Penne Pasta with Meat Sauce Recipe

Penne Pasta with Meat Sauce Recipe

How To Make Penne Pasta with Meat Sauce

This easy-to-make penne pasta dish is delightfully bursting with flavor with its tasty meat sauce made with chunky tomato sauce, ground beef, and spices.

Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking: 45 minutes
Total: 55 minutes



  • ½lbpenne pasta
  • 2tbspextra-virgin olive oil
  • 2cupsonion,(from about 1 large onion) chopped
  • 2clovesgarlic,chopped
  • 1tspItalian seasoning,(blend of dried basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, marjoram, and savory)
  • dashred pepper flakes
  • ½tspfresh thyme,or a pinch of dried thyme
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1lbground beef,(16% fat)
  • 3fresh basil leaves,chopped (or a ½ tsp of dried basil leaves)
  • cupschunky tomato sauce,(almost 1 28 oz can), such as Muir glen brand if available, canned
  • 1tspsugar
  • 1tbspfresh parsley,chopped


  1. Heat to boiling a large pot with 4-quarts of water in it.

  2. Once the water is boiling, add 2 tablespoons of salt. Once the water returns to a boil add the pasta to the pot.

  3. Leave uncovered, let cook on high heat with a vigorous boil.

  4. Put the timer on for 8 to 10 minutes, or whatever the pasta package says is appropriate for al dente (cooked but still a little firm).

  5. Drain.

  6. Once started to heat the water, start working on the sauce.

  7. Heat the olive oil in a very large skillet on medium heat. Add the chopped onion, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes.

  8. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onions are softened.

  9. Add the garlic, fresh thyme, season with salt and pepper.

  10. Cook for an additional 1 minute, until the garlic is fragrant.

  11. Remove from heat and set aside.

  12. Heat a large cast-iron pan on high heat. Salt the bottom of the pan generously.

  13. Once the pan is hot, break up small chunks of ground beef and add them to the pan, without stirring. (Do not crowd the pan. Work in batches if needed).

  14. If the pan is too hot and the meat is burning, not browning, take the pan off the heat for a little, and reduce the heat to medium-high.

  15. Once the meat is browned on 1 side after a couple of minutes, use a metal spatula to flip the meat over to brown on the other side.

  16. At this point, assuming a cast-iron pan is used, remove the pan from the heat. The residual heat in the pan will finish cooking the meat.

  17. Use a slotted spoon to lift the meat from the cast iron pan and add it to the pan with the seasoned onions.

  18. Add the tomato sauce. Use the edge of your metal spatula to break up the bigger chunks of meat into smaller pieces.

  19. Add the basil. Add 1 teaspoon of sugar.

  20. Bring to a simmer on low heat, let cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

  21. Once the sauce has simmered for 15 minutes, adjust the seasonings. Add salt and pepper to taste.

  22. Add a little more sugar if the sauce is too acidic. Add more tomato sauce if the sauce is a little dry.

  23. Stir in the cooked penne pasta.

  24. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.

  25. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

Use rice pasta for a gluten-free version.


  • Calories: 637.44kcal
  • Fat: 30.90g
  • Saturated Fat: 9.81g
  • Trans Fat: 1.34g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 15.15g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.84g
  • Carbohydrates: 60.53g
  • Fiber: 5.96g
  • Sugar: 11.44g
  • Protein: 29.87g
  • Cholesterol: 80.51mg
  • Sodium: 966.10mg
  • Calcium: 87.66mg
  • Potassium: 1035.86mg
  • Iron: 5.16mg
  • Vitamin A: 44.26µg
  • Vitamin C: 18.72mg
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