Rigatoni with Meat Sauce

July 31, 2011 § 4 Comments

Today, I’m taking a little detour from my usual fare and presenting my journey into the world of Italia!

First, I must give all credit to whatever knowledge I have of pasta and sauce to my lovely and dear friend, Amanda.  In college, I tasted one of the most delicious things in my life – her family’s pasta sauce. To my absolute delight, I was lucky enough to learn how to make it at home (though it really never tastes the same…) and it’s still pretty darn amazing. So thank you, amazing girl, for teaching me how sauce should taste! This post is dedicated to you and congratulations again!! 🙂


1. Seasoning every layer is crucial, in any type of cooking. Make sure to season every step moderately, and then at the end the seasoning should be almost just-right.

2. Use GOOD Parmesan! None of that Kraft-pre-grated stuff. Spend the money on the good stuff.

3. You can use any type of pasta, I just like rigatoni with meat sauce because the sauce gets into the little ridges and it’s so delicious!

4. Try to use San Marzano tomatoes, the taste/sweetness of the tomatoes is the perfect match for a delicious tomato sauce

5. Sauce will taste better the next day. Always.

Rigatoni with Meat Sauce

Adapted from Amanda’s genius-brain


  • 6-8 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 2 onions, minced
  • 1 tsp chili red pepper flakes
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 tsp tomato paste
  • 2 cans San Marzano tomatoes, whole
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup of finely sliced basil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter


  1. In a large Dutch-oven (or any type of heavy-pot), heat olive oil on medium-high heat and toast garlic until lightly browned and fragrant.  Add minced onions and cook until onions are translucent, around 5-6 minutes.
  2. After the onions are translucent and soft, add your ground beef and cook until browned, then season with salt and pepper.
  3. In a large bowl, pour contents of your tomato cans and using your hands, break up the whole tomatoes into rough pieces.  Add the tomatoes to the beef and onion mixture.
  4. Bring the tomato sauce to a simmer, the sauce will be very watery. (Don’t worry, the next hour, we will slowly simmer the extra water out, leaving a thick, delicious sauce.)
  5. Add the tomato paste and red pepper flakes. Simmer on medium low heat for 45 minutes to an hour with the lid half-on, stirring occasionally.
  6. After the sauce has thickened to your desired consistency, add grated Parmesan cheese and stir well into the sauce. Add the thinly sliced basil, and then turn off the heat. Taste, and add more salt and pepper if necessary.
  7. Boil salted water for pasta, and cook according to package directions for al dente.
  8. Add a few ladles of sauce into the drained pasta, and then serve into bowls. Add a small ladle of sauce additionally on top of each serving, and top with a little extra grated cheese if necessary.
  9. Enjoy!!
E-mail me for the secret ingredient: cozybogie at gmail dot com

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