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The Best Meaty Spaghetti Sauce

Gone are the days of mixing up some cooked ground beef and tomato sauce for an easy spaghetti dinner. Trust me when I tell you that adding Italian sausage to the mix is just sooo much better…and then adding chopped pancetta on top of that makes the BEST meaty spaghetti sauce recipe you’ve ever tasted! You will never go back to a plain ground beef sauce again after trying this easy combo.

My eyes were first opened to the addition of pancetta (we’d already discovered the beauty of adding sausage) thanks to the dinners my daughters have been making for their allowance. (More on that here.) My younger daughter picked a rigatoni recipe that we adapted (with a completely different mix of spices and some other changes) to make it our own. The outcome is simply delicious and a great one to double while you’re at it for easy, tasty leftovers!

The BEST Meaty Spaghetti Sauce on 100 Days of Real Food

Course: Dinner

Cuisine: Italian

Dietary Restriction: Dairy Free, Egg Free, Peanut/Tree-Nut Free

Servings (Adjust to suit): 4

Adapted from Rachael Ray Magazine



  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 ounces pancettachopped. I like to buy it already chopped - much easier!
  • 1/2 oniondiced
  • 4 cloves garlicminced
  • 1 link mild Italian sausagecasing removed
  • 1 link hot Italian sausagecasing removed
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • saltto taste
  • red pepper flakesto taste
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 15-oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup stockchicken, beef, or veggie

For Serving

  • zucchinisauteed
  • whole-wheat rigatonicooked (or other noodle of your choice)
  • Parmesan cheeseshredded


  1. Add the olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the pancetta, while stirring, until it begins to brown, 2 to 3 minutes.

  2. Add the onion to the pan and cook, while stirring, until it begins to soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for only another 30 to 60 seconds so it doesn't burn.

  3. Add the sausage, beef, Italian seasoning, salt, and red pepper flakes to the pan and cook while breaking up with a spatula until the meat is cooked all the way through (no longer pink), 4 to 5 minutes. Drain off some of the excess fat, if desired. 

  4. Add the red wine and cook until almost all the way absorbed, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and stock and simmer to allow the sauce to thicken and the flavors to come together, 10 to 15 minutes

  5. Serve warm over noodles and top with sautéed zucchini and shredded parmesan (if desired).


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