresh basil to the meat sauce gives it that authentic quintessential Italian flavor.
Use a paring knife to lightly score an X pattern in the bottom of each tomato. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and reduce to a simmer. While waiting for the water to boil, prepare an ice bath for the blanched tomatoes.
Use a slotted spoon to gently place the tomatoes in the simmering water. Place just enough tomatoes to cover the bottom of the pot. You will start to see the skins splitting and separating from the tomatoes at the score marks.
Remove the tomatoes from the simmering water after 1 minute, and place them in an ice bath to cool. Shocking the tomatoes in an ice bath will loosen and separate the skins even further from the tomato flesh making them easier to peel. Repeat the process of blanching and cooling for the remainder of the tomatoes.
Line a large mixing bowl with a plastic bag for discarding the tomato skins and seeds. Peel the skins from the tomatoes using a paring knife. Cut the peeled tomatoes in half in preparation for de-seeding. Use a small spoon to scoop out and remove the seeds from the center of the tomatoes.
Rough chop the tomatoes, and place them into a food processor. Pulse the tomatoes, until they are the consistency of a really chunky salsa. I like to see chunks of tomatoes that range in size between ½ and ¾ of an inch. This makes for a really hearty looking meat sauce packed full of big chunks of Roma tomatoes that are loaded with amazing flavor.
Transfer the chopped tomatoes into a large mixing bowl for deployment later in the recipe.
Making the Meat Sauce
Step 3: Brown the Ground Beef and Italian Sausage
Place the ground beef into a large mixing bowl. Remove the shell casings from the sausages by scoring lengthwise down the length of the sausage. Then use your hands to split open the sausage casing, and squeeze the sausage into the mixing bowl with the ground beef. Mix the ground beef and sausage until combined.
Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large thick bottomed pot over medium-high heat to the point, where it is just starting to smoke. Add the meat in small batches so there is just enough ground meat to cover the bottom of the pot.
This allows the meat to sear quickly at high heat, which develops a nicely browned exterior that will add a beefier more robust flavor to the sauce. Searing and browning the meat also locks in their juices, and helps prevent the meat from becoming dry while cooking slowly in the tomato sauce.
Stir the meat until browned, remove the pot from the heat, and then transfer it to a large bowl using a slotted spoon. Removing the pot from the heat helps prevent the meat from burning while transfering to the bowl. Place the pot back on the heat and continue to cook the rest of the meat.
Step 4: Add the Veggies
Carefully drain the fat from the pot. Do not wipe the pot clean or wash it. We want to keep all that caramelized goodness on the bottom of the pot. Return the pot back to the stovetop over medium heat.
Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in the bottom of the pot and add the onions. Cook the onions for 5 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the carrots, celery, and garlic and continue to cook for another 5 minutes, until the carrots are just starting to turn soft.
Step 5: Deglaze and Add Marinara
Add the red wine to deglaze the bottom of the pot. During the browning of the meat, tiny bits of caramelized meat will stick to the bottom of the pot. These tiny bits of meat are packed full of flavor. Use a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of the pot and help lift these food bits, so they can dissolve into the sauce. Add the marinara sauce and tomato paste, and stir until well combined.
Step 6: Add Roma Tomatoes and Browned Meats
Stir in the reserved tomatoes, chopped parsley, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, bay leaf, sugar, salt, and pepper. Add the reserved browned ground beef and sausage. Mix until the meat is well incorporated.
Step 7: Simmer and Add Mushrooms
Simmer the sauce on low for 1-hour stirring occasionally. Mix in the mushrooms and continue to simmer for another hour.
Serve and Enjoy
Serve the meat sauce over spaghetti or with your favorite pasta. Garnish with fresh chopped basil and grated parmesan cheese. This hearty homemade meat sauce with fresh Roma tomatoes is absolutely delicious and sure to become a family favorite.
How to Store Meat Sauce
Refrigerate the leftover meat sauce in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag for up to 4 days. The meat sauce tastes even better the next day, so it makes the perfect meal to prepare ahead of time.
Freeze the meat sauce, if you are not planning on using it within the next few days. Let the meat sauce cool completely and transfer to an airtight container or freezer bag. Squeeze out all the air from the plastic bag or container and freeze for up to 3 months. Label your containers to keep track of their expiry.
Thaw the frozen meat sauce in the refrigerator. Transfer the meat sauce to a pot and stir occasionally, while reheating on the stovetop over medium heat.
Yield: 4 quarts
Spaghetti with Meat Sauce Recipe
This hearty homemade meat sauce with fresh Roma tomatoes is absolutely delicious and sure to become a family favorite.
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time2 hours30 minutes
Total Time3 hours
2 lbs Ground beef
1 lb Italian sausage
2 tbsp Olive oil
2 Cups yellow onion (diced ¼”)
1 Cup Carrots (diced ¼”)
1 Cup Celery (diced ¼”)
6 Garlic cloves (minced)
1 Cup red wine
2 x 645ml Jar of marinara sauce
¼ Cup tomato paste
30 ripe roma tomatoes
2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
2 tsp Italian seasoning
¼ tsp Red pepper flakes (optional)
1 Bay leaf
2½ tbsp sugar
3 tsp Kosher salt
1 tsp Coarse ground pepper
¼lb Button mushrooms (sliced 1/2 “)
2 tbsp fresh chopped basil (Garnish)
4 oz Parmesan cheese (Garnish)
16 oz dried spaghetti
Peel & Seed Roma Tomatoes
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and reduce to a simmer. While waiting for the water to boil, score the top of each tomato forming an “X” pattern.
Fill a large bowl with ice and water to create an ice bath for the blanched tomatoes.
Place the tomatoes in simmering water for about 1 minute. Remove the tomatoes with a slotted spoon, and place them in the ice bath.
Peel off the tomato skins using a paring knife, and cut them in half. Use a small spoon to scoop out and remove the seeds from the tomatoes.
Rough cut the tomatoes, and place them in a food processor. Pulse the tomatoes into approximately ½” to ¼” pieces. Place the chopped tomatoes in a large bowl and set aside.
Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in the bottom of a large pot over medium-high heat.
Cook the ground beef and sausage until brown. Transfer the browned meat into a bowl and reserve for later in the recipe.
Drain the fat from the pot but do not wipe the bottom or clean. Return the pot to the stove and reheat over medium heat with olive oil.
Add the onions, and cook for approximately 5 minutes until the onions are soft and translucent. Stir the carrots, celery, and garlic into the onions, and continue to cook for another 5 minutes.
Add the red wine to deglaze. Scrape the bottom of the pot to help remove and dissolve any remaining food bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pot.
Stir in the marinara sauce and tomato paste.
Stir in the reserved tomatoes, chopped parsley, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, bayleaf, sugar, salt, and pepper.
Add the reserved browned ground beef and sausage. Mix until the meat is well incorporated.
Simmer the sauce on low for 1 hour stirring occasionally. Stir in the mushrooms and continue to simmer for another hour.
Season to taste as required. Serve the meat sauce over spaghetti or your favorite pasta, and garnish with fresh chopped basil and parmesan cheese. This meat sauce is especially tasty when baked in lasagna.
16 oz or 500g dried spaghetti is approximately 5 servings.
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