grannie geek, meat sauceSimple Italian Meat Sauce cooks up quickly for a pasta dinner or to save as the base for a nice pan of lasagna.  This sauce uses butter and a little milk, so it’s sort of like a bolognese, but only takes 45-60 minutes.

I like the fact that it includes shredded sweet carrots to offset the acid in the tomatoes.  This sauce will find a home paired with any substantial pasta noodle:  spaghetti, rigatoni, penne or mostaccioli, sure to become a family favorite.

Simple Italian Meat Sauce
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Quick and full-flavored, this Italian meat sauce is sure to become a family favorite.
Recipe type: Meat Sauce
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 carrot, grated (about ½ cup
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper (optional)
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 28-oz can pureed or crushed Italian tomatoes
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. Over medium heat, melt the butter and olive oil in a 5-quart dutch oven or other large saucepan.
  2. Add the carrot, onion, and garlic. Stir and saute until the onion becomes transparent, 5 minutes or so. Add a pinch of crushed red pepper.
  3. Add the ground beef, and continue to cook until the beef is cooked through and there is no longer any pink color to the meat, 5-10 minutes.
  4. Add the tomatoes, milk, bay leaf, basil, thyme and nutmeg, and pinches of salt and pepper.
  5. Simmer for 20 minutes. Check the seasoning and add more salt and pepper, if needed.
  6. Cook pasta noodles according to package directions and serve.
Serve on individual plates or bowls, or on a platter topped with meat sauce for serving family style. Have plenty of grated Parmesan or Romano cheese on hand, crunchy Italian bread, and crisp salad dressed with a light vinaigrette.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 4


grannie geek, tomato divider