We eat a lot of pasta at our house, and I’ve opened a lot of jars of Prego—more than I’d like to admit. I’m not throwing shade on canned sauces; they’re definitely quick and easy in a pinch and some of them are pretty tasty. But lately I’ve been rediscovering how easy it is to make a hearty tomato and meat sauce (pretty much) from scratch.
There’s no special secret—this is one of my classic “dump and taste” recipes. Use the following ingredients as a guide, then add or subtract whatever you’d like based on your family’s unique tastes. From start to finish, I’d say this sauce takes maybe 20 minutes. Not bad for a busy night!
Sara’s Easy Meat Sauce for Pasta
1 lb ground beef (or Italian sausage, whichever you like best)
½ large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can diced tomatoes
1 large can tomato sauce (not pasta sauce, just regular tomato sauce)
½ can tomato paste (or more, if you like)
Basil, oregano and other seasonings, to taste (Can be fresh or dried)
Sugar, to taste
- In a sauce pot, cook beef or sausage with onions until meat is brown and onions are softened.
- Drain fat from meat and return to pot.
- Add garlic.
- Dump in diced tomatoes and tomato sauce.
- Add tomato paste to thicken sauce to your liking.
- Add basil, oregano and other seasonings to taste.
- Add sugar, a bit at a time, to lend sweetness if you feel the sauce is too tart
- For a bit of extra flavor, add a squirt of ketchup (shh… don’t tell anyone!)
- Simmer as long as needed, while you boil spaghetti.
- Serve with fresh veggies and some crusty bread.