The Ultimate Homemade Italian Meat Sauce Recipe (2023)


Searching for the perfect homemade Italian meat sauce that leaves your friends and family begging for the recipe? Look no further! Our Italian Meat Sauce is the epitome of richness and savory goodness, a culinary masterpiece that will elevate your pasta dishes to new heights.

A Treasured Recipe

Rooted in tradition, this recipe has been passed down through generations, originating from the Italian kitchens of our neighbors, Alex and Teresa, in San Francisco. It's a classic with a few personal tweaks that enhance the flavors while maintaining its authentic essence.

Ingredients for Culinary Perfection

To craft this exquisite sauce, gather the following:

  • Ground Beef: Opt for 85% lean for optimal flavor.
  • Sweet Italian Sausage: Choose bulk sausage for convenience.
  • Olive Oil: Extra virgin, preferably aromatic.
  • Onions: Sweet yellow onions, diced finely.
  • Garlic: Freshly minced or pressed.
  • Fresh Basil Leaves: Chiffonade-cut for herbal notes.
  • Dried Oregano: A touch of sweet and sour.
  • Red Wine: Enhances depth; Malbec, Merlot, or Sangiovese work well.
  • San Marzano Canned Whole Tomatoes: The magic ingredient.
  • Tomato Purée or Sauce: Adds body to the sauce.
  • Fine Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper: Essential for flavor balance.
  • Lemon (Optional): For a hint of brightness.

Crafting Culinary Excellence

1. Prepare Ingredients

  • Dice onions, mince garlic, and chiffonade-cut basil.
  • Roughly chop tomatoes and set aside the sauce.

2. Sear the Meat

  • Brown ground beef, breaking it up as it cooks.
  • Cook sweet Italian sausage, continuing to break it up. Set aside.

3. Sauté

  • If needed, add olive oil to the pot.
  • Cook onions until transparent, then add garlic, oregano, basil, salt, and pepper.

4. Deglaze with Wine

  • Increase heat, add red wine, and scrape the flavorful fond from the pot.

5. Add Tomatoes

  • Stir in chopped tomatoes, tomato sauce, and the browned meat.

6. Simmer

  • Bring to a boil, then simmer for two hours, stirring occasionally.
  • Taste and adjust with lemon juice and salt as needed.

7. Serve or Store

  • Enjoy immediately with your favorite pasta or store for future use.

Expert Tips for Perfection

  • Pasta Water Trick: Reserve pasta water to adjust sauce thickness.
  • Choose Hearty Pasta: Opt for rigatoni, penne, bucatini, or fettuccine.
  • Variations: Experiment with half beef and half pork, add fennel, mushrooms, or even rosemary for a unique touch.

Substitutions & Variations

  • Substitute ground pork for a half-and-half meat blend.
  • Add fennel, mushrooms, or fresh rosemary for unique flavors.
  • Create a vegetarian version with butter or go fully vegan with mushrooms and no butter.

Make-Ahead & Storage

This sauce gets better with time. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories: 326
  • Carbohydrates: 15g
  • Protein: 15g
  • Fat: 22g
  • Saturated Fat: 8g
  • Cholesterol: 56mg
  • Sodium: 937mg
  • Potassium: 780mg
  • Fiber: 4g
  • Sugar: 8g
  • Vitamins: A, C
  • Calcium: 98mg
  • Iron: 3.9mg


In conclusion, our Homemade Italian Meat Sauce is a culinary triumph that transcends the ordinary. Crafted with care and attention to detail, it's a recipe that stands the test of time, ensuring your meals are not just good but extraordinary. Elevate your pasta game with this rich and savory masterpiece!


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