We’ve made this easy spaghetti meat sauce countless times and are always happy that we did. The sauce starts with a base of ground meat. We love keeping the sauce on the leaner side and use ground turkey, but any ground meat like beef, pork, chicken, and lamb will work.
1 pound lean ground meat like beef, turkey, chicken or lamb
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup (130 grams) chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced (1 tablespoon)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup water, broth or dry red wine
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
Handful fresh basil leaves, plus more for serving
2 to 3 teaspoons fish sauce
1 to 2 teaspoons mushroom powder, here’s our recipe
3 to 4 anchovy fillets, minced with some of their oil or use anchovy paste
1 leftover rind from a wedge of parmesan
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat (we use a Dutch oven). Add the meat and cook until browned, about 8 minutes. As the meat cooks, use a wooden spoon to break it up into smaller crumbles.
Add the onions and cook, stirring every once and a while, until softened, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the garlic, tomato paste, oregano, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring continuously for about 1 minute.
Pour in the water and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any bits of meat or onion stuck to the bottom of the pot. Stir in the tomatoes, 3/4 teaspoon of salt and a generous pinch of black pepper. Bring the sauce to a low simmer. Cook, uncovered, at a low simmer for 25 minutes. As it cooks, stir and taste the sauce a few times so you can adjust the seasoning accordingly (see notes for suggestions). Stir in the basil just before serving.