This flavorful simple spaghetti with meat is easy to make and requires just a few ingredients like ground beef, onion, pasta sauce, noodles, and seasoning. This is the recipe that I have been serving to my family for our twice-monthly spaghetti nights for decades.
I often find myself having less energy to cook in the wintertime, and this homemade meat sauce recipe always comes to the rescue with its rich and comforting flavors to instantly warm my soul on a dark, frigid night.
Topped with a generous amount of fresh parmesan cheese, spaghetti with meat sauce was one of my favorite meals growing up and remains my most beloved comfort food.
Tips on Cooking the Best Spaghetti:
- Check the package directions of the spaghetti you plan to cook. On the box, there should be an approximate cook time for “al-dente,” which means the pasta will be tender, but not mushy. It will still have a bit of a bite, which is perfect.
- Cook the spaghetti in salted water. The water should taste salty. This seasons the pasta as it cooks and is necessary for the best-tasting pasta.
- You can add as little or a lot. I typically only add a little but some people use 1 tablespoon of salt for every 4 quarts (16 cups) of water. This is perfect for cooking 1 pound of pasta.
Do you Cook the Meat before Adding it to Spaghetti Sauce?
Yes, start by browning your meat in the pan with garlic and onions. You can add the sauce when the meat is only partially cooked so it can finish cooking in the sauce and impart more flavor to it.
Different Meats you can use in Pasta Sauce:
- Ground Beef
- Ground Turkey
- Ground Venison
- Italian Sausage (Hot Italian Sausage, if you want to add more spice)
How do you make Simple Spaghetti with Meat Sauce better?
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil - Adding a good quality of flavorful olive oil will go a long way in infusing flavor into your sauce. You can add this to the pot, to begin with, or drizzle it on just before serving it as a finishing oil. It’s your choice!
- Fresh Garlic - Yes, your canned pasta sauce lists garlic in the ingredients. But if you add fresh garlic as well, the flavor will be more distinct and powerful, and the sauce will taste more homemade.
- Onions - Adding diced onions in with the garlic while browning the meat adds so much flavor to the meat and the sauce.
- Hot Pepper Flakes - Yes, you could just buy hot Italian sausage for that kick of heat, but for those of us who are kind of wimpy about spicy food, it’s nice to control the amount. It doesn’t matter when you add the pepper flakes.
- Red Wine - Wine adds another layer to your sauce flavors. You don’t have enough time to cook out the alcohol, so you want to use just enough to flavor the sauce but not lend too much of an alcohol flavor. A couple of tablespoons should be enough, depending on how much sauce you’re making.
- Fresh or Dried Herbs - Again, the ingredients in your sauce may list herbs, but adding fresh or even dried herbs helps to enhance those flavors.
- If you use dried herbs, add them at any time during the cooking.
- If you use fresh herbs, you might want to add them near the end or as a garnish so you don’t lose that fresh flavor.
- Cheese - If you don’t have Parmesan in your fridge, you can definitely use cheddar, Colby, mozzarella, or whatever you fancy! I actually like to use a combination of a more melty cheese like mozzarella with a cheese that has more of a bite like Parmesan.
- Cream - I first learned about adding cream to a tomato sauce from a friend. He had cooked a red sauce, and at the end, after he had plated the pasta and sauce, he poured heavy cream on top. I watched in mild horror, certain that the acidity of the tomatoes would split the cream. But when I tasted the combination, I changed my mind. It was fantastic!
- Butter - Sometimes, I like to add a bit of butter to the noodles before I top them with the sauce. It just makes them not stick, and add adds more flavor.
How to Store Leftover Meat Sauce?
This simple spaghetti with meat sauce recipe can be stored in your refrigerator for up to 3 days or 3 months in the freeze.
Other Recipes you May Want to Try when in a Pinch on Time:
Simple Spaghetti with Meat
- 1 lb ground beef
- ½ medium yellow onion diced
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp italian seasoning
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- 2 cans pasta sauce 24oz cans
- 1 lb spaghetti noodles
- Peel and dice the onion.
- Add ground beef to a large skillet, then add the onions, and seasonings.
- Cook over medium heat until the meat is browned, breaking the meat up as it cooks.
- Once the meat is browned, drain the grease.
- Pour the sauce over the meat and stir it in.
- Cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Add water to a large dutch oven and bring to a boil over high heat. Add noodles, and cook according to the package directions.
- Strain the water from the noodles, then return to the pot.
- Serve meat sauce over the noodles.
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