Traditional Italian Meat Sauce

This is my ultimate sauce for any Italian dish that needs some meaty goodness. It’s not hard to make, but it does require some patience. Taking the time to simmer it for several hours is what gives this traditional Italian meat sauce such rich flavor. The good news is that once the sauce is at the “simmer down now” phase your work is pretty much done, apart from some occasional stirring… and doing the dishes.

Also, this recipe makes a buttload of meat sauce which is always nice. You could half the recipe, but keep in mind that the amounts of ground beef and sausage are pretty standard prepackaged sizes. So you’ll either need to shop at a fancypants store with a full-service counter to get the right amount, or you’ll be splitting a pack of ground beef in half… which sounds pretty depressing. Plus then there’d be the added stress of figuring out what to do with the other sad half of ground beef before it goes bad…

You know what? Just make the full amount and then freeze any that goes unused.

Traditional Italian Meat Sauce


  • 4 thick slices of bacon diced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 medium onion diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1-2 stalks celery with leaves minced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 small carrot minced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 5 or 6 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 1/4lb lean ground beef (seasoned with salt)
  • 1 1/4lb sweet italian pork sausage
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 2 cans crushed tomatoes (28 oz cans)
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • kosher salt to taste (I usually add around 1 teaspoon)
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley/basil/or both


Step 1
Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven.

Stir in the onion, carrot, celery, and bacon. Stir occasionally and cook for about 8 to 10 minutes.

Add the garlic in now that the rest has gotten a head start, and cook for about 5 more minutes.
Step 2
Add the beef and sausage to the pan, and break apart with your spoon while it browns and mixes in with the veggies. Sprinkle the allspice and oregano over the meat.

Once the meat doesn't have much pink color left stir in the tomato paste, and red wine.

Cook, stirring occasionally until most of the wine has cooked off.
Step 3
Pour in both cans of tomatoes and the beef broth.

Stir it all together and let it simmer at least two hours.
Step 4
The sauce should thicken up after a couple hours. Taste the sauce once it looks nice and thick and add kosher salt to your preference.

Stir in the fresh herbs and enjoy with: lasagna, baked ziti, chicken/eggplant parm, Italian subs, stuffed shells, and of course any kind of pasta!

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