Friday, March 22, 2013

Hearty Italian Meat Sauce

Hearty Italian Meat Sauce

Since moving we have felt so extremely welcomed.  And mostly, that is, by food.  Food from so many wonderful people from our new church and our neighborhood.  Our first weekend here I was invited to a group book study, “Bible Camp” as they call it with a group of (amazing) women.  They happen to meet at a house in my neighborhood and there is always food involved.  “So what could be bad?”, I though.

And well, nothing, nothing at all was bad.  And I have gone back each week to this group of welcoming ladies.  And what does this have to do with meat sauce, you ask?  Well, a couple of weeks ago at our Monday night meet-up, we had a sit-down meal instead of our regular snacks and sweets.  There was homemade lasagna, a salad, homemade French bread, fruit, rice pudding…the list goes on.  And that lasagna – that’s where the meat sauce comes in to play here.  This lasagna was the best lasagna I’ve ever tasted and I’m not even exaggerating.  Vera, who made it, gladly shared her recipe and the following week I found myself craving that sauce.

Hearty Italian Meat Sauce

So I made it.  But I was feeling lazy so instead of lasagna, it became meat sauce that I served over spaghetti noodles with a salad.  Paul had no complaints.  In fact, we fought over the leftovers!  I’m telling you – I could have just eaten this sauce straight out of the bowl with a spoon.  That’s saying a lot coming from this pasta-lover.  And the secret is the Italian sausage.  Why have I never used it in a meat sauce before?  It made all the difference!  Amazing flavor without tons of heat.  This is without a doubt, my new go-to hearty meat sauce recipe!

I also have to mention that this same night, these ladies also “showered” me with an amazing welcome basket with kitchen towels, candles, and gift cards; and also – a loaf of bread (which we ate with this spaghetti and meat sauce), a jar of salt and a bottle of wine – (I loved this) the bread represents the symbolic hope that we will always have plenty; the salt so that life always has flavor; the bottle of wine for celebrating life’s good times.  If you ever need a fun gift – try this, I was so blessed by it!

PrintPrint Recipe

Hearty Italian Meat Sauce

Yield: 8 large servings

Prep Time: 15 min

Total Time: 4 hours

Thick, hearty and flavorful meat sauce recipe with ground beef, Italian sausage and lots of tomato and herbs.


1 pound Italian sausage
1/2 pound ground chuck
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
2 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce
2 Tbs. granulated sugar
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped, divided


Crumble the sausage and ground chuck into a large Dutch oven and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often and breaking up large chunks of meat. After about 5 minutes, add the onion and garlic and cook until the onions are fragrant and the meat is cooked through. Add a pinch of salt and pepper.

Reduce the heat to low. Carefully add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, sugar, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper and half of the fresh basil. Stir very well to combine. Cover and simmer the sauce for 2-4 hours, stirring occasionally.

About 20 minutes before ready to serve, remove the lid and turn the heat as low as it will go. Allow the sauce to thicken for about 15 minutes.

Stir in the remaining fresh basil, adjust seasonings to taste and serve over cooked pasta.

Slightly adapted from my friend Vera's lasagna sauce recipe.

Hearty Italian Meat Sauce


45 Responses to “Hearty Italian Meat Sauce”

  1. #
    Suzan @ The Lazy Suzan — March 22, 2013 @ 7:40 am

    Wow, that is some serious pasta sauce! Looks great.

  2. #
    Jamie | Thrifty Veggie Mama — March 22, 2013 @ 7:49 am

    So glad you are being so warmly welcomed in your new neighborhood and found such a great Bible study group.

  3. #
    Alaina @ Fabtastic Eats — March 22, 2013 @ 7:54 am

    mmmm I love a good meat sauce! Thats a really great gift idea! How very clever!

  4. #
    Aimee @ ShugarySweets — March 22, 2013 @ 7:55 am

    This is gorgeous comfort food!!

  5. #
    Tieghan — March 22, 2013 @ 8:12 am

    That is so nice of the people in your community! This sauce is so my families thing! Let’s just we have a whole lot of meat eater! They will love this!

  6. #
    Ali | Gimme Some Oven — March 22, 2013 @ 8:26 am

    Wow – this sounds amazing! So glad these girls have been so welcoming!

  7. #
    Liz @ The Lemon Bowl — March 22, 2013 @ 8:27 am

    Isn’t sausage the best in sauce?? We always use turkey sausage and if I don’t have sausage I always add fennel seeds to ground turkey to create that flavor. I love that you are being welcomed with open arms!!

  8. #
    Laurie {SimplyScratch} — March 22, 2013 @ 8:48 am

    Wow what a wonderful neighborhood you moved into! Love the meaning behind the gifts.. so extremely thoughtful! And THIS sauce… I love Italian sausage in my pasta sauce… it’s really the only way to go! This sauce is going on my “to make” list for the week!!

  9. #
    Sommer@ASpicyPerspective — March 22, 2013 @ 8:56 am

    Oh that meat sauce looks fabulous!

  10. #
    Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough — March 22, 2013 @ 9:26 am

    What a wonderful community you have there! Love it. Also, this meat sauce is calling my name (and these photos — GORGEOUS)!

  11. #
    Nancy P.@thebittersideofsweet — March 22, 2013 @ 9:28 am

    I understand about the moving. We just moved in August still try to get a grasp of the community. I am sure it made it all easier with such a warm welcome!

  12. #
    sally @ sallys baking addiction — March 22, 2013 @ 9:45 am

    I’m looking forward to moving next month and attending a new parish! This sauce looks heavenly, Cassie. And you’re putting me in the mood to make Italian tonight. Friday nights call for comfort food, especially after a long week!

  13. #
    Meagan @ A Zesty Bite — March 22, 2013 @ 10:03 am

    I can see why you fell in love with this sauce. I would too!!

  14. #
    Cat Davis | Food Family & Finds — March 22, 2013 @ 11:10 am

    That looks delicious. Usually I prefer just a veggie marinara but my husband is such a meat man, he’d want this smothered over Rigatoni.

  15. #
    Kate @ Kate from Scratch — March 22, 2013 @ 11:14 am

    MY husband’s ABSOLUTE favorite. This photo is gorgeous!

  16. #
    Jackie @ Domestic FIts — March 22, 2013 @ 11:19 am

    I want to eat that out of the bowl too! Italian food was just made for sharing, that’s why there are no recipes for Lasagna For One 🙂

  17. #
    Laura (Tutti Dolci) — March 22, 2013 @ 11:56 am

    Please pass a spoon! This looks incredible, Cassie! Love that welcome basket idea too – so thoughtful!

  18. #
    Rachel @ Baked by Rachel — March 22, 2013 @ 12:08 pm

    It looks amazing! Oh how I wish I liked tomatoes some days 😉

  19. #
    Heather | Farmgirl Gourmet — March 22, 2013 @ 12:16 pm

    Hearty and delish. Get in my belly! Looks amazing Cassie.

  20. #
    Miss @ Miss in the Kitchen — March 22, 2013 @ 12:51 pm

    Great sauce! I love adding sausage and ground beef, so good.

  21. #
    Steve @ The Black Peppercorn — March 22, 2013 @ 1:23 pm

    I haven’t been over here in a while. So nice to come back and see what you are cooking up Cassie!! This looks amazing and actually quite similar to what I typically make. It is interesting how some are surprised that I add sugar and I find it essential to a good tomato based sauce.

  22. #
    Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious — March 22, 2013 @ 1:29 pm

    What an awesome community! And this meat sauce – yes please! There’s really nothing more comforting than a meat sauce over some spaghetti with some crusty bread!

  23. #
    Tara @ Unsophisticook — March 22, 2013 @ 2:08 pm

    Mmm, you know I love a good pasta sauce!

  24. #
    tanya — March 22, 2013 @ 2:28 pm

    Sounds like you have moved into a remarkable neighborhood! That is wonderful Cassie! I am always searching for new sauces for our pasta. We eat a lot of pasta in this house! I think this meat sauce will have to be added to the rotation!

  25. #
    Kathryn — March 22, 2013 @ 3:23 pm

    What a wonderful group of ladies you’ve met already – it sounds like this move is bringing you so many blessings.

  26. #
    Cookin Canuck — March 22, 2013 @ 3:39 pm

    It sounds as though you have met an amazing group of women. You are not only benefiting from a welcoming community, but their recipes as well (and we’re benefiting, too!). This looks wonderful!

  27. #
    Erin @ Texanerin Baking — March 22, 2013 @ 3:50 pm

    I’m so happy to hear that you’ve found yourself in such a welcoming community! 🙂

    And this sauce sounds amazing. I made a batch of Italian sausage seasoning and add that to my meat sauce. It makes it SO much more interesting! I still haven’t tried it with lasagna, though. That’s pretty genius. I’ll have to try it next time!

  28. #
    Julie @ Table for Two — March 22, 2013 @ 4:24 pm

    you definitely always have to have a delicious meat sauce in your arsenal! you have me craving pasta now 🙂 lovely that you have found a wonderful new group! cheers!

  29. #
    Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking — March 22, 2013 @ 5:05 pm

    So glad you feel so welcomed in your new home, that’s great Cassie! This sauce looks to-die-for… Your neighbors are lucky people! 🙂

  30. #
    Jennifer @ Mother Thyme — March 22, 2013 @ 10:02 pm

    I love pasta sauce. The best part, I always have fun trying new recipes. Looking forward to making this. It looks so hearty! I could eat this alone with a spoon. 🙂

  31. #
    Joanne — March 23, 2013 @ 6:59 am

    I’m so glad you’re being welcomed with open arms! This is truly the ultimate comfort food. 🙂

  32. #
    Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic — March 23, 2013 @ 10:38 am

    I love Italian sausage in meat sauce! This looks heavenly.

  33. #
    Liz — March 23, 2013 @ 12:48 pm

    New friends are wonderful…but new friends who are amazing cooks are the BEST!!!! What a magnificent sauce!!! So glad you got the recipe~

  34. #
    Liren — March 23, 2013 @ 2:17 pm

    I’m so glad you are settling in so nicely! My husband will love this sauce – to him, a good meat sauce has to be rich and meaty – this looks just right!

  35. #
    Tracey — March 23, 2013 @ 8:28 pm

    Shane *loves* Italian sausage and I so rarely make it, but I can definitely get behind using it in this meat sauce – looks amazing!! Hooray for being welcomed so warmly, that’s awesome 🙂

  36. #
    Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet — March 24, 2013 @ 10:28 am

    I love homemade pasta sauces and this looks amazing, Cassie! So glad you have a wonderful group of ladies in your new place.

  37. #
    Nikki @Seeded at the Table — March 24, 2013 @ 1:42 pm

    Church ladies and church food are the best! 🙂 I also use a homemade sauce on my noodles sometimes that originally came from a lasagna recipe. SO good! And, this looks just as delish!

  38. #
    Anna (Hidden Ponies) — March 25, 2013 @ 11:07 am

    Sounds like you’re settling in great! There is nothing like a good church community to buffer the effects of moving to a new city – we’ve had the same experience and it is wonderful. This sauce looks amazing, thanks to both of you for sharing the recipe!

  39. #
    Nutmeg Nanny — March 25, 2013 @ 8:48 pm

    These images are mouth watering. Hearty sauce is always welcome in our kitchen 🙂 especially with Italian sausage, yum!

  40. #
    Carla @ Carlas Confections — March 26, 2013 @ 4:21 pm

    I love that gift idea! And I really need to make this sauce too!

  41. #
    Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles — March 26, 2013 @ 10:13 pm

    I’m so glad you’re finding such a great community of friends. And new food, too!! I’m with you on the Italian sausage in the meat sauce, too – it truly makes so much difference in the flavor. Love!

  42. #
    sweet-lab — March 27, 2013 @ 10:18 pm

    I’m salivating as I look at your pictures. Next time I make italian sauce, it’ll for sure be this one!

  43. #
    Shaina — April 11, 2013 @ 10:49 pm

    What a gorgeous thick and hearty sauce. I’m so glad to hear the move and transition is going well.

  44. #
    Rebecka Shuffield — May 9, 2013 @ 12:13 am

    Gift shops are slowly fading away from the towns and cities because of the economic down turn and are migrating online because there is a far steadier influx of customers using this plain to get the gifts and presents they want for their needs. Though large trusted stores can offer some great deals thanks to mass production and hierarchy on the market, the shops online can give even greater give-aways as they are trying to pull in more consumers so do big deals to entice people to shop with them and for word of mouth about their bargains to filter out to the public. “

    Remember to check into our own blog


  1. Pingback: Wednesday Ramblings | March via Instagram -

Leave a Comment