Low and slow cooking has yielded many amazing and delicious dishes, but few are as memorable as the Best Homemade Meat Sauce. This sauce is made extra rich, bright, and savory from its long cooking time, soaking in the meaty flavors of the sausage and beef. Perfectly balanced with sweetness, herbaceousness, acidity, and umami, the Best Homemade Meat Sauce tastes how you always imagined red sauce should taste. Draped over pasta and mopped up with bread, you won't want to miss a drop!
Ingredients• 2 tablespoons olive oil • 1 large white onion, finely diced • 5 cloves garlic, finely minced • 1 pound Italian sausage, removed from their casings • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef • 3 cups crushed tomatoes • 2 cups tomato sauce • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste • 2 tablespoons brown sugar • 1 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, plus more to taste • 2 teaspoons dried basil • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, optional • crushed red peppers flakes, optional, to taste • pasta, optional, cooked, for serving • crusty bread, optional, for serving • butter, optional, for serving
In a large dutch oven on the stove-top, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
Once the oil is shimmering, add the onion and garlic, stirring constantly so as not to burn the garlic, until the onions are softened and slightly browned, for about 3-5 minutes.
Add the sausage and ground beef, stirring and cooking until the meat is no longer pink, for about 6-8 minutes.
Drain the pot of excess liquid.
Add the crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce.
Pour in the tomato paste, brown sugar, salt, pepper, basil, Italian seasoning, fennel seeds, and red pepper flakes, stirring to combine.
Turn the heat to low and let the sauce simmer for 1 1/2-2 hours. The low and slow-cooking of sauce creates a deeper, richer flavor and a thicker texture.
Skim the fat off the top of the sauce and stir occasionally during the cooking.
Add more seasonings to taste and serve over pasta and alongside crusty bread.
For an extra touch of richness and shine, add a pat of butter to each bowl before serving.