Meaty Pasta Sauce


One of the most budget friendly and satisfying meals that I make is a pasta sauce. Now when I say ‘sauce’, take that term lightly. This recipe is so thick and meaty that it puts the average pot of chili to shame. It holds so well to your spaghetti or penne noodles that only a fork is required!

My only word of caution is to please, please, PLEASE use fresh rosemary for this recipe. The other herbs can be dried, but do not skimp on the fresh rosemary. This should not break the budget as I use 3/4 of the clamshell from Walmart for $0.97.  You can also do all beef, if that is your preference but I love the flavor mixture of pork & beef. Plus, having one third of the meat as ground pork helps the grocery bill.


Meaty Pasta Sauce


  • 1 lb Ground Beef
  • 0.5 lb Ground Pork
  • 1 small can diced tomatoes (plain, salt added)
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 3 carrots, finely diced
  • 3 celery stalks, finely diced
  • 4 cloves of fresh garlic, smashed
  • 1 1/4 cup red wine of choice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • Half tin tomato paste
  • Salt & pepper, to taste


  • Brown ground pork and ground beef with nutmeg in dutch oven. Drain. Set aside in a new bowl.
  • In same dutch oven (don’t clean it out!), heat olive oil. Add chopped onion, carrots and celery. Add enough salt to allow the veggies to sweat. Once veggies start to soften, add garlic.
  • Once onions are translucent, add can of tomatoes (with juices), dried herbs, cup or so of water and wine. Simmer covered on stovetop for 1.5 hours, adding sprigs of fresh rosemary half way through simmer time.
  • Once sauce is nearly completely reduced, add browned ground beef and pork. Mix in tomato paste and cook for 5 minutes. Reduce temperature to low and let combine for at least a half hour, stirring now-and-then.
  • Spoon pasta sauce over spaghetti noodles and serve with a generous amount of parmesan. And wine. Please do not forget the vino!
    Serves 6


  1. Nice to have found your blog (as a fellow mbr of the MB Food Bloggers!) This looks like a great recipe as I love all of the ingredients. Especially the red wine. 🙂

    • Thanks Doreen! Please let me know how it works out for you! Don’t underestimate the value of cooking it low and slow! You don’t have to keep it on the stove top (before the meat is added) either. Get it to a boil, then in the oven at 350 to simmer until the liquids are reduced. It does amazing things 🙂

  2. jasonsandeman

    Our Walmart sells the Italian Trinity… Beef, Veal, and pork. If you get a chance, make your sauce with that, and you won’t be disappointed!

  3. Love that you added red wine to this sauce…like a play on a delicious bolognese! Yum!

  4. yum! This would be perfect in a lasagna too!

  5. I’m going to second Taylor’s comment above — hooray for the red wine! That plus rosemary and you’ve got a real winner here. It’s nice to see someone demonstrate just how easy (and cheap!) a good pasta/meat sauce can be. Nice job.

  6. A meaty sauce has got to be one of my favorite ways to coat pasta! In fact, I just had exactly that for dinner tonight. I’m always looking out for ideas to tweak my own recipe, and I love that you are using fresh rosemary in your sauce. I will think of adding that flavorful herb to my next batch!

  7. Have to agree here, dried rosemary just doesn’t taste the same. Rosemary plants are also hearty enough to grow through much of the fall and winter and are quite cheap to buy in the summer.

    • PeppersPennies

      What a great point about the rosemary plant! Are they easy to maintain? I fear I kill all plants – even bamboo!

  8. Is 2 tbsp of nutmeg correct? That sounds like a lot.

    • PeppersPennies

      It is correct. It is a lot but it gives the meat a deep flavouring! If you are nervous start with half for the first time!

  9. I can’t stand the taste of any type of wine, whether it’s for drinking or cooking. Can I replace it with a beef or chicken broth/stock?

    • PeppersPennies

      Hi Donna, The wine flavour is pretty heavy in this recipe. I would use water and a bit more tomato paste to give it the full bodied flavour that one would expect with a pasta sauce!

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