Stir up a pot of this quick meat sauce that is perfect on pasta or spaghetti squash. Quick to prepare and freezer-friendly, it’s a great addition to your meal rotation.
Pasta is a regular go-to meal at our house, particularly when all other meal plans fly out the window. I almost always have a couple of bags of pasta, a can of some kind of tomato product, some onion or other vegetables, and maybe some fresh basil.
A quick meat sauce pulls together on the stove in about 30 minutes. Served over hot penne or spaghetti alongside some bread and salad, it makes a great, fast meal to feed my small horde of children.
This sauce reminds me of one that my friend Elly made in college based on the recipe her mom made. Mrs. Shinohara was a great cook. I don’t have her recipe any longer, but this is my recreation of it. If you have time, you can allow the sauce to simmer longer to meld the flavors more. But, in a pinch, it works as a fabulous 30-minute meal.
Homemade meat sauce ingredients
- Olive Oil – This oil gives great flavor, but you could swap it out for another oil, such as vegetable or canola if you need to.
- Mushrooms – Adding mushrooms helps to give this a meatier texture.
- Ground Turkey – You could also swap this out and use another ground meat, such as beef or pork.
- Tomato paste – This will help to thicken the sauce
- Tomato Sauce
- Jamie’s Spice Mix – Or another seasoning blend, such as Italian seasoning would work great here
How to make this meat sauce for pasta
Other variations for this meat sauce
- Try adding peppers – When sauteing the veggies, try adding a few chopped peppers as well.
- Add a little garlic – When adding the veggies add a little fresh garlic for some extra flavor.
- Spice it up! – Try adding a few red chile flakes for a little heat.
Can I freeze this meat sauce for later?
Feel free to quadruple this recipe and stash the extras in the freezer. That will make you three quicker dinners to enjoy later. This batch will feed four adults generously. I cheated and stretched it over two pounds of pasta to feed eight, but I wished I’d had more. I don’t normally prefer red sauce, but this one made me want to keep eating it.
I used Trader Joe’s ground turkey (it doesn’t have anything weird added to it), but you could use ground beef, pork, or chicken if you have that. You’ll need some Jamie’s Spice Mix. If you don’t have that on hand, you could use Italian Seasoning or another favorite Italian style blend.
How to make this good and cheap:
Here are some of the strategies you can use to make this recipe more economical:
- Stock up on ingredients when they are on sale. The main ingredients here are beef, mushrooms, and onions. Watch the sales and snatch up those items when the prices are low.
- Cook in bulk. When you cook in bulk, you are maximizing your time investment as well as the energy you use to heat the oven. It doesn’t take that much longer to make a double batch and then freeze half.
How I make this recipe easy:
This recipe really couldn’t be easier than it is, but having the right kitchen tools can really make your time in the kitchen more enjoyable. Over time, I’ve honed my collection so that they are perfect for my needs.
Here are the tools that I use for this recipe:
- plastic cutting boards – I have blue boards for veggies and white boards for meat.
- Ergo Chef chef’s knife – I’ve had my set for several years and they work well.
- nonstick skillet with lid
Quick Meat Sauce for Pasta
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup mushrooms (sliced)
- 1/2 onion chopped
- 2 rib celery chopped
- 1 lb ground turkey beef, pork, or chicken can be used
- 15 oz tomato sauce
- 1/4 cup fresh basil (chopped)
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp Jamie's Spice Mix or other favorite seasoning blend
- In a medium sauce pot, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the mushrooms, onion, and celery, and cook until the onions go clear and the vegetables are tender, about 7 minutes.
- Add the turkey and brown it, breaking it up with the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the tomato sauce, basil, tomato paste, spice mix, and enough water to achieve the consistency you prefer. Simmer for 10 minutes.
- Serve over hot pasta or spaghetti squash.