Classic Spaghetti and Meat Sauce

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Dinner, Main Course Italian/American
By Kelly Djalali Serves: 2-4
Prep Time: 10 Minutes Cooking Time: 45 Minutes Total Time: ~45 Minutes

With a few simple techniques, a weeknight regular on the dinner rotation from childhood is rediscovered and made special again!


  • 1 lb. Ground Beef
  • 1 tbsp. Water
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 2 tsp. Kosher Salt
  • 1 Medium Onion, diced
  • 4-5 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 3 tbsp. Tomato Paste
  • 8 oz. Mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup Beef Broth
  • 1 28-oz. Can Crushed Tomatoes
  • Black Pepper
  • Spaghetti
  • 3 qts. Water
  • 1.5-2 tbsp. Diamond Kosher Salt. (1 tablespoon if you're using Morton Kosher Salt or table salt)
  • 12-16 oz. Dried Spaghetti
  • Garnish
  • Freshly Grated Parmesan
  • Finely Chopped Parsley


Meat Sauce


Lightly break up the ground beef in a bowl and toss the ground beef in the baking soda slurry until it's mixed into the beef, add a pinch of kosher salt to the beef, give it another light mix and set aside.


Over medium heat, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a high-sided pan, like a braiser, or use a pot. Add the ground beef mixture to the pan and cook the beef, breaking it up as it cooks. Once it's browned, add the diced onion and cook, stirring occasionally until the onion is softened. Then add the minced garlic. Stir in the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, then add the 3 tablespoons of tomato paste.


Stir the tomato paste into the beef and onions, cooking the tomato paste until it turns a darker red color. Then stir in the mushrooms. Stir to fully combine and cook for about 2 minutes. The mushrooms will begin to release moisture and help coat everything in the tomato paste.


Add the beef broth to deglaze the pan, scraping up any brown bits from the pan.


Then add the can of crushed tomatoes. Stir to fully mix in the tomatoes. Bring to a simmer, then cover and reduce the heat to keep it at a simmer.


Let it simmer covered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. At about the 15-minute mark, give it a good sprinkling of black pepper. When you cover the meat sauce for its simmer, go ahead and start a pot of 3 quarts of water to boil for the spaghetti.



3 quarts of water for 12-16 ounces of pasta set to boil in a covered pot. Once the water is boiling, add 1.5-2 tablespoons of Diamond Kosher Salt. Do about 1 tablespoon if you're using Morton Kosher Salt or table salt.


Once the water is salted, add the pasta. Set a timer for 7 minutes. Stir occasionally to keep it from sticking together. When the 7 minutes is up, start tasting the pasta for doneness. Keep adding one minute at a time, and tasting, until the pasta is al dente – meaning the strands of spaghetti are not completely limp, its bite still has a little bit of resistance. If you start tasting the pasta at 7 minutes and then every minute after you'll get what I mean, you'll notice the transformation. It should take about 9 minutes to get there. Drain the pasta. We aren't saving any of the pasta cooking water. Transfer the pasta to a large bowl.

Classic Spaghetti and Meat Sauce


Remove the meat sauce from heat. Spoon the meat sauce, a little at a time, over the pasta in the bowl and toss to coat the spaghetti in the meat sauce. Leave some meat sauce off the pasta to spoon extra sauce over the top of each portion.


Use tongs to portion out servings into wide shallow bowls.


Top each serving with an extra spoonful of meat sauce. Grate some Parmesan over the top and sprinkle with chopped parsley.