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Easy One Pot Spaghetti and Meat Sauce

5 from 44 votes

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This Easy One Pot Spaghetti and Meat Sauce recipe is a lifesaver when you need to get dinner on the table in a hurry but still want something special. The pasta cooks right in the homemade sauce, which helps it absorb so much flavor!

Overhead image of one pot spaghetti with meat sauce and a small dish of grated parmesan cheese.

What you’ll love about this one pot pasta recipe


  • One Pot Wonder. One pot pastas are especially quick because you don’t need to wait for a huge pot of water to come to a boil.  And with just one pot to clean, this recipe saves you from a mountain of dishes.
  • Classic Comfort Food with a Twist. Ground pork adds a savory flavor that makes this cozy recipe feel extra special. It’s warm, filling, and oh-so-satisfying.
  • Even Better Leftover. This recipe makes great leftovers, so it’s perfect for meal prep!

Effortlessly Delicious: A One Pot Spaghetti Recipe Perfect for Busy Nights

When it comes to comfort food, few dishes are more nostalgic than spaghetti with meat sauce.

It’s the kind of meal that takes you back to your elementary school days but in the very best way.

By now, you know I’m a huge fan of one pot pasta recipes. So I just had to create a recipe for one with a hearty tomato sauce. Boy did I deliver!

This recipe is so easy, but it tastes like you put in way more effort than you did.

Instead of making a spicy arrabbiata sauce like I usually gravitate to, I leaned into the natural sweetness of tomatoes.

I added carrot and celery, similar to a bolognese, and swapped out the classic beef for less traditional ground pork. The result is a delightfully complex meat sauce that’s loaded with flavor.

Ingredients needed to make spaghetti with homemade meat sauce.

Ingredients for easy homemade meat sauce

  • Ground pork. Instead of using ground beef, I use ground pork for this one pot spaghetti. It gives the dish a milder flavor with a slight sweetness that’s a nice change from typical meat sauce. Of course, you can use ground beef or ground turkey if you prefer!
  • Carrot, Celery, and Onion. Often known as mirepoix, this combination of vegetables is a classic way to build the base level of flavor in your recipe. Adding it to this meat sauce really helps highlight the sweetness of the tomatoes and pork.
  • Crushed Fire Roasted Tomatoes. Fire-roasted tomatoes have a subtly smoky flavor that’s great for adding depth and complexity to recipes like this one. They’re my favorite trick for making a quick recipe taste like it’s been simmering all day! If you can’t find crushed tomatoes, you can use a can of whole peeled tomatoes and chop them in a food processor – or even easier, with a pair of kitchen shears!
  • Chicken Broth. One pot pasta needs additional liquid so the pasta can cook without the sauce getting too thick. I love using broth for extra flavor, but vegetable broth or water works too.
  • Fresh Parsley. For a pop of bright, fresh flavor.

For this recipe, you’ll also need your favorite dried spaghetti. I also love topping my plate with grated parmesan cheese.

Step by step photo of making one pot spaghetti
Step by step photo of making one pot spaghetti
Step by step photo of making one pot spaghetti
Step by step photo of making one pot spaghetti

How to Make It

Step 1: Prep your ingredients. Finely chop or grate the carrot, celery, and onion. I love using a mini chop for this step!

Step 2: Brown the ground pork. Taking a few minutes to brown the pork in oil before adding the rest of the ingredients greatly improves its flavor and texture.

Step 3: Add the veggies and parsley. Add the vegetables, parsley, and salt to the pork and cook until the veggies begin to soften.

Step 4: Stir in the tomatoes, broth, and spaghetti. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the spaghetti is cooked al dente.

One Pot Pasta Ratio

Once you know the right ratio, one pot pasta recipes are so easy to create! You just need to use twice as much liquid (in ounces) as you do pasta.

You can use water, broth, or even milk, depending on the flavor profile that you’re after. Be sure to season the cooking liquid well, but remember that you won’t be draining it so don’t go overboard with the salt. I use 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt in this recipe, which results in pasta that’s perfectly seasoned but not at all salty. 

Large pan filled with spaghetti and meat sauce with ground pork.

Frequently Asked Questions

How should I store leftovers? 

Leftovers keep extremely well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Reheat them in the microwave or a pan on the stove over medium-low heat.

If the sauce thickens too much as it sits, you can loosen it with a tablespoon or two of milk, cream, or broth.

Can I freeze them?

The sauce freezes wonderfully, but I don’t recommend freezing the spaghetti. If you want to plan ahead, skip the spaghetti and just make the sauce portion of this recipe.

What should I serve with this?

Spaghetti and meat sauce is awesome with garlic bread, a side salad, Utica greens, or just as a one pot meal with a nice glass of red wine.

Can I use ground beef instead of ground pork?

Yes! For the best flavor, use 85% lean ground beef in place of the pork.

Can I substitute a different type of pasta for spaghetti?

Yes, but keep in mind that different shapes of pasta may have different cooking times, so you’ll need to adjust the cooking time accordingly.

Can I make this with fresh tomatoes?

I’m sure you can, but it will be much more labor-intensive and will necessitate a longer cook time. Honestly, if you want to make meat sauce with fresh tomatoes, I’d recommend using a different recipe.

Can I change the seasonings?

Sure! Try adding Italian seasoning (or pizza seasoning!), dried oregano, fresh basil, or crushed red pepper flakes to suit your preferences.

Help! My sauce is too thick!

If your sauce is too thick, add 1/4 to 1/2 cup more broth to help thin it out.

What if my sauce has too much liquid?

The liquid should mostly absorb into the spaghetti as it cooks, so it will look very liquid before the cooking process has completed. It will also thicken further after you take it off the heat. If it’s still too thin after that, you can return the pot to the stove and cook, uncovered, over medium heat for a few minutes to help it evaporate.

More one pot pasta recipes

Spaghetti with homemade pork ragu (meat sauce) and garlic bread.
Large pan filled with spaghetti and meat sauce with ground pork.

One Pot Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

Craving a classic spaghetti with meat sauce? This one pot recipe is packed with hearty flavors that will have you coming back for seconds (and thirds!)
5 from 44 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 servings
Calories 625 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
  

  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 celery stalk
  • ¼ cup parsley
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 28 oz can crushed fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 8 ounces spaghetti
  • grated Parmesan cheese optional, for serving

Instructions
 

  • Finely mince the onion, carrot, and celery. Chop the parsley.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or similar pan. When the oil is hot, add the ground pork and cook for 3-4 minutes without stirring, until it begins to brown.
  • Add the minced vegetables, parsley, and salt. Sautee for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften.
  • Stir in the tomatoes, chicken broth and spaghetti. Bring to a simmer and cook for 9-10 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked al dente.
  • Remove from the heat and let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Top with grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 625kcalCarbohydrates: 61gProtein: 31gFat: 29gSaturated Fat: 10gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 83mgSodium: 1143mgPotassium: 1156mgFiber: 7gSugar: 12gVitamin A: 3304IUVitamin C: 27mgCalcium: 115mgIron: 5mg
Love this recipe?Mention @TheBusyFoodieLauren or tag #busyfoodie!
By on March 6th, 2023
lauren

Hi, I'm Lauren!

I love to cook -- but even more importantly, I really like to eat! I have a demanding day job that keeps me busy, so time is precious. I'm a culinary school graduate and five-time cookbook author who's all about finding ways to make delicious, restaurant-quality meals at home on a tight schedule. Read more...

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