After just a few minutes of preparation, this simple recipe for homemade spaghetti and meat sauce creates the tastiest, most beloved supper for the whole family.
I jotted down my mom’s recipe for our favorite family supper and shoved it inside my frayed recipe binder when I graduated from college and moved into my first apartment. I eventually made it so many times that I memorized it. However, over time, I realized that it didn’t taste nearly as nice as my mom’s, something I didn’t really grasp until my sister was here and she prepared us all her original version. As you can see below, my sister emailed me a photo of her copy of my mother’s spaghetti recipe. My sister is the biggest admirer of this dish, as seen by the splatters and drips, and it appears that she is also an excellent recipe tester.
Never Miss A Good Deal!
I came to discover that there was one important component lacking from my spaghetti and meat sauce recipe that sets it apart from the others. Spaghetti sauce isn’t usually the source of it. Have you managed to spy on it yet? I’ll reveal in a moment, but let’s first discuss the fundamentals.
What’s In This Homemade Spaghetti And Meat Sauce
My mother’s spaghetti dish is American in appeal but Italian in origin. It doesn’t require anything particularly noteworthy. It’s actually quite simple, which is exactly what makes it so much better.
Here’s what’s in this spaghetti and meat sauce:
- Earthly Warfare. My sauce has taste but not a lot of fat since I use 85% lean ground angus beef. Another excellent alternative is ground turkey, which my sister has started to use.
- Sauced tomatoes. To make a tomato bath in which the other ingredients may absorb, plain is ideal.
- tomato diced. You could also use whole tomatoes from a can, which you would then smash with your fingers. I follow my mother’s recipe, though, which calls for diced.
- pasted tomatoes. This adds weight and a hint of sweetness to the sauce.
- Beef stock. An additional meatiness layer. While my sister changed her recipe to call for condensed, I chose to use ordinary.
- canned fungus. Usually, I use fresh mushrooms in all of my recipes, but there is one instance where I never, ever do. I usually increase the quantity the recipe calls for since there’s something about the canned version that makes it my favorite component of the sauce.
- A spritzer of wine. Mom recommends to gauge your measurements using the empty mushroom can. Choosing wine for cooking that is on par with what you would be prepared to drink is essential. I would suggest looking for a bottle that costs about $10. For this spaghetti recipe, I usually choose a mixed red or Pinot noir.
- celery, onion, and raw garlic. They are always lolling around the crisper in the refrigerator, ready to be utilized.
- kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, dried herbs, and a small amount of sugar for sweetness. Don’t omit the bay leaves; they are really important.
- whole dried cloves! My mom discovered this tip from her friend Virginia, and it turned out that the key component I had been missing all these years was adding a few whole cloves. My spouse likes four cloves, while my mother uses five or six. Its earthy, spicy flavor—which is frequently difficult to pinpoint—comes from the cloves. When I tell them they’re there, or if they find one by itself concealed in their slice of spaghetti sauce if I forget or am unable to locate them before serving, it takes them completely by surprise.
How to Make This Spaghetti and Meat Sauce
It takes time, but making truly delicious homemade spaghetti sauce is not as difficult as you would assume.
- Sear the steak. After removing any extra grease, add the chopped onion, garlic, and celery and simmer until the veggies are tender.
- Steep and boil. After adding all of the ingredients for the homemade pasta sauce to the saucepan, bring it to a boil. After the spaghetti sauce reaches a boiling point, turn down the heat and simmer it for three hours. Three hours may seem like a long time, but that’s how long it takes to produce a tasty, thick beef sauce. Simply follow the Italians’ lead and fuhgetaboutit.
- Prepare the noodles. All that’s left to do is boil the spaghetti noodles per the directions on the package and serve when the homemade spaghetti sauce has had time to simmer!
The Difference Between Spaghetti Meat Sauce and Bolognese
A combination of ground beef and/or pig, softened with milk, and sautéed with soffrito—a flavorful blend of onion, carrots, and celery—makes up Bolognese, a slow-cooked ragu from the Northern Italian city of Bologna. Although tomatoes are used, the flavor is not as tomato-forward or saucy as that of spaghetti and meat sauce. Compared to other spaghetti and meat sauce recipes, a typical bolognese has a deeper, more delicate flavor and is more focused on the meat. In case you were wondering, I don’t have to pick between them—I adore them both equally!
How to Reheat Spaghetti
You can quickly reheat any leftovers from this homemade spaghetti dish the following day. I suggest heating up any leftover spaghetti over medium-low heat in a covered pot. To loosen up the spaghetti, you might need to add a small amount of beef stock.
Can I Omit the Wine?
Technically, yes, but it adds so much richness to the handmade spaghetti sauce that I highly recommend using it. Recall that the alcohol is only a seasoning and evaporates while the sauce cooks.
If you don’t have any wine or don’t want to use it, you may substitute ¼ cup of balsamic vinegar to add some umami and acidity.
Tips for Making Spaghetti and Meat Sauce
- Stirring occasionally, simmer the simple homemade spaghetti sauce on low for three hours. Nothing that may burn and stick to the bottom of the pot and give the meat sauce a bad taste is what you want to avoid.
- Serve ordinary spaghetti noodles with this beef sauce. It would work equally well as a filler for lasagna or with any other spiral pasta, ravioli, or tortellini.
- This is a terrific dish to serve a large group of people or a large family since it creates a lot of spaghetti. If you’re cooking for a group of people, the sauce may be divided into a gallon freezer bag and frozen for later use. It also makes great leftovers for lunches throughout the week.
How to Freeze Meat Sauce
When you are ready to dine, prepare fresh spaghetti noodles and freeze the homemade spaghetti sauce separately. The sauce may either be refrigerated for a day to defrost, or it can be added to a big saucepan, covered, and heated on medium to medium-low heat.
This spaghetti sauce may be prepared in advance by freezing it in gallon freezer bags. To stack them flat or upright side by side in the freezer, lay them down flat.
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Homemade Spaghetti and Meat Sauce
- 1 pound 85% lean ground beef
- 1 yellow onion chopped
- 4 stalks celery chopped
- 4 garlic cloves minced or pressed
- 1 29- ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1 29- ounce can tomato sauce
- 1 6- ounce can tomato paste
- 2 7- ounce cans sliced mushrooms
- 1 cup red wine
- 1 15- ounce can beef broth
- 5-6 whole cloves
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley or 4 teaspoons dried
- 1 teaspoon basil
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound dried spaghetti noodles
- grated Parmesan cheese
- Cook the ground beef in a large, heavy-bottomed stock pot over medium-high heat for approximately 5-7 minutes, stirring periodically, until browned. Return the meat to the saucepan after draining the rendered fat.
- Cook the chopped celery, onion, and garlic for a further five to seven minutes, or until the veggies are tender.
- Stir in the spaghetti noodles and Parmesan cheese, then add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to simmer, stir, put a lid on, and cook over medium-low heat for at least three hours, stirring now and again.
- Cook the spaghetti in plenty of salted water, following the instructions on the box. Once drained, combine with the spaghetti sauce.
- If preferred, top with chopped fresh parsley and grated or crushed Parmesan cheese.
- The beef sauce may be frozen for up to three months or stored in a gallon ziplock bag for up to one week in the refrigerator.
- Please read blog post in its entirety for more tips + tricks.