Quick and Simple Meat Sauce For Pasta

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This quick and simple tomato meat sauce for pasta is really satisfying. In the amount of time that it takes to bring water to a boil and cook a pot of pasta, you’ll have the meat sauce finished. The ground beef and caramelized vegetables – onion, carrots, celery and garlic give so much flavor to the tomato sauce.


  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 11 1/4 lb ground beef
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 46 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 23 Tablespoons tomato paste, optional
  • 2 Tablespoons dry herbs, such as Italian seasoning, granulated onion/garlic, dry parsley, basil, thyme, oregano, chives, paprika, etc.
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream (or half n half), optional
  • 12 Tablespoons fresh parsley, basil, chopped
  • 1/41/2 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 2 lbs pasta (spaghetti, fettuccine, rigatoni, fusilli, orecchiette, campanelle, penne, etc.)
  • salt, pepper (to taste)


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil to cook the pasta. 
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet or a dutch oven and add the ground beef. Season with salt and pepper. Cook on high heat for 3-5 minutes until the meat is browned. Set the meat aside. 
  3. Coarsely chop the onion, carrots and celery. Place them in a food processor and pulse several times until the vegetables are uniformly chopped into very small pieces. Press the garlic through a garlic press. (Or you can finely mince the onion and celery and grate the carrots on the small holes of a box grater.)
  4. Add the vegetables to the same skillet you used to cook the ground beef, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 8-10 minutes, until the vegetables are softened and starting to turn golden. (Add a little water to the skillet if the vegetables start to stick before cooking through all the way.)
  5. Add the crushed tomatoes and tomato paste, if using. Season once again with salt and pepper and dry herbs. Add the browned meat. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook, covered, for about 10-15 minutes. Add the cream, if using, and the fresh herbs. 
  6. Meanwhile,cook the pasta according to your liking. Drain the pasta, reserving about a cup of pasta water.
  7. Mix the sauce with the pasta and add some Parmesan cheese. Add some of the reserved pasta water, if you need to loosen it up a bit. You may want to use more or less pasta, depending on how much sauce you like with your pasta.
  8. Garnish the pasta with more of the Parmesan cheese.


This sauce is wonderful to serve over pasta, but you can also use it in so many other recipes, such as lasagna, ziti, stuffed shells and more.

Since this recipe makes a lot of sauce, feel free to halve the sauce. However, I recommend that you go ahead and make the full batch and freeze half of it to use later.

I usually serve half of the sauce with 1 lb of pasta.

Keywords: quick tomato meat sauce, meat sauce pasta, how to make a quick bolognese sauce