This one-pot spaghetti with meat sauce helps you get a family favorite dinner on the table with only one pot to wash after!
The first, oh, maybe ten years of my marriage were pretty frustrating when it came to meal planning. Now, I have a known cookbook addiction (I’m pushing about 130 of them right now) as well as a food blog addiction, so it would seem that it would be easy for me to pick seven days worth of meals every week as I’m creating a menu and grocery list. Sometimes, though, I think having too many options is just as daunting (maybe more?) as having too few and my brain just conks out as I try to come up with ideas. Besides, I’m not just cooking for myself. There’s someone else in my house too, and I’d like his input.
For the longest time, every time I asked Philip for ideas about what to have for dinner his answer was always the same: spaghetti. More specifically, angel hair pasta with tomato-basil sauce. For the first several years we were together, that was his standard order at any restaurant that it was available; in fact, it’s what he ate on our first date at the long defunct Kudzu Grille. The problem is, I never really loved spaghetti, and even if I did, I don’t want to eat it every week.
Philip has gotten much better, though, and these days when I ask for input on the menu he’ll give me at least one or two viable, non-spaghetti answers. The good news for him is that I have actually grown to love spaghetti (I am not really sure what my problem with it was…it’s so darn easy!) so, while I still won’t be making it weekly, I definitely make it more than I used to.
I’ve been obsessed with my Instant Pot lately and this one-pot spaghetti with meat sauce was originally going to be an Instant Pot recipe. I started thinking about it, though, and realized that it really wouldn’t take any more time to make this in a Dutch oven on my stovetop than it would to pressure cook it. For the sake of my readers who don’t own Instant Pots I figured I should make some recipes that, you know, don’t involve an Instant Pot. That’s how one-pot spaghetti with meat sauce was born.
You guys know I am not one to open a jar of sauce (not that there’s anything wrong with that). I keep canned tomatoes in the house (I buy them in bulk at Costco) so making spaghetti sauce from scratch is a snap. I gave this one-pot spaghetti with meat sauce a smoky start by sautéing a few pieces of bacon, but you could leave that out and start with olive oil if you want. Onions, garlic, and Italian seasoning rounded out the base, then I added ground beef and cooked it through. Next came two cans of diced tomatoes (one that I pureed), some water, and noodles. Once the noodles soaked up all the liquid, I stirred in just a little salt and some mozzarella to make it extra creamy and cheesy. I topped it with a little basil and parmesan and served it with a baguette on the side.
This one-pot spaghetti and meat sauce was a perfect weeknight dinner that only took about 30 minutes from start to finish!
Yield: 6 servings
5 minPrep Time:
30 minCook Time:
35 minTotal Time:
- 3 strips bacon, coarsely diced (or omit and use 2 tablespoons olive oil instead)
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1 pound ground beef (since the bacon added a lot of fat, I used lean ground sirloin)
- 2 14.5 ounce cans diced tomatoes or 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes and one 14.5 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 2 cups water
- 8 ounces thin spaghetti noodles, broken in half
- 4 ounces mozzarella cheese, cut into small dice
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- grated Parmesan cheese and julienned basil, for serving (optional)
- Preheat a 6-8 quart Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the bacon and sauté until almost crisp. If omitting the bacon, preheat the olive oil until shimmering.
- Add the onions to the pot and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and the Italian seasoning and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add the ground beef to the pot and cook until browned, breaking up with a spatula while cooking.
- If you are using two cans of diced tomatoes, puree one can in a blender or food processor. Add all of the tomatoes to the pot along with the water and the spaghetti. Bring to a boil and cook until the noodles have softened and absorbed the excess liquid, about ten minutes (time may vary based on the temperature of your burner).
- Season with salt and pepper to taste and stir in the mozzarella until completely melted. Serve topped with grated Parmesan cheese and julienned basil, if desired.