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Joey’s Meat Sauce (Bolognese)


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium Onion chopped
  • 1 lb Bulk Italian sausage
  • 1 lb Ground beef optional
  • 1 large Can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 medium Can tomato sauce
  • 1 small Can tomato paste
  • Dried basil
  • Dried oregeno
  • 3-4 Peppercorns
  • Italian seasoning
  • <1 tbsp Cinnamon I use a full Tbsp but I love this flavorthe sauce...it was the guess at the secret ingredient
  • 1 tbsp Sugar
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup Red wine and since it’s open you might as well drink it while you cook, right?


  1. Brown the sausage in a frying pan, remove from heat and drain. Do the same for the beef, if you're using it.
  2. In a large nonstick pot (I <3 my Le Creuset Dutch Oven), heat the oil and saute the garlic and onion. Then add the meat and all cans of tomatoes to the pot.
  3. This next step cracks me up because you can tell that nobody really knew how much water to add, and even since then, no one has actually measured it: Fill each tomato can with water but not quite all the way to the top and pour them in. Really precise, I know. But cooking is an art, not a science, right??
  4. This one's even more precise: Cover the top of the sauce with basil, oregeno (less) and Italian seasonings (less). My best guess is maybe 1 Tbsp of basil and just 2 tsp of the other two. But this is a matter of taste!
  5. Add the peppercorns, cinnamon, sugar, bay leaf, and wine.
  6. Pour yourself a nice big glass of wine and stir until the lumps are gone over medium heat. Bring to a gentle boil and cover. Turn the heat to low, just enough to keep it simmering.
  7. Simmer 1-2 hours over low heat. Take the cover off the last 20 minutes (and lock your doors). remove the bay leaf.

Recipe Notes

I like this sauce with both long and short pasta. My mother always called it simply "Mostaccioli" when she made it and served it with short tubular paste that had lines on it and slanted ends. Just thinking of it makes me think of childhood!

Oh, my mother did manage to finagle the secret ingredient out of an old great aunt, who was probably going senile and didn't realize she was giving it away.

It was nutmeg.

I was there when she told some of her family, and laughed my culo off at the room full of Italians hitting themselves on the head with one hand. "It was nutmeg! NUTMEG!"

I stick with cinnamon, but someday I might try a pinch of nutmeg instead. :)

Buon appetito!