The Best Meaty Spaghetti Sauce

Gone are the days of mixing up some cooked ground beef and tomato sauce for an easy spaghetti dinner. Because let me 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

The BEST Meaty Spaghetti Sauce on 100 Days of Real Food

The Best Meaty Spaghetti Sauce

Adapted from Rachael Ray Magazine
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr 45 mins
Total Time: 2 hrs
Print Recipe
Servings: 4 people


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 ounces pancetta chopped. I like to buy it already chopped - much easier!
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 link mild Italian sausage casing removed
  • 1 link hot Italian sausage casing removed
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • salt to taste
  • crushed red pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 15-oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup stock chicken, beef, or veggie

For Serving

  • zucchini sauteed
  • whole-wheat rigatoni cooked (or other noodle of your choice)
  • Parmesan cheese shredded


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


We recommend organic ingredients when feasible.
Nutrition Facts
Nutrition Facts
The Best Meaty Spaghetti Sauce
Amount Per Serving
Calories 860 Calories from Fat 279
% Daily Value*
Fat 31g48%
Saturated Fat 9g56%
Cholesterol 59mg20%
Sodium 2633mg114%
Potassium 5106mg146%
Carbohydrates 125g42%
Fiber 32g133%
Sugar 74g82%
Protein 41g82%
Vitamin A 3670IU73%
Vitamin C 153.2mg186%
Calcium 590mg59%
Iron 23.1mg128%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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8 thoughts on “The Best Meaty Spaghetti Sauce”

    1. Try your local farmers market. Mine has the advantage of being pastured and humanely raised pork. Or simply make your own Italian sausage, by mixing spices into ground pork. We prefer the americas test kitchen meatball recipe, which is two parts pork and one part beef, plus parsley, roasted garlic and other Italian seasonings. I make tripple batches and freeze them for quick weeknight meals.

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