Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

Hello, friends, I’m back! Thanks for sticking around while I’ve been absent from my blog and social media for weeks. I’ve been incredibly busy with my new(ish) job and moving to a new place. It feels like Matt and I have been packing and unpacking and decorating and rearranging and building furniture for weeks. (By “building furniture” I mean I read IKEA instructions and he does all the work.)

We’ve been living in our new apartment for two weeks already and I finally got the kitchen ready to make Spaghetti with Meat Sauce. This is a very simple but ultra delicious recipe. It’s a riff on a classic bolognese, but without the long wait time nor the long list of ingredients.

I made this in honor of Father’s Day. My dad is in the Philippines so we’re only celebrating via Facetime today, but if we were together in person, I know he would love this meal. Rich and meaty, with some smokiness from bacon, and only gets better over time.

It’s easy, a true classic, and loved by everyone. Just like my dad.

My dad who is never fussy, always patient. My dad who has shown me the value of hard work and standing your ground. My dad who has simple joys: books, baseball, family time, dessert. My dad who is brilliant and kind.

This recipe is something that most dads and other humans would appreciate. The base of the sauce is ground beef, but the beginnings of it is bacon, lots of it. I chopped up an entire pack of bacon (I’m obsessed with the bacon “Ends and Pieces” from Trader Joe’s but any kind would do), crisped it up, then set aside to snack on. Just kidding, but not really because it’s pretty dangerous to have a bowl of bacon near you when you’re cooking and hungry. So try not to eat all of it and save most of it for the sauce.

Then I softened some onions and garlic in the bacon oil, added ground beef, a jar of my favorite spaghetti sauce (also from Trader Joe’s because there’s one near our place that’s about a 3 minute walk away), and simmered for about 30 minutes. I added a little bit of whole milk in the end to give it a nice mouthfeel, then served with spaghetti (guess where I got it). I used white pasta because it’s nice to live a little.

I’ve made variations of this recipe over the years – sometimes I add worcestershire sauce, sometimes Tabasco, sometimes red wine. Sometimes I use guanciale and a jar of crushed tomatoes. Sometimes (once) we had it with zoodles. But always, the end result is about as perfect as it could get. Served with a nice glass of red wine, enjoyed with my husband, and thinking about our loved ones. My dad would love this spaghetti, because I do. But not as much (not even close) to how much I love him :)

Yield: serves 4

Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

Prep Time: 10 mins

Cook Time: 30 mins

Total Time: 40 mins


16 oz spaghetti
1 lb ground beef (I used 80% lean)
16 oz bacon, chopped
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (25 oz) jar marinara sauce (or your favorite spaghetti sauce)
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons whole milk (or cream)
salt and pepper to taste
fresh basil leaves for garnish
grated Parmesan cheese for serving


  1. In a large dutch oven or heavy bottomed skillet, add the bacon and cook on medium-high until beginning to crisp. Remove from pan and set aside. Drain oil except for two tablespoons.
  2. Lower heat to medium. Add the onions and saute until softened, about five minutes. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about two minutes.
  3. Add the ground beef and a generous pinch of salt, and let the ground beef cook, stirring constantly, until the beef begins to sweat and releases oils.
  4. Add spaghetti sauce, bacon, sugar, and season with salt and pepper. Lower heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes, or until sauce thickens to your liking.
  5. While the sauce is cooking, make the spaghetti according to package instructions. Rinse pasta with cool water, set aside.
  6. Stir in milk to the meat sauce and taste again for seasoning.
  7. Serve over spaghetti and garnish with fresh basil leaves and Parmesan cheese.


Happy Father’s Day, Daddy!

If you’d like to read more Father’s Day tributes and recipes inspired by my dad, check out these posts: No Churn Coffee Cake Ice CreamFilipino Avocado Ice CreamBanana Caramel Upside Down CakeJapanese Fried Cauliflower RiceSalted Chocolate Banoffee PieSteak on the Stovetop, and Nutella Banana Pudding.


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