Italian Meat Sauce Recipe

In this recipe, you’ll learn how to make a quick and easy Italian meat sauce that can be served over short or long pasta and is perfect for lunch or dinner.

This recipe calls for minimal ingredients keeping with my obsession for delivering “simple Italian recipes“.  (Make sure to sign up for my newsletter to get more recipes if you haven’t already!).

Instead of using canned diced or crushed tomatoes where you have to add water and let it cook down, I opted for a can of Italian sauce from Aldis which helped cut the time of marinating the tomatoes into a sauce down considerably.

If you have a pound of ground beef, a can of sauce, garlic and onion, plus a few Italian herbs, you are all set!

Why a Can of Italian Sauce?

I am quickly becoming a fan of using a can of Italian sauce rather than what I normally do which is using diced tomatoes or crushed tomatoes, adding water then cooking it down.  

The can of sauce already has the consistency I like and was a huge time saver as I mentioned above. I have a meatless recipe here that makes pasta sauce with cans of tomato sauce

Also, if you don’t have any Italian herbs to use, try using canned sauce with herbs already added.  However, I barely added any herbs to mine and it was still very flavorful.

Lots of Onions and Garlic

One of the things I did with this recipe was use 3 large onions.  Yeah, it’s a lot and not what I normally do for small batches of sauce, but in this case with the meat it blended well with the texture.

I also used a lot of garlic (I could have used even more for my personal taste) to enhance the flavor even more.

What Type of Pasta For a Meat Sauce?

Ah… the big question.  Believe it or not, the type of pasta you use really can make a difference.  In this case since we are using a heavier and meatier sauce, you don’t want a real delicate pasta like angel hair or capellini.

The first night, I made homemade fettuccine.  The second night I cooked up some packaged rotini which you can see in my picture in this post.

Enjoy and let me know how it turns out!

Italian Meat Sauce Recipe

A fast and easy Italian meat sauce with minimal ingredients and tons of flavor!
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Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 4 people


  • 3 onions chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves chopped
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 15 oz canned Italian tomato sauce
  • grated Italian cheese I prefer Romano
  • 1 lb pasta Short or long
  • 1 tsp dried parsley optional
  • 1 tsp dried basil optional
  • 1 tsp dried oregano optional


  • Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan
  • Add in the chopped onions and saute until translucent about 5 minutes over medium heat
  • Add in the chopped garlic and continue to saute for about 3 minutes or until you can start smelling the garlic aroma
  • Add in the ground beef and mix it with the onions and garlic and cook it until the meat is done.   Make sure to stir every so often so everything gets evenly cooked
  • When done, add in the can of Italian sauce and stir
  • Add in the herbs and stir
  • Bring to a boil then reduce to medium-low heat
  • Let simmer for 30-40 minutes or until ready
  • In a large/medium saucepan add water and bring to a boil 
  • When ready, add however much pasta you want and cook according to instructions
  • Serve and top with the grated Italian cheese


  1. Serve with a nice salad and some bread and fresh fruit if possible
  2. You can use as much or as little sauce as you want to make it go further.  For example, the first night we had this I had it like a chunky sauce, however the second night we used much less – just enough to coat the pasta plus some, and it was still very good.  So don’t be afraid it won’t be enough, and you can always double everything if you want for more. 
  3. This recipe easily serves four and is excellent for left overs!
  4. Although the herbs are optional, I used parsley and basil in mine.  My husband doesn’t like oregano in his sauce, so I don’t add it but many others do.   Use as little or as much as you want.  Just remember, you can always add more, but you can’t take it out once in!

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Italian Meat Sauce Recipe

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