Meat sauce is definitely much faster than doing meat balls, besides, who has that kind of time during the week? My spaghetti sauce recipe is epic, but it takes time and that is definitely a luxury, especially for busy families!
I love him but….
my husband does not like spaghetti. I don’t know what went wrong in his life, but it’s true. Sadly. Thankfully, he does love this recipe! While it isn’t spaghetti, it’s close enough to curb my craving so that works. A happy compromise, ladies and gentlemen, is key!
Meat Sauce Recipe
This recipe makes 4 servings. It’s easy to convert it for larger families.
If you cook and prepare it in the order it is listed, you’ll have dinner on the table (at least the pasta part anyway) in less than 20 minutes. I recommend doing a bagged salad and popping in some garlic toast as you cook so that you’ll be totally done when the meat sauce and pasta are finished!
- 1 lb Ground Beef (or ground turkey)
- 1 pound whole grain pipe pasta (whichever you prefer)
- 14 oz can whole peeled tomatoes
- 2 cloves garlic (trust me, it’s way better with fresh, but if you have no choice you can use minced)
- 2 TBSP tomato paste
- 1 medium carrot
- 2 stalks celery
- 1 yellow onion
- 1/4 to 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (adjust to taste but don’t skip!)
- 1 cup pasta water (set aside from when you drain the pasta!)
- Heat a large pot of water to boiling, add in a pinch of salt and a tsp or so of olive oil. When it is time, add the pasta to the boiling water. When it is done, you will be saving about one cup of the liquid so don’t drain it all!
- Peel and dice the onion. Peel carrot and halve lengthwise, then thinly slice into small pieces. Halve the celery, then chop. Peel and roughly chop garlic.
- Gently break apart the tomatoes in a small bowl (honestly, I just use a knife in the can)
- On medium high heat, cook ground beef (or turkey) for about 3 minutes. Then add in onion, carrots, celery and garlic and cook until the ground meat is cooked through. Sprinkle a little pepper as it cooks and, if you prefer, a little salt as well). Drain the grease if you need to.
- Add tomato paste and your preferred amount of red pepper flakes to the skillet with some pepper (and salt if sodium isn’t an issue for you!). Cook for two to three minutes, stirring frequently until it’s all thoroughly mixed together.
- Add in the tomatoes and and 1/4 cup of pasta water and stir occasionally until the sauce begins to thicken. (see notes below). Turn off the heat.
- Stir in the sauce, 1/4 cup of pasta water and the cooked pasta. Cook on medium-high heat, stirring constantly for 2 minutes or until the sauce has completely coated the pasta. If the sauce is too thick after you’ve done this, you can add in a little more pasta water until it gets to your preferred consistency.
- If you’d like your ground turkey to have that beef flavor, mix in some Better Than Bouillon, it is fantastic! For my Vegetarian or vegan friends, they even have a Vegetarian version of Better Than Bouillon ‘No Beef’ Base!
- If you use the longer tube pasta, you will want the sauce to be a little thinner. If you have to thin out the sauce a bit later, just add in the water at the end a little at a time until it’s thinned out some.
On the Side and For Dessert:
We had a delicious salad and garlic bread with our pasta, which seems traditional I suppose. This is a pretty ‘heavy’ (yet healthy) meal, but if you want dessert I recommend Fried Apples. They are much healthier than many alternatives and absolutely delicious year round!