Homemade Pasta Meat Sauce

This meat sauce is our go-to recipe for a hearty pasta dish and hits the spot every time. We use Italian sausage, but you can easily substitute for ground beef if you prefer.

Equipment Needed

Ingredients and Recipe

Homemade Pasta Meat Sauce

Recipe Credit
Publisher – Culinary Hill 'Homemade Meat Sauce'
Publisher – Spend with Pennies 'Italian Seasoning'
Note: This recipe has been updated + slightly altered for website editorial purposes.
Servings 8 cups
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 35 mins


  • Chefs Knife
  • Measuring Spoons
  • Measuring Cups
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Can Opener
  • Large Saute Pan
  • Wooden Spoon


For the Italian Seasoning (alternatively you use an Italian spice blend, which can be found at your local grocery store)

  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • tsp dried rosemary
  • tsp dried thyme
  • tsp red chili flakes
  • ½ tsp garlic powder

For the Meat Sauce

  • 2 lbs ground Italian sausage alternatively, you can use sausage in casing and remove the casing with a knife
  • 1 medium yellow onion chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning from above
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds  this is a key ingredient – so good!
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper


For the Italian Seasoning

  • Combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl.
  • Transfer to an air tight container and store in a cool dark place for up to 6 months. You can use this for future sauces, garlic butter, meatballs and more.

For the Meat Sauce

  • In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add sausage and onion and cook until mostly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Make a well in the pan and add the tomato paste, cooking for 2-3 minutes until it turns to a darker shade of red, then incorporate with the other ingredients in the pan.
  • Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, sugar, basil, Italian seasoning, fennel seeds and bay leaf. Turn heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Author: Meggan Hill from Culinary Hill and Holly from Spend with Pennies
Course: Dinner, Sauces
Cuisine: Italian

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