Allez, Cuisine! – Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

If you grew up in an Italian-American home, you are probably familiar with the ritual of the Sunday Sauce. Each week, hours spent preparing homemade meatballs and several other kinds of meat, careful spice additions and a long, slow simmer on the stove come together in a homey recipe that manages to feed your hordes of hungry relatives. Every grandmother has perfected her meat sauce over a lifetime of Sundays, and insists that it is an unparalleled masterpiece. They are usually right.

As our relatives would all-too-happily tell you, this recipe is not as traditional, skillful or meat-heavy. It is, however, a great meal for a college student to make on a Sunday, because it’s simple and quick to put together and can simmer quietly on the stove while you do your homework. It makes enough to be shared with friends (who will likely be more impressed than our grandmothers) or saved for leftovers. All in all, this dish is an easy and economical way to introduce some protein into your diet and a tasty nod to a classic childhood favorite.


1/2 lb spaghetti

2 28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes*

1/4 lb ground beef

6 Italian sausages (or any other kind, just not breakfast sausage)

1 onion

1 bell pepper (red or green, it’s up to you)

1-2 cloves of garlic

Olive oil

1 tbsp salt

A few grinds/shakes of black pepper

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp parsley

Parmesan cheese for topping

*Be sure to check the label and make sure there are no added spices.

Servings: 2-4


1.  Dice the onion and pepper.

2.  Mince the garlic (smash the clove flat with the side of your knife and then chop it up into tiny pieces).

3.  Add a few tablespoons of olive oil into a big pot and put it on the stove over medium heat.

4.  Add the garlic, onion and pepper. Saut?e until the onions are translucent.

5.  Then toss in the sausages and ground beef. Continue saut?eing until the ground beef is brown.

6.  Pour in the crushed tomatoes and stir. Add about 1 can’s worth of tap water too.

7.  Add the oregano, parsley, pepper flakes, salt and pepper. All of the spice amounts are approximate. Start with the directed measurements and taste it later to see if you think it needs more. Figuring out your preferences is one of the advantages to making sauce yourself.

8.  Optional: fish out the sausages and slice them into quarter inch-thick circles. 

9.  Cover the pot, put it on a back burner and set the heat to low. Let it simmer for at least two hours. Okay, you don’t have to let it go that long. It’ll just be way better if you do.

10.  When you’ve adjusted the spices and can let the sauce simmer no longer, cook your spaghetti and serve with parmesan cheese on top.

Bonus Points:

1.  A loaf of Italian bread (especially if you make it into garlic bread) would be lovely with this dish.

2.  There are also a number of vegetables that would go nicely. Saut?eed zucchini, asparagus or broccoli rabe are traditional options, but spinach (or even just a nice salad) would be great.