Spaghetti and Meat Sauce

meat sauce

Meat Sauce

I’ve done many variations of spaghetti and meat sauce over the years, like this 30 minute meat sauce or this cook all afternoon “Sunday Gravy” from The Sopranos Cookbook.  If you have time to cook the sauce a long time, you can use canned diced tomatoes or whole tomatoes that you squeeze with your hand to break up.  When I have less time, I use cans of pureed tomatoes.

I made The Food Nanny’s version of spaghetti and meat sauce the other night, which adds some brown sugar. This is from The Food Nanny Rescues Dinner: Easy Family Meals for Every Day of the Week. I think this came out great and may be my new favorite!  She suggests cooking it for 2 hours but I only cooked it about 45 minutes as I started late. Leftovers are awesome the next day or can be frozen.   She calls for 1 and 1/2 pounds of ground beef or 1 pound of ground beef and a 1/2 pound of bulk Italian sausage. I just used 1 pound of ground beef and adjusted other ingredients to taste.

Spaghetti and Meat Sauce

  • 1 28-ounce can pureed or diced tomatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup diced white onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 cups hot water
  • 1 pound uncooked spaghetti
  • grated Parmesan cheese for passing
  1. Heat 2 Tablespoons oil in a large skillet, add the onion and cook over medium heat until softened. Add the garlic and cook another few minutes. Add the meat and raise the heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring and breaking up the meat, until the meat is cooked through and crumbled.
  2. Move the meat aside and add the tomato paste to the pan and let it heat up a bit on its own before stirring it into the meat sauce. Cook about 5 minutes. The meat will start to stick to the pan a little.
  3. Add the tomatoes, brown sugar, oregano, salt, basil, thyme and bay leaf. Stir together.
  4. Add the hot water and stir. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat so the sauce just simmers. Cook uncovered about 2 hours, stirring periodically. Add more hot water if the sauce gets too thick.
  5. Cook the spaghetti according to package directions. You can pass the spaghetti and the sauce separately or mix it together and serve. Either way, pass the grated Parmesan on the side.


I’ve really enjoyed this cookbook and am glad I pulled it back off my shelf to discover some more good recipes! I see she has a new cookbook out, too.




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