If you’re still making spaghetti with jarred tomato sauce, you’re missing out on the nuances of flavor that you’ll only ever get from making your own sauce from scratch with this Homemade Spaghetti & Meat Sauce recipe.
You might be thinking that it’s just so much easier to open a jar of sauce, but if you care at all about what goes into your meal, you might want to start making your own tomato sauce.
Not only is this recipe really easy to make, with only a few basic ingredients, it will allow you to do away with the extra artificial ingredients that are often found in jarred tomato sauce, and to cut back on the amount of sugar too.
When I added it to my lasagna, the dish became irresistible. It’s also really great as baked ziti. You really can use this sauce with any type of pasta you want. Add a sprinkle of parmesan cheese on the top and you will impress anyone with your cooking skills.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Spaghetti noodles – You will need 1 pound of uncooked pasta. You can use dry store bought spaghetti or try your hand at making fresh pasta. Check out the directions below!
- Ground beef – We are using ground beef and Italian pork sausage to add more flavor.
- Italian pork sausage – You can use your favorite sausage or just plain ground pork. The seasonings you add will spice it up.
- Onion and garlic – Use white or yellow onions. Just make use of what you have. Always try and use fresh garlic. Minced garlic in a jar is convenient but doesn’t always have the best flavor.
- Tomato puree and chopped tomatoes – Use diced tomatoes in a can with no added preservatives of sugar. I prefer Cento San Marzano brand, but you can use any brand you like.
- Herbs and seasonings – Italian herbs, salt, oregano, ground black pepper, and fennel seeds
- White sugar – We are adding a bit of sugar because it cuts the acidity of the tomatoes and helps balance out the sauce.
You can also purchase quality meat raised on small farms from FarmFoods without a subscription. They have all the information for every farm on their website and you can choose what cuts you want and have it shipped free to your door.
How to Make Homemade Spaghetti & Meat Sauce
This recipe calls for a mixture of ground beef and Italian sausage. Using both adds additional flavor to the sauce. You can use any sausage or just plain ground pork. The seasonings you add will spice it up.
Combine both the beef and pork in one large skillet to save on dishes. Spread the meat in an even layer and allow it to brown before stirring. The browned meat gives so much additional flavor to the sauce.
Once the meat is browned on one side, add the onions and spices (but not the sugar, just yet) and stir it all up. Give it another five minutes, to meld together the flavors, then combine it with the tomatoes in a saucepan.
I prefer to make my sauce on the stovetop, but if you want to make this recipe as easy as possible, put all the sauce ingredients in the slow cooker, mix together, and cook on low for up to 8 hours, while you’re at work.
On the stovetop, simmer the sauce for anywhere from just a few minutes to 4 hours, depending on how much time you have. The longer it simmers, the better the flavors will be.
Once the sauce is ready, you just have to combine it with your pasta and serve. Some people think you should spoon the sauce over the top of the pasta, but I don’t think that makes the best plate of pasta. Combining the pasta and sauce in the saucepan gives the sauce a chance to stick to the pasta before serving.
Finally, use a microplaner/shredder to shave a bit of shredded Parmesan cheese over the top for a final boost in flavor.
Pro Tip – If your sauce isn’t thickening like you’d like try using one of these 8 different ways to thicken spaghetti sauce.
Making Your Own Pasta
If you want to try your hand at making your own pasta, I can’t recommend it enough. It’s not difficult or scary to make your own pasta.
Here is an incredibly easy homemade pasta recipe that only requires you to mix flour with eggs and knead the dough.
- 2 large eggs
- 200g of 00 flour, plus extra for dusting
Make a mound out of the flour (reserving about 20 grams to use only if necessary). Swirl a whole in the middle of the mound with your fingers. Crack the eggs into the center of the mound.
Using a fork, beat the eggs gently, then start to incorporate the surrounding flour, slowly, until fully combined. Add the extra flour only if the dough is too sticky. Then knead the dough until it’s smooth and elastic.
Rolling the Pasta
There are two ways to roll your fresh pasta. You can knead it and roll it out with a rolling pin. This takes a bit of muscle and time, but it’s not difficult. Or you can use a pasta maker. There are three different types of pasta makers.
There is a third, even easier option. If you’ve ever wanted to make fresh pasta, but didn’t want to do the work, you need this.
How much homemade pasta per person?
I recommend a 2 ounce serving of fresh pasta per person. Once the pasta is cooked it equals around 1 cup of pasta, which is a decent serving. The recipe above makes 4 servings.
Check out this amazing electric pasta maker from Hamilton Beach. Fresh, homemade pasta is now as simple as adding ingredients and pushing a button. In 15 minutes or less, you can have pasta that’s ready to boil. The pasta machine mixes, kneads and extrudes the pasta for you.
This electric pasta maker has 7 different pasta shapes: thick spaghetti, lasagna, spaghetti, angel hair, wide noodle, penne and fettuccine. It’s pretty brilliant.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you cook meat before adding to spaghetti sauce?
Yes, and there is a good reason why. Cooking the ground beef and Italian sausage with onions and garlic helps develop flavor. You really want the meat to brown, that adds so much flavor.
Why do you add sugar to spaghetti sauce?
This is actually a trick that came from Southern Italy. They would add sugar to tomatoes that didn’t get fully ripe or that were acidic and tart to balance that out. We are adding a bit of sugar because it cuts the acidity of the tomatoes and helps balance out the sauce.
How long should I simmer spaghetti sauce?
The simmer time is up to you. Simmer the sauce for anywhere from just a few minutes to 4 hours, depending on how much time you have. The longer it simmers, the better the flavors will be.
You can put all the sauce ingredients in the slow cooker, mix together, and cook on low for up to 8 hours, while you’re at work.
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Homemade Spaghetti with Meat Sauce
- 1 pound (454 g) uncooked spaghetti
- 1/2 pound (227 g) ground beef
- 1/2 pound (227 g) Italian pork sausage crumbled
- 1/2 onion chopped
- 1 teaspoon (2 g) Italian herbs
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1/4 cup (59 ml) tomato puree
- 2 14 ounce cans chopped tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon (6 g) salt
- 1/4 teaspoon (0.5 g) oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon (0.5 g) ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon (1 g) white sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon (0.5 g) fennel seeds optional
- Add water to a large stock pot. When the water is boiling, add the dried spaghetti. Cook until al dente, about 8-12 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile, add the ground beef, sausage, onion, and herbs to a skillet and cook over medium high heat until the meat is browned. Add the minced garlic and tomato puree and stir well. Remove from heat.
- Add the meat mixture to a 3-quart pot. Add the tomatoes and the rest of the spices. Stir it all together.
- Allow to simmer for 30 minutes, or up to 4 hours with the lid on.
Laura is a home cook, with 25 years experience behind the stove, who spends an extraordinary amount of time in the kitchen cooking. She loves making new recipes and finding wonderful new things to eat, both at home or abroad. She spends a lot of time researching, crafting, and perfecting her recipes and currently has a cookbook in development.