The Best Freakin Meat Sauce Outside of Italy

For those in the know meat sauce is a special kind of gravy. Like anything that tastes good in your yapper, you need to start with fresh ingredients (with one exception here .. more on that in a moment). Add to that, you need a TON of patience. It takes hours to achieve the perfect taste; low and slow as they say.

Unless you live in Italy or somewhere that grows amazing Roma tomatoes in season, you are going to want to avoid using fresh tomatoes (the one exception here). Roma’s were bred to be canned so they tend to taste better once they have been. Besides, if you live outside Italy or Mexico, your grocery store tomatoes are probably grown in sawdust. Don’t get caught up on branding, but try to avoid canned Roma’s with calcium chloride or salt and opt for a can that contains just tomato juice. This will make a better sauce, but hey, if you don’t have options do what you must but try to get whole tomatoes.


2 – lbs. meat (whatever you crave carnivore!) I like to mix beef and pork.

4 – slices bacon or pancetta (or 2 of each) diced

1 – large onion (any kind you like) – diced

1 – Bell pepper (any color)

3 – cloves garlic – sliced

2 – carrots – diced

2 – stalks celery – diced

1 – 28oz can of tomatoes (per my directions)

1/2 cup – chicken or beef stock

1/8 cup – olive oil

1/4 cup – red wine

1.5 tsp – oregano

1 tsp – thyme

1/2 tsp – fennel seed (ground or not .. your preference)

1/4 tsp – nutmeg

1 tsp salt

** I once had a tip from a very good chef to add 1 tsp fish sauce to any meat sauce to give it a meatier taste. It works amazingly. That said, it’s far from a traditional addition to sauce, but I suggest trying it at least once.


Add oil to a large heavy pot over low – low medium heat. Once the oil is ready, add your spices and salt and let them sizzle four about 30 – 45 sec. You don’t want the oil too hot here.

Add the bacon/pancetta and onion and turn the heat up to medium. Let the onion sauté until translucent. Approx. 5 – 10 min.

Add the remaining veggies and let them cook for another 10 min.

Add the meat and let it brown.

Add the wine, tomato juice and canned tomatoes. Let it come to a bubble.

Slap the lid on and turn the heat to low (like 2 or 3 on dial). Check on the sauce every 30 min for a good stir. And stir that shite good. That is the other secret to a good sauce .. it has been blended well. The more the tomatoes cook, the more they will break down when you stir.

Cook the sauce for a minimum of 90 min (more if you like). You should see the sauce has changed in it’s appearance and consistency. It will look rich when it’s done. Start tasting at the 90 min mark .. another secret to good sauce. Take a bit out (a tablespoon or two) let it cool for about 5 min and taste. If it tastes rich .. you’re ready, if any of the vegetables are still somewhat firm, keep cooking! Better yet, make it the night before and heat it up the next day.

Make sure you serve this stuff with noodles that can handle the job. Big thick noodles do best, leave the Angel Hair for lighter sauces. Fettuccini, tagliatelle, bucatini and good old spaghetti.

Buon appetito!

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