Hearty, meat-filled Spaghetti Sauce Recipe passed down from my grandmother to my dad, and now, to me. Made with simple ingredients, this delicious spaghetti meat sauce is ready in less than an hour and makes perfect leftovers.
My Grandmother’s Extra Meaty Spaghetti Sauce Recipe
This was one of my favorite meals growing up. So simple and so satisfying, my dad would make it for us whenever he found a coupon for spaghetti sauce or tomato sauce in the Sunday paper (not to mention pasta noodles which were always purchased in bulk). For us, this translated to spaghetti night roughly once a week.
My dad learned how to make this extra meaty spaghetti sauce from my grandmother, and now, here I am sharing it with you.
Just like my dad’s cream of mushroom pork chops, I doubt there’s anything super original about this recipe. My grandmother probably found her recipe on the back of a can or in one of her cookbooks and modified it a little bit each time she made it. It’s delicious and yes, kiddos love it (husbands too!)
There are two kinds of meat – ground beef and Italian pork sausage. I highly recommend adding both. The ground beef gives the sauce a great chunky texture, while the sausage is, well, completely delicious.
How to Make Spaghetti Sauce with Meat
The instructions are really quite simple. Here we go…
1. Brown the ground beef with some onions and garlic. You may do this altogether or brown the meat first and then add the onions and garlic. I tend to cook the ground beef first, then add the onions and then the garlic, but knowing my grandma and my dad, I can guarantee that they just threw it all in there and cooked it together.
2. Throw in the tomato stuff (translation, the tomato sauce, and the tomato paste) with all the spices. Yes, these were the actual instructions (minus the translation).
3. Add some water if the sauce is too thick and bring it to a boil. You’ll notice that there’s quite a bit of tomato paste in this recipe. You will need some water. How much will depend on how thick vs watery you prefer your spaghetti sauce.
4. Turn down to a simmer. Add the sausage. Yep, add the raw sausage right in there. My dad always cut his sausage into thirds.
5. Simmer for 45 minutes to an hour. You could squeeze by with less time, technically. Just make sure your sausage is completely cooked.
6. Adjust spices to taste. If using hot sausage, use fewer pepper flakes.
While I cannot recall a time when these ingredients made their way into my grandmother’s spaghetti and meat sauce, I always like to give you guys options.
- heavy cream
- a little bit of ground cumin
- frozen peas
- extra garlic
- fresh basil
- cherry tomatoes
How to Freeze Spaghetti Meat Sauce
You can keep your meat sauce stored in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days. Any longer and you’ll want to place leftovers in a freezer-friendly container or freezer-safe ziplock bag. Remove all of the air, but be sure to leave a little space for the sauce to expand as it freezes. To thaw, transfer the bag or container to a bowl filled with warm water, or allow it to defrost in the refrigerator overnight.
More Yummy Pasta Recipes,
Have you tried making my Grandma’s Spaghetti Sauce Recipe?
Tell me about it in the comments below! I always love to hear your thoughts. And tag me #theforkedspoon on Instagram if you’ve made any of my recipes, I always love to see what you’re cooking in the kitchen.
Grandma's Spaghetti Sauce with Meat
- 1 tablespoon olive oil - or vegetable oil
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 1 small onion - diced
- 3 cloves garlic - crushed/minced
- 4 (15-ounce) cans tomato sauce - see notes below
- 2 (5-ounce) cans tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- salt + pepper - to taste
- red pepper flakes - optional
- 8 links mild Italian sausage - sliced into thirds
- grated parmesan cheese - if desired
- Add the oil to a large pot or Dutch oven set over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and brown until nearly cooked (use a wooden spoon or metal spatula to break the ground meat into small pieces).
- Add the onions and cook until starting to soften - about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant.
- Add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, oregano, basil, salt + pepper, and red chili flakes, if using. Mix well and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add water to thin the sauce, if needed.
- Add the sausage. Cover and simmer everything all together for approximately 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Serve over your favorite pasta noodle and garnish with grated parmesan cheese, if desired.
- Her recipe calls for "some chopped onion - 1/2 cup or more". I simply added an entire small onion.
- My grandmother's recipe calls for 2 (15 ounce) cans of tomato sauce. I doubled this. This way I didn't have to add as much water to thin the sauce. (Sorry, Grandma) - I also remember my dad making this recipe with jars of tomato/pasta sauce like marinara sauce or Prego (usually whatever was on sale). He would use 2 (25-ounce) jars.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)