Spaghetti with Meat Sauce – Authentic Italian Style


Authentic Italian Style Spaghetti Sauce simmered low and slow and packed with flavor!

In my opinion I think there are a few key steps in creating that authentic, thick, richly flavored, meaty sauce. I’ve learned a few things trying to imitate that amazingly delicious pasta sauce that I get at a few of my favorite Italian restaurants. One of them being, you need to cook the sauce low and slow, 5 hours minimum.

If you want great sauce you’re going to have to have a little patience. This is one of those made with love recipes =). I think Roma tomatoes are best. A few weeks ago I made a similar sauce, entirely from scratch. I’m talking fresh Roma tomatoes, boiled, peeled, seeded and crushed them. It took far too much time and effort only to realize the next time around canned Roma tomatoes were better. They don’t seem as acidic.

The flavors of the fresh basil and parsley in this recipe lend it fresh from the garden flavor. I didn’t want to use fresh herbs for the entire recipe (that would be pretty pricey if you don’t have an herb garden) so I chose fresh basil and parsley because they are my favorites in this recipe.

Be sure to brown the meat and veggies (brown, not burn), that browned flavor is an important part of the sauces rich, robust flavor. The carrot may seem like a random ingredient but I’ve heard that it adds a bit of sweetness to the sauce therefor you won’t have to add any sugar. It also lends a good color. I know I packed a lot of herbs into this recipe, but it will help you use up those spices sitting in your spice cupboard before they lose their freshness.

I hope you love these pasta sauce. I would highly recommend serving it up alongside a loaf of fresh Crusty Rustic Bread (it takes about 3 minutes to prepare the no knead dough) spread with whipped garlic butter, and possibly a simple side salad with a copycat recipe of Spaghetti Factory’s Pesto Salad Dressing.  I love Italian food! Enjoy!


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Spaghetti with Meat Sauce – Authentic Italian Style

5 from 3 votes

Incredibly delicious spaghetti sauce! Simmered low and slow and packed with rich tomatoey and meaty flavor.

Servings: 8
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 20 minutes


  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil , divided
  • 1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef (85% or 90%)
  • 1 medium carrot , finely grated (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion , finely diced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 4 cloves garlic , finely minced
  • 2 (28 oz) cans crushed Roma tomatoes (I recommend Contadina)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary , crushed
  • 3/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried marjoram
  • 1/2 tsp dried sage
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp salt , or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 - 1 cup chicken or beef broth , to thin sauce if desired
  • freshly , finely grated Romano and Parmesan cheese or Mizithra cheese for serving


  1. In a large non-stick sauce pot, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium high heat. Crumble ground beef into pot (approximately 1 inch pieces). Brown beef, stirring occasionally (I was always taught to stir constantly but this makes your beef gray, let it brown on bottom and only stir occasionally) and breaking up beef as you stir, until cooked through. Drain ground beef, reserving 1 Tbsp fat in pot. Place browned beef in a food processor and pulse until finely ground, about 10 - 15 seconds, set aside.
  2. Saute carrot and onion in reserved fat over medium high heat until golden, about 4 minutes, adding in garlic during the last minute of sauteing. Remove from heat (this will reduce splattering) and stir in 2 cans crushed Roma tomatoes, remaining 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, basil, parsley, rosemary, thyme, oregano, marjoram, sage, bay leaves, salt, pepper and browned beef. Return pot to low heat and simmer uncovered, 5 - 8 hours (yes minimum of 5 hours), stirring occasionally.
  3. Add broth to sauce to thin sauce if desired (at about 4 hours sauce will be pretty thick so if you want it any thinner just add broth to desired consistency. Also, once it reaches the thickness you want you can cover it with a lid to reduce further condensation). Remove bay leaves and serve sauce warm over pasta garnished with grated cheeses and additional chopped fresh parsley or basil if desired.
  4. Recipe Source: Cooking Classy
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Authentic Spaghetti Sauce
Author: Jaclyn


  • Martha: Sounds wonderful. One problem. I have no food processor. I am a nurse and food processing reminds me of a puréed or ground diet. . My mother had Alzheimer’s and for a long time to prevent aspiration pneumonia as she lost swallowing abilities….we had to ground food to a pulp.

    As long as I have natural teeth in my mouth and ability to appreciate chewing and different textures, I want to.

    I’m asking if anyone has made this without food processor for the meat. How vital is it? April 22, 2019 at 2:43am Reply

    • Jaclyn: You definitely can skip the food processor step if preferred :). April 22, 2019 at 8:56am Reply

  • Anita: Could I use fresh tomato instead? September 26, 2018 at 8:16am Reply

    • Jaclyn: That should work fine, I recommend peeling and seeding first. October 15, 2018 at 5:45pm Reply

  • Crystal Boles: The kids and hubby loved it over my PREGO usual!! August 18, 2018 at 8:28pm Reply

  • Ray Griffith: This looks like a killer recipe, I especially like the cook-time at 5= hours. I usually cook long enough for the Roma tomatoes to become stringy. The overnight in the fridge idea is a winner too. Thanks so much. July 17, 2018 at 2:48pm Reply

  • Debra: Insanely delicious! May 11, 2018 at 2:14pm Reply

  • Suzi: What do you think of adding a cup of red wine to the sauce? I usually do that, but wanted your take???? November 24, 2017 at 12:45pm Reply

  • Jon Yau: I just made this, and it was if credibly delicious! November 11, 2017 at 8:21pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: So glad you liked it Jon! November 13, 2017 at 2:17pm Reply

  • Jon: Can anybody confirm how close it tastes to spaghetti factory’s meat sauce? November 9, 2017 at 10:09am Reply

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