Meat Sauce

If you are a meat sauce family (my family is a serious meat sauce family), then a pot of this in the fridge, or a container of this in the freezer is just pure peace of mind.  What shape noodle you feel like boiling up, a hot pot of this poured over, some Parm, a salad, and things are a-ok. More than a-ok. I write about my family’s love of meaty things often.  Why? Because they really like meaty things.  

Robert Browning wrote a famous and lovely poem in the 19th century called Pippa’s Song.  It went like this:

The years at the spring,
And day’s at the morn;
Morning’s at seven;
The hill-side’s dew pearl’d;
The Lark’s on the wing;
The snail’s on the thorn;
God’s in His heaven –
All’sw right with the world!

Meat Sauce

My version is something like:

Holy crap, what time is it?;
I didn’t get done half of what I wanted to do;
Why does it get dark so much earlier?;
People will want to eat soon;
I haven’t really thought about dinner;
Which I realize is ironic considering what I do for a living;
But them’s the facts;
Oh wait –
I have meat sauce in the fridge!

Another moment where there is a palpable chorus of people thinking “keep your day job!”

Meat Sauce

If you are a meat sauce family (my family is a serious meat sauce family), then a pot of this in the fridge, or a container of this in the freezer is just pure peace of mind. 

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Make Ahead

The sauce will last for up to 4 days in the refrigerator, and 6 months well sealed in the freezer.   Freeze it in pint or quart containers, or better yet in freezer proof zipper top bags which you should seal, removing as much excess air as possible.  Lay the bags flat and freeze them until solid, then you can store them flat, or standing up like books. Label it so you don’t think it’s chili when you take it out!

You are more than welcome to use ground turkey, and turkey sausage which I do often (and that’s what is in my first book, The Mom 100 Cookbook).  

Meat Sauce

What Kind of Pasta to use with Meat Sauce:

Classic cooking wisdom says for a chunky sauce you want a chunky noodle.  I think use whatever noodle you like! But yes, bulky noodles like penne rigate, ziti, cavatappi, and any pasta that has been bronze cut are great, as they have a slightly rougher exterior.  Try and find a noodle with some texture or ridges on the outside which help them grab on to the meat sauce.

What to Serve with Classic Meat Sauce and Pasta:

Meat Sauce

Other Meat Recipes:

Classic Italian Meat Sauce

If you are a meat sauce family (my family is a serious meat sauce family), then a pot of this in the fridge, or a container of this in the freezer is just pure peace of mind.
Yield: 10 Servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound fresh pork sausage squeezed from the casing
  • 1 ½ cups chopped onion
  • 2 teaspoons finely minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Big glug or two of red or white wine if you have a bottle open 
  • 2 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes preferably in puree
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes optional

Directions

  • In a large saucepot, heat one tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add both the ground beef and the sausage together and cook, stirring frequently, and breaking up the meat so that it’s very crumbly and browned throughout, about 4 to 6 minutes.  Turn it into a strainer and let it the fat drain off.
  • Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the same pot over medium heat (don’t clean it!  All those little bits of flavor from the meat will season the sauce). Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic, oregano and basil and cook, stirring for 2 more minutes, until you can smell the garlic and herbs. Add the wine, if using, and stir for one more minute, scraping up any bits stuck to the bottom, until the wine pretty much evaporates.
  • Add the canned tomatoes and red pepper flakes if using, and stir to combine everything.  Bring to a simmer over medium high heat, stirring occasionally. Add the browned meat, lower the heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes.  Taste, and season gently with the salt and pepper (the sausages provide a whole lot of seasoning). 

Nutrition Information

Calories: 341kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 65mg | Sodium: 531mg | Potassium: 740mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 397IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 81mg | Iron: 4mg

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