Italian Meat Sauce and Pasta

Meat sauce takes me right back to the days of my youth when this would grace our table all the time. It was one of my favorite meals. Then we stopped having it. For whatever reason, a once or twice a month occasion turned into a once a year event. I can’t tell you how wrong that is. On so many levels.

The thick sauce is flavored with onion, bell pepper, garlic, Italian seasonings and bay leaf with tomato paste and crushed tomatoes. Typically we would make this with ground beef alone; I spiced it up by adding crumbled hot Italian sausage. It’s best with a pasta that has nooks and crannies for trapping all those delectable pieces of meat, vegetables and sauce.

I’m keeping the tradition alive and recreating it along the way because I love it so. It’s Italian-American comfort food at its best. A Sunday dinner to look forward to. Add a slab of crusty Italian bread (I get the ends!) to mop it up and copious amounts of Parmesan cheese. Then eat your way to heaven.

Italian Meat Sauce and Pasta

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Yield: 6 - 8 servings

Italian Meat Sauce and Pasta

A thick and meaty pasta sauce, the ultimate comfort food!


1 green bell pepper, diced
1 large yellow onion, diced
olive oil, for sauteing
sea or kosher salt
fresh cracked black pepper
6 large cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground beef (80-85% lean)
8-12 ounces Italian sausage, ground or removed from casings (hot or sweet)
1 heaping tablespoon Italian seasoning {or 1 teaspoon each dried (not powdered) basil, rosemary, thyme and oregano crushed between your fingers}
1 can tomato paste, 6 oz.
1 can of crushed tomatoes, 28 oz.
1 bay leaf
red pepper flakes or peperoncino (to taste), optional
1 – 1 +1/2 pounds pasta (like rotini: use one with lots of nooks and crannies)
Parmesan or Romano cheese, fresh grated, for serving


  1. In a large saucepan or stock pot saute pepper and onion in enough olive oil to generously cover bottom of pan over medium-low heat until tender. Season with salt and pepper. Add garlic and saute until fragrant.
  2. Add the beef and sausage, turn heat up to medium and brown the meat on all sides, stirring and breaking it apart as it cooks.
  3. Once meat is browned add Italian seasoning and tomato paste, combine with meat, allow to cook for a 3-4 minutes stirring often. Add crushed tomatoes, bay leaf, 1/3 cup water and red pepper flakes, if desired. Season well with salt and pepper.
  4. Bring to a simmer and cook for 35-45 minutes, stirring often and tasting halfway through to re-season if needed.
  5. Remove bay leaf before serving. Serve over your favorite pasta with plenty of grated cheese and crusty bread.


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