Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Italian Meat Sauce for Pasta

Italian Meast Sauce with pasta in bowl

Brighten up your pasta with this zesty tomato sauce

Autumn is here in the Northern Hemisphere, and that means shorter days and cooler evenings. Time for comfort food, wouldn’t you say?

Fortunately, nothing is more comforting than a big plateful of pasta smothered in a rich tomato-based meat sauce. It’s a dish that kids and adults both like, and never tire of. Plus it’s fun to make.

With Columbus Day coming up in the US next Monday (October 13), we think it’s time to celebrate all things Italian. And what better way to do that than to cook up a big potful of meat sauce for pasta? Mamma mia, it’s good!


Italian Meat Sauce with pasta on plate, overhead view

Recipe: Italian Meat Sauce for Pasta

It’s probably more accurate to call this dish Italian-American Meat Sauce—it contains a lot more meat than many “authentic” Italian sauces. It’s somewhat similar to Bolognese sauce (ragù alla bolognese), although that typically contains milk, carrots, and less tomato.

Exact measurements aren’t critical for this recipe. You can even add/subtract ingredients to suit your own taste. We’ve been making variations of this dish for decades, and continue to tinker with it. But the recipe presented here is the basic version we keep coming back to.

This dish takes some time to make: Prep time of least 30 minutes, plus cooking time of 2 to 3 hours (most of that unattended). So we usually make big batches of this sauce and freeze whatever we can’t immediately use. (This recipe yields about 3 quarts, so that means we freeze most of it). But it’s easy enough to make a smaller batch—see Notes for details.

Ingredients
  • ~1½ pounds ground beef (chuck is what we prefer; see Notes)
  • ~1½ pounds ground pork (or skip this ingredient and use all beef if you prefer)
  • ~2 teaspoons Kosher salt for seasoning meat (or to taste; see Notes)
  • ~2 cups onions, diced (2 or 3; yellow onions work well)
  • 4 to 6 cloves garlic (to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ~1 teaspoon additional Kosher salt for seasoning onions and garlic (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional; we sometimes omit this)
  • 1 six-ounce can tomato paste
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons dried oregano (to taste; may substitute marjoram if you prefer)
  • ~3 tablespoons beef base (optional; see Notes)
  • 2 to 3 cups dry red wine, such as chianti (optional; may substitute white wine if you prefer)
  • 2 28-ounce cans Italian plum tomatoes
  • 1 28-ounce can tomato purée (or just use 3 cans of plum tomatoes)
  • 1 28-ounce can of water (or substitute beef broth if not using beef base)
  • dried pasta of your choice—3 to 4 ounces dried pasta per serving (a ridged tubular pasta like rigatoni is our preference; see Notes)
  • additional Kosher salt for seasoning pasta cooking water
  • chopped fresh basil or flat-leaf parsley for garnish (optional)
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese as an accompaniment (optional)

Procedure
  1. It speeds things up if you brown the meat in one pan, and sauté the onions in another. So begin by adding the meat to a very large frying pan (if you don’t have one large enough, you may need to do this in two batches). Place the pan on medium stovetop heat. Add salt to season the meat, then stir to incorporate the salt. It will take at least 10 minutes for the meat to brown; stir occasionally as it browns.
  2. Meanwhile, peel the onions and cut them into dice of about ½ inch. Peel the garlic, then mince it or slice finely.
  3. Heat a large cooking pot (at least 4 quarts; 5 or 6 quarts works better) on medium stovetop heat. When hot, add the olive oil. Add the onions and garlic, then season with salt to taste. Sauté until the onions are translucent but not browned (8 minutes or so).
  4. Once the onions are translucent, add the red pepper flakes (if using) and the tomato paste. Stir to combine, then cook for about 2 minutes.
  5. By now the meat should be browned. Using a slotted spoon (so you leave the grease behind), transfer the meat to the pot containing the onions and garlic. Add the oregano and beef base (if using) and stir to combine.
  6. Add the wine (if using; otherwise skip this step). Stir and cook until the wine has mostly evaporated. This will take 15 minutes or more (depending on how much wine you use). Keep an eye on the cooking pot and stir from time to time (if all the liquid evaporates, you risk scorching the bottom of the pot).
  7. At this point, you’ll add the plum tomatoes and tomato purée, if using, to the meat. When using whole tomatoes, we usually whirl them briefly in a blender or food processor to break them up a bit. Add the tomatoes and a can of water (or beef broth if not using beef base). Bring the meat sauce to a simmer, then reduce the stovetop heat so the sauce is just barely simmering. Partially cover the cooking pot, leaving a crack so the steam can escape. Simmer for 2 or 3 hours (longer is better). Stir the sauce every 20 to 30 minutes. If the sauce seems to be reducing too much, add some water. (And if you want a more liquidy sauce, by all means add additional water.)
  8. After about an hour or so of simmering, taste the sauce and adjust seasoning if necessary.
  9. When ready to serve, prepare the pasta according to package directions (salting the water adds flavor—use about a tablespoon per 4 quarts of water). Cook the pasta until it’s almost al dente, then remove a cup of the pasta water (just dip it out with a measuring cup—exact quantity not important) and reserve it. Drain the cooked pasta into a colander, then add the pasta back to its empty cooking pot. Place the pasta pot over very low heat and spoon in as much sauce as you like (probably ½ cup to 1 cup per serving, depending on how saucy you like your pasta). If the pasta sauce is too thick, add a bit of the reserved pasta cooking water to achieve the consistency you like. Continue cooking the pasta in sauce over low heat until the pasta is al dente. This takes maybe a minute—stir often so the pasta sauce doesn’t burn.
  10. Garnish the pasta and sauce with chopped fresh basil or parsley if you like, and serve. Place a bowl of freshly grated Parmesan on the table so people can add cheese if they like.
Italian Meat Sauce with pasta on plate

Notes
  • If you want to make a smaller batch of this sauce, it’s easy to do. The basic ratio is 1 pound of meat to one 28-ounce can of tomatoes. Reduce the onion, garlic, and other ingredients proportionally. So for a pound of meat and one 28-ounce can of tomatoes, use maybe ¾ cup onion, a couple cloves of garlic, a big pinch of red pepper flakes, a couple tablespoons of tomato paste (for small quantities, tubes of tomato paste work well), a scant cup of wine, plus 2 or 3 teaspoons of oregano.
  • We like to use equal parts ground beef and ground pork in this dish. But you may prefer more beef and less pork (perhaps a ratio of 2 pounds beef to 1 pound pork). Or even all beef.
  • Which cut of beef to use for this dish? We think ground chuck has the most flavor, so that’s what we prefer.
  • When you add salt to the meat and onions as they cook, you’re also seasoning them. Usually this means you’ll need less salt overall.
  • Kosher salt is less “salty” than the regular table variety (because it’s more voluminous). So if you’re using regular table salt, use about half the amount called for in this recipe.
  • When making this sauce, we generally use a mix of canned whole Italian plum tomatoes and tomato purée to get the flavor and texture we like. But you can use all whole tomatoes—or all tomato purée. Whole tomatoes break down as they cook, but not completely; so we briefly whirl them in the blender or food processor before adding them to the meat (Step 7). Alternatively, after the sauce is cooked, we use a stick blender to break up any big chunks of tomato.
  • This recipe calls for beef base, which is essentially condensed beef stock in a paste form. We prefer the Better Than Bouillon brand (most supermarkets carry it), but there are other good brands too. (BTW, we aren’t compensated for mentioning this—or any other—brand; it’s what we like and buy with our own money.)
  • By adding beef base to the meat (Step 5) and then cooking it with wine, you help enhance the flavor of the meat. But if you don’t want to use beef base, just substitute beef stock for water in Step 7.
  • Some cooks like to add a bit of sugar to pasta sauce right at the end to sweeten it up (and reduce its acidity). We don’t consider this necessary, but feel free to do so if you find it improves the flavor.
  • Alternatively, you could dice up a couple of carrots and add them to the onions in Step 3. Carrots are naturally sweet, and that may provide all the sweetness you need.
  • We find that pasta with a “hefty” shape works best for this dish. A ribbed tubular pasta like rigatoni or ziti is ideal.
  • As noted above, this recipe makes too much sauce to use at one time (unless you’re feeding a big crowd). So we freeze extra sauce in two-cup containers, which provide a perfect serving size for 2 people (we usually figure on 4 ounces of dried pasta per serving—so 8 ounces total for two; and we like our pasta saucy, so we use about a cup of sauce per serving).
Italian Meast Sauce with pasta in bowl

Pasta Perfect

“Wow, it’s been ages since we’ve had this meat sauce,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs, digging into her plate of pasta.

“Way too long,” I agreed. “We’ve been making so many other great pasta dishes.”

“Yeah, like your Pasta with Quick Tomato and Bacon Sauce,” said Mrs K R. “That’s one of my favorites.”

“And Cacio e Pepe,” I said. “That’s become a go-to dish for us.”

“Your Pasta Puttanesca is delicious too,” said Mrs K R. “And your Penne alla Vodka is outstanding.”

“Don’t forget the Pasta Caprese we did in August,” I said. “Another tasty dish.”

“And there’s more!” said Mrs K R. “But I’m too hungry to list them all.”

“Me too,” I said. “Less talk, more eating.”

Happy Columbus Day!

You may also enjoy reading about:
Fettuccine Alfredo
Pasta alla Norma
Pasta e Fagioli
Pasta with Sardines and Fennel
Pasta with Shrimp and Fennel
Pesto Pasta
Homemade Pasta and Noodles
Pasta with Quick Tomato and Bacon Sauce
Cacio e Pepe
Pasta Puttanesca
Penne alla Vodka
Pasta Caprese
Or check out the index for more

138 comments:

  1. Looks insanely delicious!! Love!!

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    1. Hi Asmita, it is insanely delicious. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  2. I couldn't agree more: Mama mia it looks fantastic!
    We are all pasta lovers in our family and your Italian Meat sauce is just the perfect match.

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    1. Hi Daniela, we love pasta -- have it almost every week. Thanks for the comment.

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  3. This looks spectacular, John. I love all the meat in this, what a hearty meal!

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    1. Hi Kristy, this really is a good dish. And you're right -- very hearty! Thanks for the comment.

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  4. Fantastic dish here; this meat sauce looks to be the perfect companion to this pasta. Nicely done!

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    1. Hi Dan, I love a good meat sauce! And this really is a good one. Thanks for the comment.

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  5. I hate saying goodbye to summer, but it is dishes like this that console me. There is nothing better on a cool night than a little pasta with meat sauce. Love this recipe.

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    1. Hi Karen, funny how our tastes change when the weather turns cooler, isn't it? And this is perfect for fall! Thanks for the comment.

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  6. This dish has my name on it! I am so ready for pasta and fall weather! This is perfect in every way! Mangia!

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    1. Hi Abbe, pasta and fall just go together. At least in our house! Thanks for the comment.

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  7. This is a dish my daughter would love. There is something about perfectly made meat sauce that speaks "comfort". I will give your recipe a go this weekend for her. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Hi Ansh, I hope your daughter enjoys this! Although I know she will. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  8. I could literally live on this stuff through the winter...it looks luscious! I am curious about the beef base, I've never used it but it sounds like it would be a great flavor booster for so many dishes, thanks John!

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    1. Hi Sue, the beef base is really worth playing with (as is chicken base) -- really good concentrated flavor. We use it all the time. Thanks for the comment.

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  9. I fought fall but it won and now I am leaning toward dishes made in the kitchen with hearty ingredients like these...looks fabulous!

    I recently made a pasta sauce using beef and pork breakfast sausage because it was all I had and it was so good; my days of beef only are over and done with; this combo rules!

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    1. Hi Barb, I sometimes made a sausage sauce with Italian sausage, but never breakfast sausage. Sounds really interesting! Thanks for the comment.

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  10. Good idea! I can eat this every week indeed. My kids are having 4 day weekend and we'll definitely enjoy this in one evening! Your meat sauce looks good!!

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    1. Hi Nami, I'll bet your kids would love this! Every kid I've met loves pasta with meat sauce. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  11. This looks delicious, John.....I love Italian food in any way it is prepared and will eat it any day. Thanks for sharing..:)

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    1. Hi Pat, Italian food is a big love of ours, too. Can't get enough! Thanks for the comment.

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  12. Hi John , what a meaty meat sauce m licking my lips and drooling . I was expecting a cocktail , got food instead , this dish will make you sop your plate . I will use three cans of tomatoes , and it has wine also . Thanks for sharing ... I am pinning . happy Columbus Day to you and Mrs. KR ~~Nee~~

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    1. Hi Nee, we're back to once-a-month cocktails. Unless I do a Cookies and Cocktails special again for December. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  13. Hi John, What a "Blue Plate Special," which is what my dad would say! I love your photos, and your recipe, it looks so delicious! I love pasta and sauce. Love all your ingredients, and I especially love the wine mixed in. You are correct, it does take a while to cook, but that is why it is so good! I enjoyed the way you explained the directions...Love Mrs.K R and Happy Columbus Day to you as well. Thanks for sharing your mouthwatering recipe. Have a fabulous rest of the week! Dottie :)

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    1. Hi Dottie, this definitely isn't a fast recipe! But it's so worth taking the time. Hope you have a great Columbus Day too, and thanks for the comment.

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  14. This is a lovely, rich-looking ragu and I love how you've used a couple of types of meat for added flavour. It's so true that as the days become shorter, it's comforting to turn to these types of dishes - although I'm guilty of devouring a dish like this during a heatwave! xx

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    1. Hi Charlie, we'd eat this in a heatwave too! The only way we could ever eat in when we lived in Florida, because the cool season was so short. ;-) But now that we're living in a place with actual fall and winter, this is perfect for that. Thanks for the comment.

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  15. What a flavorful ragu!!! Nothing like a great meat sauce made from scratch and combined with pasta to make one's day...

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    1. Hi Denise, it really is a great sauce! One of my favorite dishes to make, ever. Thanks for the comment.

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  16. It's finally cool enough to cook up a batch of meat sauce. I usually use mild Italian sausage, but your pork and beef version sounds like a delicious option!

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    1. Hi Liz, I sometimes do a version of this with Italian sausage. It's good! I've even been known to throw spare ribs into the pot -- they give a lovely flavor. Thanks for the comment.

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    1. Hi Alyssa, me too! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  18. Why would anyone want to make a smaller batch of this? I would suggest doubling it and freezing what you don't need. Always ready for the next meal. I have used Italian sausage in mine too but yours is calling me.

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    1. Hi Maureen, I don't do small batches well. ;-) Although that's what some people want. And doubling this is a great idea! Thanks for the comment.

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  19. Hi John!
    Tis the season for all things comforting and what is more reminisce of shorter days and cooler evening than a great big pot of meat sauce!!!

    It happens to be my very best favorite way to enjoy pasta. I'm with you with halfie halfie on the meat combo. Pork has a way of sweetening up the sauce a bit.

    Thank you so much for sharing, John...

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    1. Hi Louise, halfie halfie is the way to go! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  20. Now, this is true comfort food. A glass of Chianti, and you are good to go. Heaven!

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    1. Hi Carolyn, Chianti is a must! ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  21. I love Italian Meat Sauce! It's one of my favorite for pasta!

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    1. Hi Peachy, isn't a nice meat sauce like this wonderful? Really makes the pasta! Thanks for the comment.

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  22. We have been eating so much pasta in our house since the weather has "turned". Love this sauce - comfort food indeed!

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    1. Hi Ashley, fall and pasta just seem to go together, don't they? Thanks for the comment.

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  23. MEAT ANYTHING is right up my alley! I would throw this on top of spaghetti squash FOR SURE! :)

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    1. Hi GiGi, :-) Not your thing, I know! Thanks for the comment.

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  24. OK, pass me a fork.... I could eat this all year round!

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    1. Hi Lizzy, fork is passed. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  25. aromatic,delectable and absolutely comforting meat sauce....this classic dish is something which makes us wait for autumn and winters...the time for savoring such soul warming pasta recipes...will be trying this out with textured soy protein....thanks so much for sharing this treat :-)

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    1. Hi Kumar, I've not made this with soy protein -- I'll bet it would be good. Thanks for the comment.

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  26. Absolutely mouthwatering! I love that sauce. A classic.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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    1. Hi Rosa, it really is a classic, And like all classics, awfully good! Thanks for the comment.

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  27. What a fantastic hearty dish! My hubs and son would go crazy over this one.. I love the changing seasons, it reminds us to make meals like these that have been forgotten all summer!

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    1. Hi Barbara, one of the great things about changing seasons is we get to change our menus! ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  28. It looks comforting and so delicious!

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    1. Hi Pam, it is, it is! ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  29. John, thank you!
    One questions: could you possibly suggest a less caloric version of this sauce?
    My husband is very careful in this respect...
    Thank you again!!
    have a good weekend!
    PS. I've been reading your blog and loved the coctails, but my life and work got extremely busy in the past months herefore could not write:-(

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    1. Hi La Torontoise, the easiest way to cut the calories, of course, is just to limit the portion size! Not what you -- or your husband -- want to hear, I know. Actually, most of the calories in this dish probably come from the pasta. You could try substituting something like spaghetti squash, or zucchini strips for the pasta. Although not really the same thing. :-( Sorry I couldn't be more helpful! Thanks for the comment.

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    2. John, thank you!

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  30. I LOVE your meat sauce! I'm so tired of eating 'pomodoro' all the time :) great job!

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    1. Hi Marcela, 'pomodoro' is good, but sometimes you want something pretty hearty. And this is hearty! Thanks for your comment.

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  31. This is a meaty sauce. I like that. My Mom in law who made great sauce said it takes 3 kinds of meat in a sauce. Her red sauce was outstanding. This looks like a winner to me too. I love it that you are going Italian since Columbus day is coming. Made me smile. My family would love love this hearty sauce. Kind of like unconstructed meatballs.

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    1. Hi Carol, it is a bit like unconstructed, particularly if you'd include that third meat (veal would be my choice). Good however you want to think of it! Thanks for the comment.

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  32. Love the flexibility. I would do like the other commenter and freeze the extra. I love to be able to pull something out of the freezer and have slow food.

    M.

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    1. Hi Madonna, we always make a load of this and freeze it -- hence, the yield of the recipe. ;-) And like you, we like having a meal like this ready to go (well, once you thaw it out!). Thanks for the comment.

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  33. That looks like a very hearty and delicious meat sauce!

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    1. Hi Kiran, it really is delish, and definitely hearty! Thanks for the comment.

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  34. I think this is what Tony Sorprano would call "gravy". GREG

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    1. Hi Greg, definitely gravy. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  35. I've never been one for tomato sauce (or cooked tomatoes of any kind), but these pictures make me want to grab a fork and reach right through the screen :)

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    1. Hi Laura, you certainly taste the tomato in this, but this is really all about the meat. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  36. That's what I call a hearty meal!! The pictures look gorgeous.

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    1. Hi Minnie, it really is hearty. And awfully good. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  37. This is the perfect time for comfort food. And your pasta is a perfect choice.
    You've reminded me about some of your other great recipes - I'll have to check those out again.

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    1. Hi Beth, comfort food rules at this time of the year, doesn't it? Thanks for the comment.

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  38. Hi John, your pasta meat sauce sounds delicious, this would make my husband very happy.

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    1. Hi Cheri, I'll bet this would make both of you happy! ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  39. That's what's great about pasta sauces---a little bit of this, a little bit of that....delicious but potentially different everytime

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    1. Hi Debra, I agree -- fun to mix things up with different ingredients, isn't it? Thanks for the comment.

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  40. It's been ages since I've made a homemade meat sauce. I love the thickness of yours. Mine are usually runny which means I'm obviously doing something wrong. Thanks for sharing yours! Red pepper flakes optional? never! ;) Thanks for sharing your recipe John!

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    1. Hi MJ, red paper flakes are rarely optional around here, but it does happen. Maybe once a decade or so. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  41. Yes, I love the "smothered in a rich tomato-based meat sauce", this is the way I like my pasta dishes...speaking of which I have not had this kind of pasta for a while...indeed super comfort food for colder evenings...
    Hope you are enjoying your week John :D

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    1. Hi Julian, it's fun smothering pasta in sauce, isn't it? So much flavor that way. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  42. It's a little more complex than the usual Italian meat sauce but it sure looks delicious. We eat this kind of dish winter and summer. It's one of the dishes that Adriano cooks.

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    1. Hi Suzanne, it is a bit more involved, but the flavor payoff is so worth it. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  43. Can't go wrong with a classic like this!

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    1. Hi Caroline, you're so right! Thanks for the comment.

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  44. I love the complexity and the layers of flavors in this sauce and it is definitely the perfect cold weather meal. And comfort food at its best! And I actually love long prep times as it allows me time to think and write in my head. And long simmering times just make the house smell fabulous.

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    1. Hi Jamie, it's a really interesting sauce -- layers of flavor. And I'm with you on long prep times -- it gives one tons of time to think. Thanks for the comment.

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  45. Variations on this dish have been a house favorite in my family forever. My Mother always adds bell pepper; I like your addition of red wine--we've never used that. Great recipe and beautiful photos. Thank you, Rocquie

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    1. Hi Rocquie, I'll sometimes add bell pepper, or even a hot pepper to this dish. But this version is the one I always come back to. And although I don't always make it with wine, the wine really does add something. Thanks for the comment.

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  46. I smiled when I read this post, John. My father loved meat sauce and always asked my to make it when I visited. I know he would have loved yours.

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    1. Hi Karen, your father has good taste! ;-) We haven't made this dish for quite some time, and I can't figure out why -- it's really so good. Thanks for the comment.

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  47. This is a bowl of complete comfort food! I see you added a little pork in there for good measure... My boys would gobble this up and be begging for seconds for sure.

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    1. Hi Bam, it's hard to say no to pork. :-) It has such great flavor in this dish. And I'll bet your boys would love this -- and the size of the recipe might actually satisfy their hunger. Maybe. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  48. Love a good pasta dinner. This looks great!

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    1. Hi Cathleen, I never met a pasta dish I didn't like! And this one is outstanding. Thanks for the comment.

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  49. Looks, delicious and comforting pasta with meat sauce!!!
    sure gonna try this recipe....

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    1. Hi Dedy, this is truly good stuff! Hope you enjoy it. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  50. What a wonderful pasta dish, John! And there is a generous serving of meat. Yum!!!

    Gourmet Getaways

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    1. Hi Julie, this dish is definitely heavy on the meat! So you know it's delish. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  51. Yumm...I am so hungry right now and this meal sounds so good that I will wipe that plate clean.

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    1. Hi Taruna, yup, every time we serve this we're members of the clean plate club too! Thanks for the comment.

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  52. I'm not even going to tell you how many times I had pasta this past week ... and even for breakfast one morning. Your sauce sounds great John. Love the wine, pork and beef in this recipe.

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    1. Hi Lea Ann, I could probably eat pasta every day of the week. And I've had it for breakfast, too! ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  53. and leftovers, if any are really good with a fried egg or two on top.
    :-)

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    1. Hi Dawn, I haven't done that fried egg thing with leftovers. But I will. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  54. I would not mind this tonight for dinner John! I know we will enjoy your recipe frequently.
    Wish it was that cool here too, lucky you!

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    1. Hi Helene, it really is nice have a change of seasons. If for no other reason being inspired to make dishes like this! Thanks for the comment.

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  55. I have a coworker who gave me pounds of tomatoes that weren't quite prime time for salads and sandwiches, but perfect for your sauce.

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    1. Hi Kristi, fresh tomatoes are so wonderful in a sauce like this! I often roast them to concentrate the flavor, then cook them in the sauce. Yum! Thanks for the comment.

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  56. Why is it Italian never goes out of style? It seems that everyone loves it. This wonderful meat sauce would be a huge hit at my house too!

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    1. Hi Chris, you're so right that Italian never goes out of style. At least not in our house! Thanks for the comment.

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  57. This is definitely cold-weather comfort food! Your sauce sounds delicious and the whole bowl looks wonderful.

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    1. Hi Amy, isn't this great comfort food? I love this stuff! Thanks for the comment.

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  58. What a classic Italian recipe, no one enjoys this as much as my brother would :P
    His favourite!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

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    1. Hi Uru, this dish definitely has your brother's name on it! A real meat-eaters feast. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  59. this meat sauce looks wonderfully hearty, and perfect for the weather we've been having as of late. All this cold and rain has me thinking about italian food in general (because we're pretty good at that here, as you well know.) :) looks delicious!

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    1. Hi Shannon, we reheated some of the frozen sauce for last night's dinner -- it really is the perfect dish for the gloomy weather we've been having. And you're so right that St. Louis had wonderful Italian food! Although this dish has a somewhat different flavor profile than the typical St. Louis meat sauce. Thanks for the comment.

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  60. Well, John, if this is the sauce you mentioned serving to celebrate today, I think you chose very wisely. This sounds just great! Love that you've included both beef and pork. Together they add so much more flavor than just using one alone. Even though I just made pasta last night, you've convinced me to go back to that well again tonight. Cristoforo would be proud. :)

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    1. Hi John, it's hard to beat the beef and pork combo in meat sauce, isn't it? And it's hard to resist pasta at any time, but impossible on Columbus Day! Thanks for the comment.

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  61. Nothing beats a simple dish like this! Such a comfort meal

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    1. Hi Raymund, we love comforting dishes like this. And this is an awfully good one! Thanks for the comment.

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  62. This is indeed a warm bowl of comfort, John! I really need to make a batch of this marvelous, meaty sauce and freeze for easy weeknight dinners. I like your tip to use an immersion blender for the tomatoes, too! Thanks for the inspiration.

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    1. Hi Hannah, what did we do before immersion blenders? I use ours all the time! Thanks for the comment.

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  63. I love a rich meaty tomato sauce like this - in fact, I've been working on getting all the tomatoes put up so we can enjoy stuff like this all winter - will definitely give your version a try some cold January night :)

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    1. Hi Donalyn, this really is a rich sauce! And one we love -- hope you enjoy it some cold January night. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  64. Comfort food and hearty pasta makes me happy for cooler weather! What a great way to celebrate fall.

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    1. Hi Lisa, October always has us looking a hearty dishes -- happens every year. And this is one of our favorites! Thanks for the comment.

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  65. Looks delicious. I love comfort food like this. Perfect!

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    1. Hi Dawn, comfort food rules at this time of the year, doesn't it? And this is the king of comfort food! Well, one of them, anyway. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  66. A splendid looking meal, John. I love the aroma of a sauce like this filling the house. Pairing it as you did with bread and wine seals the deal!

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    1. Hi Brooks, a loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and this. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  67. So the conversation at the end really has me missing pasta (as I sit here with my hard-boiled egg). I love using different meats for the pasta sauces. This is remarkably similar to one of my go-to Sunday sauces in the winter (great minds think alike). It's fun to try different ones where a pinch of this and a pinch of that changes up the meal.

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    1. Hi Claudia, I should check out your Sunday sauce (assuming it's on your blog) -- I love getting new ideas for pasta sauce! Thanks for the comment.

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  68. A long-simmering meat sauce on the stove ... tasting ... stirring ... adding a pinch more ... what a delightful and rewarding time spent in the kitchen! A hearty sauce for pasta is always welcome at our house -- nice recipe.

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    1. Hi Judy, this is one of my favorite dishes just for the reasons you state -- just enjoyable time spent in the kitchen! Thanks for the comment.

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