what’s cooking wednesday: spaghetti with meat sauce

Go ahead. Roll your eyes. Yawn like an anchovy .

Could it get any more boring than this week’s What’s Cooking Wednesday‘s spaghetti with meat sauce?

Not too long ago, I would’ve been rolling my eyes with you.

Far too many a college lunch was spent over a (paper) plate of pasta with meat sauce–and it was horrible. I mean really, really bad. It was so awful that I ended up asking for plain pasta, i.e., without what they called, I swear, “red sauce” which should’ve been a clue. I loaded up on grated cheese as a topping instead.

So in the opening stages of our relationship, when P suggested that we have spaghetti with meat sauce, I was, how you say, reluctant.

Luckily for my taste buds, I was still trying to be agreeable (girls, remember those days?), so I let him make it.


It was that day that I learned to trust P’s food judgment.

I’m now a huge fan, and although my favorite type of pasta to serve with this is tagliatelle, here I’ve done it with spaghetti.

Oh, and I’ve left the part about how to make the pasta because I know you’re all old pros by now and can handle the boiling water and salt routine.

Spaghetti with (Ground) Meat Sauce

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium sweet onion chopped finely
3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 fresh peperoncino, chopped
1 lb ground meat
1/4 cup red wine
28 oz. can peeled tomatoes, coarsely chopped or passed through grinder
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped finely
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a saucepan, add olive oil over medium heat. SautΓ© onions until translucent (3 to 5 minutes), then add peperoncino and garlic and sautΓ© until the garlic is just starting to turn light brown (about 2 minutes).

Add ground meat, stirring with a wooden spoon. When the meat is lightly browned with little to no pink remaining, add wine. Let wine cook off for about 3-5 minutes.

Lower the heat and add tomatoes. Add parsley and salt, and let cook on low to medium heat for about 35 minutes.

Serve with plenty of grated parmeggiano cheese and more fresh peperoncino if you like it spicy like I do.

A clever reader might have realized that this is extremely similar to the sauce I use in Calabrian stuffed lasagne. Indeed, the only major difference between the two is that I prefer fresh peperoncino (the more the better!) in this sauce–I absolutely love the flavor it adds to the sauce.


A lot.

I usually don’t use it in the lasagne sauce because it gets lost in all the other tasty ingredients anyway.

A final note: be aware that for the most part, the smaller the pepper, the more it’ll open your sinuses, so choose accordingly.

Buon appetito!


[tags]what’s cooking wednesday, spaghetti with meat sauce, pasta, recipes, cooking, ground meat[/tags]

24 Beans of Wisdom to “what’s cooking wednesday: spaghetti with meat sauce”
  1. david santos

    It places fhoto of Madeleine in your bloggue

    Missing Madeleine!
    Madeleine, MeCann was abduted from Praia da Luz, Portugal on 03/03/07.

    If you have any information about her whereabouts, please contact Crimestoppers on 0800555111 Please Help

  2. KC

    That looks delicious, not boring at all. But then, I love eating honest, unpretentious food. I’ve never been very good at tomato sauces, and I think this recipe is just what I need to get me moving in the right direction. Thanks for posting it!

  3. Poppy Fields

    Mmmm, that sounds good. I am sure the college “red’ sauce we used to eat did not have good things like wine, garlic and pepper in it, resulting in very bland taste.

  4. Shelby

    looks spectacularly d e l i c i o u s πŸ™‚

  5. Lisa Milton

    Looks heavenly. I don’t have much practice making my own sauce, so we will give this a whirl.

    (BTW, thanks for adding me to your BlogLog – mine’s acting funny and I am having a hard time responding. Oh well. Have a great day.)

  6. Sharon

    Do you sneeze when using those small peppers? I think you like to cook and that makes you a good one.

  7. Sharon

    i now have a face…………

  8. stefanie

    Yum. I have never bothered with attempting to make sauce myself, but I do at least have the boiling water part of that recipe down. πŸ˜‰

  9. nyc/caribbean ragazza

    yum…I love a good basic sauce.

  10. -R-

    It is unfair to make me this hungry at 9 am.

  11. goodthomas

    I have been reading but not commenting as of late. I am not sure why. I think it has to do with my own energy level (and NOT the content of your posts)!! I’m sorry.

    Will you please let people know that you won a prize over at Moon Topple’s Great Big Awesome (short) Fiction Contest? Your story was amazing!! Some really wonderful, clever, intriguing writing. It was tops on my list. Please share this. You deserve it.

  12. Jane

    Oh, this looks so good!! I can’t wait to try this one :))

  13. reslifedan

    I see that you won a short fiction award! Congratulazioni! Pozzo fatto!

    I was not aware of the Moon Topples site, so thanks for introducing that to me, too.

    I enjoy your blog a great deal, and was glad to read your fiction as well. Keep up the great work!

  14. Sara

    Hey, I never yawn at spaghetti with meat sauce! I have been known to use anchovies in it, though.

    You must never show disdain for the sauce. Never. When you do, it turns on you, like that time I put so much wine in it that it was inedible.

    I once drank too much wine while cooking spaghetti sauce, and so I couldn’t taste when I crossed the line. I inherited my non-Italian grandmother Hilda Sonnenschein’s recipe from my father (much like yours only no wine in her sauce (nor in mine anymore), no onions, no peperoncino, no straining of the canned tomatoes (’cause lumps are good, too), added tomato paste, and a good three hours’ simmer time; otherwise exactly the same, right? small world, right?), and she cooked by taste not measurement. By drinking while tasting, I showed disdain for the sauce and was duly punished.

    Sadly, so were all our guests that evening.

  15. Britt-Arnhild

    Mmmmm. I’ll try this. And I can’t wait to go back to Italy in July. Italian food is the best πŸ™‚

  16. Louise

    mmmmmmm that looks yummy!!I am going to have to try that one out, I have boring spaghetti we need a change!!! LOL

  17. Scribbit

    I’ve never met a pasta dish I didn’t like. Ever.

  18. Expat Traveler

    that looks incredible. thanks for stopping by!

  19. sognatrice

    I’m happy that so many of you even care about this sauce! Seriously, it’s about as easy as you can get and tasty too πŸ™‚

    KC, I’m the same with honest food. I don’t mind eating “complicated” food, but I’m not going to be making it very often.

    Poppy, you are very correct. I wouldn’t be surprised if the “red” even came from food coloring and not tomatoes πŸ˜‰

    Shelby, thanks!

    Lisa, my MyBlogLog acts funny sometimes too–no worries!

    Sharon, yes, a face! Woohoo! I don’t sneeze with the peppers, but sometimes my lips get swollen if I eat too many πŸ˜‰

    Stefanie, baby steps! And I’ve seen your recent exploits in the kitchen–you’re on your way πŸ™‚

    NYC, me too. Easy and delicious.

    R, yeah, well you always make me want new shoes.

    goodthomas, no apologies necessary, and now I’ve added info about the contest–thanks πŸ™‚

    Jane, I hope you like it!

    Reslifedan, thanks and I’m glad you’re enjoying it around here; The Moon Topples is a fabulous site–everyone go there!

    Sara, too funny! Yes, I’ve been known to add/drink too much wine as well. All in moderation! Actually this isn’t my “basic” sauce, which actually is more of the 5 hour variety…that’s my grandmother’s recipe and actually isn’t made very often around here. We’re on the 60 minute (max) meals plan πŸ˜‰

    Britt-Arnhild, I’m partial to Italian food myself πŸ˜‰

    Louise, this is a nice little twist, I think, without getting too crazy and complicated. Hope you enjoy!

    Scribbit, me neither come to think of it….

    Expat Traveler, thank *you* for stopping by πŸ™‚

  20. Kataroma

    I made your recipe last night. It was booono!

  21. sognatrice

    Kataroma, happy to hear it! Thanks so much for coming back and letting me know πŸ™‚

  22. IRENE

    When I first cooked that recipe for my now husband, he invited over as many relatives as he could find on the phone. The only thing I do differently is that I put a couple of sticks cinnamon and a few cloves. The absolute comfort food, I say! Thank you for the feast, sognatrice!

  23. KC

    And I made it yesterday! I’m about to eat it again today. I love it, thanks so much for the recipe!

  24. sognatrice

    Irene, cinnamon, interesting! My OH probably wouldn’t go for it, but I’d love to try it!

    KC, another satisfied customer! Woohoo! Thanks for letting me know πŸ™‚

Michelle KaminskyMichelle Kaminsky is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer who lived in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy for 15 years. This blog is now archived. 

Calabria Guidebook

Calabria travel guide by Michelle Fabio



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