My ideal meat sauce is thick and hearty with bright tomato flavors and not one, but two meats.
Bonus if it's ready sooner rather than later with no crazy, exotic ingredients.
My favorite Homemade Meat Sauce recipe has all that and more, and I'm sharing it with you today so you never have to resort to jarred sauce again.
The quest for perfect Homemade Meat Sauce was born out of the quest for perfect lasagna. You can't have one without the other.
My Make-Ahead Lasagna recipe yields a giant batch of meat sauce, more than you need for the recipe itself. So, you'll get at least a quart out of that or you can just make it on its own.
I like using both beef and ground sausage here as well as fennel seeds (for extra sausage flavor). Everything else is straight out of your pantry including a tiny bit of sugar for sweetness.
Make lasagna with it, pour it on spaghetti, or eat it with a spoon.
In fact, if you want to eat zoodles? Eat them with this sauce. It makes everything better. Leave the zucchini noodles raw, pile on the meat sauce, and let the hot sauce soften the zoodles just a little. (I added mushrooms to my sauce in this photo).
Is it a good replacement for pasta? No.
Is it a good replacement for a salad? Yes.
Homemade Meat Sauce Recipe
- 1 pound ground beef and/or ground Italian sausage (I like to use one pound of each)
- 1 medium onion chopped (about 1 cup)
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons sugar or to taste (see notes)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- In a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add beef, sausage, and onion and cook until mostly browned, about 5 minutes. Drain if desired. Stir in garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, sugar, basil, Italian seasoning, and fennel seeds. Simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with salt and pepper (I like 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper). Yield: 2 quarts of sauce.