Simple Italian-Style Meat Sauce

From America's Test Kitchen Season 9: Perfecting Pasta Sauces

Why this recipe works:

For a quick meat sauce recipe that tasted as if it had simmered for a good portion of the day, we discovered a few tricks: Instead of browning the meat, we browned mushrooms to give the sauce browned flavor without drying it out; we used a panade, a mixture of bread and milk, blended into the… read more

For a quick meat sauce recipe that tasted as if it had simmered for a good portion of the day, we discovered a few tricks: Instead of browning the meat, we browned mushrooms to give the sauce browned flavor without drying it out; we used a panade, a mixture of bread and milk, blended into the meat before cooking, to keep it tender; and for good tomato flavor, we added tomato paste to the browned vegetables in our meat sauce recipe and deglazed the pan with a little tomato juice before adding canned tomatoes.

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Makes about 6 cups

Except for ground round (which tasters found spongy and bland), this recipe will work with most types of ground beef, as long as it is 85 percent lean. (Eighty percent lean beef will turn the sauce greasy; 90 percent will make it fibrous.) Use high-quality crushed tomatoes; our favorite brands are Tuttorosso, Muir Glen Organic, and Hunt’s Organic. If using dried oregano, add the entire amount with the canned tomato liquid in step 2. The sauce makes enough for nearly 2 pounds of pasta. Leftover sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 3 days or frozen for 1 month.

Ingredients

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