This tomato meat sauce is a homemade beef minced meat cooked low and slow in tomato sauce. It can be cooked in twenty to thirty minutes but to get the rich thick meat sauce 'gravy' you have to give it time. Patience is key to get the same results. Make it once and never go back to any jar, store-bought meat sauce again because it's simply the best! And, your kitchen will have all the rich Italian aromas of tomatoes, red wine, garlic and a little symphony in the air for anosmic cooks 🙂
Tomato Meat Sauce
This is something I have been cooking from as far back as I can remember. Memories of my daughters saying their friends were coming to our house for the lasagna as well as "just your food in general mom" so I feel blessed that I can finally blog about something I've been connected to my entire life. Yes, food 🙂 Weekends for us to this day are all about a simmering pot of sauce on the stove whether or not we will be using it that day. It's always on.
This tomato meat sauce sauce has so much flavor from a few ingredients it wont just look good it will taste it too!
What's the secret to a good tomato sauce?
When you think it's ready, give it that little extra time to continue cooking. It will give you even more flavor from all the tomatoes, tomato paste, passata, herbs, spices and red wine. If it's too thick, add a about a quarter cup of water at a time, but then remember you will have to give it even more time on the stove and oh... it's so worth it!
The best part of this sauce is that it's extremely versatile (serve with cooked spaghetti) and it can be used with a number of other dishes, stores well in the refrigerator and freezer. Another convenient recipe that although takes time, but the actual 'hands on time' is minium.
Tomato Meat Sauce Ingredients
Here is what you will need in terms of ingredients, and you can find the full recipe card below.
Ground beef - I always go with lean ground beef.
Onion - Brown onion is what we use in this recipe.
Garlic - Lot's of garlic but feel free to use less.
Bell peppers - Preferably snack peppers they're smaller and tastier than the big ones.
Canned chopped tomato - Any canned tomatoes and you don't have to blend or add them into a food processor. This recipe cooks the tomatoes over quite a long time so it breaks them down. In between that, you can use a masher/spoon to gently break them up as they cook.
Red wine - A red wine that you know you can drink because it tastes good.
Tomato paste - Packed with concentrated flavor, don't leave it out.
Passata (passata di pomodoro) - It's tomato sauce in a jar that's pureed.
Olive oil - vegetable oil or some kind of fat.
Fresh parsley - for garnish.
Salt and pepper - always season as you go.
Don't scrutinize the different colors of these photos, it's simply taken on different days where things like lighting and angles comes into effect. It's still the same recipe :)!
How To Make Tomato Meat Sauce
Beef -Cook the beef until it's more brown than pink, about 5 minutes, stir in-between. There's no need to cook it for too long, trust me it will cook even more later.
Add the veggies - Onion, snack bell peppers and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the onion is soft. Stir in the garlic, tomato paste, Smell and Taste spices, salt and pepper, and red wine. Cook for an additional 5 minutes allowing the red wine to cook down.
Add the tomatoes - Add the crushed tomatoes, the passata and stir. When it reaches a boil, reduce the heat to a medium-low and cover the meat sauce. Let it simmer for 2 hours until the sauce thickens however, as it thickens keep adding either water, stock (beef or chicken is fine), or pasta water if you have.
Why do you have add a little water in-between? Because as thickens, the sauce is reduced, by adding a liquid (not a lot), you take it half way back in the process and it re-thickens again and this is how you get it thick, rich with flavors and delicious!
Once you are happy with the how thick and delicious your tomato meat sauce is, you can leave it cool and store it away or serve in any way you want.
Garnish - Last but not to be forgotten, garnish with parmesan cheese, fresh Italian parsley and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and serve.
Tomato Meat Sauce Veggie Options
Here are some options incase you want to add other vegetables
- Fresh herbs
- Dry herbs
What leftovers? Only kidding, yes just wait for it to have cooled down completely and store in an airtight container. It lasts a good 3 days in the fridge and you can also reheat either on the stove or in the microwave. If you need to get it sauce again, add a dash of water or stock and stir.
Suggestions and Tips
- Don't throw the cans away when you add the canned tomato, instead get some water into them (I like kettle hot water not cold) about a ¼ to a half water in each can.
- When adding the water there's no need to pour it all in one go, rather add it dash at a time because you don't want a watery sauce you want it thick and full of flavor not water.
- This sauce must be cooked on low so if your medium is a bit high then lower the heat because the idea here is slow and low this is a no rush sauce.
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Tomato Meat Sauce Recipe
- 500 grams beef mince
- 2 tbsps olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4-5 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 bell peppers, snack size or 1 medium regular size, chopped into fine pieces
- garlic and herb
- 1 teaspoon salt & black pepper (or 1 teaspoon salt & ¼ teaspoon pepper)
- 2 cans chopped tomato
- 3 tbsps tomato paste
- 1 cup passata
- ½ cup red wine
- fresh flat Italian parsley or basil for garnish
- 2 tbsps fresh parsley chopped
- 1 teaspoon pasta spice
- parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- Start here: Heat the oil in a large skillet/pan.2 tbsps olive oil
- Brown the meat: Cook the ground beef until no loger pink (more brown than pink). Move it to one side of the pan and add the onion and cook till soft. Add the garlic, snack bell peppers and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes.500 grams beef mince, 1 onion, chopped, 4-5 garlic cloves, minced, 3 bell peppers, snack size or 1 medium regular size, chopped into fine pieces
- Season:. Add the salt and pepper, garlic & herb seasoning, tomato paste and wine. Cook for 5 minutes.garlic and herb, 1 teaspoon salt & black pepper (or 1 teaspoon salt & ¼ teaspoon pepper), 3 tbsps tomato paste
- Tomato & water: Add the chopped tomato and add water into the can or bowl that the tomato was in, give it a swirl and toss it into the meat sauce. The water will be roughly ½ cup of water.2 cans chopped tomato
- Cook the sauce: Taste for seasoning, add if needed, cover the pan or pot and cook for two to two and half hours on low heat. In between the cooking time, roughly half way through after it's been slow cooking, add the passata and red wine. Continue cooking: Keep stirring the sauce occasionally and if the simmer is too low then increase to low to medium heat but not high, the sauce should be on a low simmer. If you find the sauce is too thick while occasionally stirring, add a little water to thin it out and leave it to continue simmering to a thick sauce.1 cup passata, ½ cup red wine
- Serve: When your preferred tomato meat sauce thickness is reached, remove from the heat and serve with pasta or properly cool to refrigerate.
- Garnish and serve: Serve over pasta with a sprinkle of pasta spice, parsley, Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of extra virgin oil.fresh flat Italian parsley or basil for garnish, 2 tbsps fresh parsley chopped, 1 teaspoon pasta spice, parmesan cheese, freshly grated