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A full-flavored weeknight meat pasta sauce, pasta noodles in a quick and hearty tomato meat sauce. Whip this up in 30 minutes!
This simple meaty pasta sauce has a really savory depth of flavor that you would SWEAR cooked for hours on the stove.
I love those old-school sauces! I was lucky to have an Italian grandma who slow-cooked the sauce for Sunday pasta until it was the color of deep and dark, like the color of oxblood leather.
The meat in the pot – usually a hunk of beef round, pork shoulder and sausages, fell into tender pieces on a fork.
Eating that sauce with endless bowls of macaroni was fantastic, not to mention deeply satisfying.
But, to be honest, I know it’s impossible to duplicate Mama’s cooking, or the memories formed around it.
Instead, cooking for my family often means a quick, everyday pasta sauce does the job very well. It never fails to get everyone excited to sit at the table together for dinner!
An quick and easy weeknight Bolognese sauce
This sauce is lighter, quicker and leaner than your typical Bolognese sauce.
Although it’s not an old-school “gravy” simmered for hours with large hunks of fatty meat cuts, the flavor is still amazing.
I use ground turkey thigh or pork meat seasoned with garlic, fennel seed and black pepper.
The sauce turns out incredibly delicious, even after just 30 minutes of simmering.
Lasagna noodles for pasta
Of course, this sauce would be perfect to accompany any pasta shape you like.
I love wavy lasagna noodles or curly pasta shapes — they are really perfect because the ridges and curls grab onto the chunky bits in the sauce.
Plus, it’s kind of fun breaking the noodles into pieces!
We might not always have the time to cook like our grandmothers did, but I’ll gladly trade that time spent in the kitchen with a relaxed meal around the table, any night of the week.
Pasta with Quick Meat Sauce
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 ½ pounds ground turkey thigh, or ground pork
- 3 tablespoons dry red wine
- ½ teaspoon fennel seed
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 14-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- ½ – 1 teaspoon crushed red chili pepper, to taste
- ¼ cup chopped Italian parsley
- 1 pound dried curly lasagna noodles, or your favorite pasta shape
- Freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
- Put the oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven and place over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, stirring frequently so it doesn’t brown. Once the onion is soft, stir in the garlic and meat.
- Cook until the meat is no longer pink, stirring and breaking it ups with a wooden spoon. Stir in the wine and let it cook for a minute. Stir in 2 teaspoons salt, black pepper, fennel and chili, tomatoes and tomato paste. Lower the heat to a simmer and partially cover the pan. Cook for 20-25 minutes. Add the parsley and taste the sauce for seasoning (I usually find it needs a little more salt).
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot (5 -6-quarts) to a boil. Add three tablespoons salt. Break the lasagna noodles into rough pieces about 2 inches long.
- Cook the pasta until al dente. Drain well and add to a large serving bowl with the sauce. Serve with cheese sprinkled over the top.
Hey, I’m Karen
Creator of Familystyle Food
I’m a food obsessed super-taster and professionally trained cook ALL about making cooking fun and doable, with easy to follow tested recipes and incredibly tasty food! Read more about me here.