I love the smell of a big pot of spaghetti sauce simmering away on the stove. It makes the entire house smell sooooooo good! It’s also one of those things I like to make a big batch of and freeze in smaller portions to have on hand for those nights when you just don’t feel like cooking. On those nights Spaghetti with Meat Sauce comes to the rescue!
During the summer when tomatoes are at their peak I usually make a fresh, no cook tomato basil sauce, but when the weather starts to cool down my favorite spaghetti sauce is this meat sauce that I let simmer several hours for a full, rich flavor. I first learned how to make this sauce from my mom when I was a teenager. Many, many years later I still make it pretty much the same way as we did way back when.
I think the sauce is best using a combination of ground beef and Italian sausage, but sometimes I’ll make it with just ground beef or even ground turkey. Just depends if I forgot to buy the sausage or not! The secret to a really good sauce, in my opinion, is letting it simmer for a couple hours to develop the flavor. I also think it’s really important to taste frequently to adjust the seasonings as needed.
You’ll see in the recipe I use a jar of prepared spaghetti sauce from the grocery store. Don’t freak. That’s just how I’ve made this recipe for years and have never tried to substitute anything else. If you’d rather not use a jarred sauce, add some pureed tomatoes, but be sure to adjust the seasonings accordingly. Spaghetti with Meat Sauce is one of my favorite comfort foods and a staple around our house in the cooler months.
- 1½ - 2 lbs. ground beef
- 2 Italian sausage links (sweet or hot, whichever is your favorite)
- 1½ onions, diced
- ½ green bell pepper, diced (can use any color bell pepper)
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 jar prepared spaghetti sauce
- 1 lg. can diced tomatoes
- 1 8oz. box mushrooms, sliced
- 1 C. red wine
- 1 Tbls. dried oregano
- 1 Tbls. dried basil
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp. fennel seeds
- salt & pepper, to taste
- ½ C. grated parmesan cheese
- Optional: Parmesan cheese rind
- Heat a little olive oil in large pot, and add ground beef and sausage (casings removed). Break apart and add onions, bell pepper and garlic, 1 tsp. salt and ½ tsp. pepper. Continue to cook until beef is browned and cooked.
- Add prepared jar of spaghetti sauce, tomatoes, mushrooms, wine, oregano, basil, bay leaves, and fennel. If you have a rind from parmesan cheese, toss that in as well. Cover (leave lid ajar a bit) and simmer for a couple hours, stirring occasionally and tasting to adjust seasonings as needed. About halfway through cooking, add grated parmesan cheese. Remove bay leaves before serving.
- Note: If your sauce tastes a little bitter from the tomatoes, add a little sugar to taste.