Table of Contents
  1. This is the perfect pasta weeknight meal to make.
  2. Everything you’ll need to make this recipe.
  3. Here’s how to make this recipe.
  4. These pro tips will make this recipe a success.
  5. Frequently asked questions about this recipe.
  6. You'll love these other weeknight meal recipes.
  7. Watch how to make this recipe.
  8. Have I convinced you to make this recipe?
  9. Meat Sauce with Spaghetti Recipe

A homemade meat sauce with spaghetti is a delicious and cozy weeknight meal to prepare. While this sauce is not a traditional Italian recipe, it’s packed with flavor and is easy enough to make any night of the week or special enough for the weekend. Swirl a serving on a plate and watch the family come running to devour this sauce!

This is the perfect pasta weeknight meal to make.

A good hearty meat sauce with spaghetti is a staple for weeknight cooking. A jar of tomato sauce will always win in need of a quick turnaround, but with just a few more minutes, this sauce can be made with ingredients that are in the pantry. The start is sauteeing onion and green pepper with butter. The butter adds a rich undertone and softens the acidic tomatoes. Ground beef adds protein and quickly cooks in the vegetable base. The key is three types of tomatoes. Tomato paste gives a sweet, rich tomato flavor. Tomato sauce adds a thick texture to the sauce by adding body. Diced tomatoes add heartiness. Together this trio of tomatoes creates a fully flavored sauce that will rival any jarred favorites.

White ceramic bowl filled with swirl of meat sauce with spaghetti with sprinkling of Parmesan cheese on top with fork sticking into the noodles.

Everything you’ll need to make this recipe.

  • Butter is used to saute the onion and pepper instead of oil. The butter helps temper the acidity of the tomatoes.
  • Bell pepper may surprise anyone used to an Italian red sauce. This recipe is a midwestern comfort food staple where home cooks were used to using what was readily available. Green pepper adds a nice balance to the onion.
  • Dried basil and dried oregano provide the traditional herb flavors needed. Instead of using fresh, the dried offers a quick pantry staple that makes this easy to make any weeknight.
  • Tomato paste is cooked with ground beef and vegetables to ensure it becomes slightly caramelized and sweet.
  • Diced tomatoes have more flavor than out-of-season fresh tomatoes. They are canned at peak ripeness and give great flavor to the sauce.
  • Tomato sauce will help give a slightly thick texture to the finished recipe.
White marble surface with all ingredients needed to make meat sauce with spaghetti including tomato sauce, beef, pasta, green pepper, spices, onion, butter, and more.

Here’s how to make this recipe.

  1. Sauté the onion and pepper. Slice the onion into an even dice. Cut the bell pepper into similarly-sized planks, then dice. Over medium heat, melt butter in a large stockpot. Add in the diced onion and bell pepper, along with salt and black pepper. Stir everything together and let the mixture sauté for 4 to 6 minutes. Once they are softened with just a bit of color, add in the minced garlic, dried basil, dried oregano, and red chili flakes. Mix these spices into the onion and pepper mixture, allowing the garlic to cook for about 30 seconds. 
  1. Brown the ground meat. To the stockpot, add the ground beef. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, break up the meat into small pieces, letting it brown for about 8 to 10 minutes.
  1. Add the tomato paste. Once the beef has been browned, add the tomato paste to the stockpot. Mix it into the meat, onion, and pepper, and let it cook for 6 to 8 minutes, cooking off some of the uncooked tomato flavor. To know when the tomato paste is cooked, use a spoon or spatula to pull the mixture to one side of the stockpot. In the empty space, if a layer begins to stick to the bottom of the pan, it means that the paste has cooked.
  1. Add the remaining sauces and spices. When the tomato paste has cooked, add in the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. Mix everything together and let the mixture simmer for 18 to 20 minutes while the spaghetti is prepared.
  1. Cook the spaghetti. To a large stockpot, add water and bring it to a boil. Before adding the spaghetti, add some salt to the water. Then using the instructions on the package, cook the spaghetti until al dente. When ready, do not drain the spaghetti.
  1. Mix everything together. Once the spaghetti is ready, add the undrained noodles to the simmering meat sauce. Stir together the spaghetti and sauce until everything is fully incorporated and the noodles are covered with sauce. Remove from the heat and serve immediately.

These pro tips will make this recipe a success.

  • When slicing the bell pepper, simply cut off the top and bottom, and make a single slice on one side. Open the pepper, lay it flat, and remove the inner pith and seeds. Slice it into planks and then dice. Rather than discarding the top and bottom, dice these up as well, removing the stem.
  • The cooking time when it comes to garlic is very important. Since garlic can have a raw flavor, it’s imperative that it’s cooked slightly to reduce the raw flavor. But make sure not to cook the garlic for too long, though, as garlic can burn quickly. About 30 seconds to one minute should be the right amount of time needed.
  • When purchasing ground beef for this recipe, look for a lean variety. Personally, I choose 92% lean beef so that there is a minimal amount of juice left in the stockpot.
  • When cooking the pasta for this recipe, do not drain the spaghetti once at al dente stage. Add them directly from the pasta water to the sauce. This allows the spaghetti to soak up some of the sauce, reaching the perfect stage when ready to serve. Additionally, if the sauce is too thick, some of the pasta water can be used to thin it down.
Large metal stockpot with hand holding metal tongs with serving of spaghetti with meat sauce clamped with rest of noodles below.

Frequently asked questions about this recipe.

Would other types of ground meat work in this recipe?

Ground turkey, chicken, pork, or no meat will work as substitutes for ground beef. While beef adds a depth of flavor each other meat will have lighter nuances that work well.

Is it possible to only add in the tomato sauce rather than tomato paste, tomato sauce, and diced tomatoes?

This recipe is designed to have a rich, sweet, fully flavored tomato sauce. Without each component and method, a different sauce would be created. The recipe can be modified for preferences, but these ingredients will create the best flavor.

Can other types of pasta be used with this sauce recipe?

This is easily used with most pasta types. Elbow pasta would make this sauce similar to a midwestern goulash. Try it out with a pasta of choice.

How long does this recipe last once prepared?

Stored in the refrigerator, the leftovers will last 7-10 days. Freezing is not recommended. Noodles do not freeze well and tend to break down.

Watch how to make this recipe.

Weeknight recipes to try

Have I convinced you to make this recipe?

I hope you make this recipe and put some food on your table. Leave a comment and share a star rating so you let others know how much you love this recipe. This helps show others that this is a recipe they too can make, enjoy, and love!

Large metal stockpot filled with meat sauce with spaghetti with tongs sitting on top with swirl of noodles all on marble surface with towel, green herbs, and Parmesan cheese.

Meat Sauce with Spaghetti

5 from 5 votes
A homemade meat sauce with spaghetti is a delicious and cozy weeknight meal to prepare. While this sauce is not a traditional Italian recipe, it’s packed with flavor and is easy enough to make any night of the week or special enough for the weekend. Swirl a serving on a plate and watch the family come running to devour this sauce!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion minced
  • 1 small bell pepper diced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp red chili flakes
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 14 oz tomato sauce
  • 28 oz diced tomatoes
  • 1 lb spaghetti

Instructions
 

  • In a 6-quart stock pot or saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, add the onion, bell pepper, salt, and black pepper. Sauté until the onion and pepper are softened and turning translucent, 4-6 minutes.
    2 tbsp unsalted butter, 1 medium onion, 1 small bell pepper, 1 tsp salt, ½ tsp black pepper
  • Add the minced garlic, dried basil, dried oregano, and red chili flakes. Cook for 30 seconds and add the ground beef. Cook and break the beef into small pieces until it is fully browned, 8-10 minutes. Once the beef is cooked, add the tomato paste. Stir the paste into the mixture and allow the paste the cook until it darkens and starts to coat the bottom of the pan, 6-8 minutes.
    3 cloves garlic, 2 tsp dried basil, 1 tsp dried oregano, ¼ tsp red chili flakes, 1 lb ground beef, 6 oz tomato paste
  • Once the paste has cooked, add the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. To clean the containers out, use a small amount of water and pour it into the sauce. Stir and bring the sauce to a simmer. Once simmering, cover and cook for 18-20 minutes.
    14 oz tomato sauce, 28 oz diced tomatoes
  • While the sauce is cooking, prepare the spaghetti according to the package directions to reach al dente stage.
    1 lb spaghetti
  • When the pasta is al dente, turn the sauce to low heat and add the pasta directly to the sauce. Any residual water dripping off the pasta can be added to the sauce. Stir the pasta and sauce to combine and finish cooking the noodles for 2-3 minutes. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Notes

  • When slicing the bell pepper, simply cut off the top and bottom, and make a single slice on one side. Open the pepper, lay it flat, and remove the inner pith and seeds. Slice it into planks and then dice. Rather than discarding the top and bottom, dice these up as well, removing the stem.
  • The cooking time when it comes to garlic is very important. Since garlic can have a raw flavor, it’s imperative that it’s cooked slightly to reduce the raw flavor. But make sure not to cook the garlic for too long, though, as garlic can burn quickly. About 30 seconds to one minute should be the right amount of time needed.
  • When purchasing ground beef for this recipe, look for a lean variety. Personally, I choose 92% lean beef so that there is a minimal amount of juice left in the stockpot.
  • When cooking the pasta for this recipe, do not drain the spaghetti once at al dente stage. Add them directly from the pasta water to the sauce. This allows the spaghetti to soak up some of the sauce, reaching the perfect stage when ready to serve. Additionally, if the sauce is too thick, some of the pasta water can be used to thin it down.

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 534kcal
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Difficulty Intermediate
Method Cooking

You May Also Like

Never miss a post by signing up for my newsletter.

Kaleb

I’m Kaleb! I'm not a chef, professional baker, landscaper, or designer, but I like to play each on Knollgate Farm. Come join me on my journey and let's learn together!

Learn more about me

Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating:




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

4 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I love the multiple ways you present your recipes! I’m an old country cook, so all I do is look at the ingredient list before I cook this, but I love the pictures you post with your step by step instructions. ANY beginner cook can easily follow this recipe. Bless you for offering several ways of understanding how to create this meal.

  2. 5 stars
    This exactly the way my mom made spaghetti sauce. She passed away in 2018 and I didn’t get her recipe, so thank you so much for this. I’ll be making it very soon.

  3. 5 stars
    Love this recipe! I added a small amount of Italian sausage with the ground beef! Everyone raved about it. I love your homemade recipes! I made your crescent rolls recipe with your mom and they were perfect! Thanks for sharing the love!