Garden Italian Meat Sauce

Main Dishes, Recipes

Garden Italian Meat Sauce on rotini

My aunty Becky once told me that there are some things you don’t mess with (ok, she put it a bit more colourfully), and for me, a meat sauce is one of them. I like it to taste like I just stepped into Italy and load it up with heaps of fresh basil from the garden and a healthy dose of Parmesan. The secret to this recipe lies in the Parmesan rind (sounds strange but it makes a huge difference)! I serve a small portion of this dish with nice pasta (use one with fibre in it to make it healthier) cooked al dente or ‘to the bite’ along with a heaping salad to round out the meal.


  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 2 crushed garlic cloves
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • ¾ c. good red wine
  • 3 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 large can of diced tomatoes
  • 3 sprigs fresh oregano
  • Parmesan rind (approx. 2×2” piece)
  • ½ cup chopped fresh basil
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Grated Parmesan & fresh basil leaves to garnish


  1. In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, cook the meat for 2-3 minutes or until it starts to brown, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. If your meat is extra lean you may need to add a teaspoon or two of olive oil.
  2. Add the onions and garlic and cook for another 2 minutes until the meat is fully browned and the onions and garlic are transparent and fragrant.
  3. Add the red wine to the pan and stir well, scraping the bottom of the pan. Cook for an additional 2 minutes, then add the fresh tomatoes and cook for an additional 3 minutes.
  4. Turn the heat to medium-low and add the can of diced tomatoes, oregano and Parmesan rind. Cook for approximately 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened and the tomatoes are cooked.
  5. Add the fresh basil, salt, pepper and stir until incorporated.
  6. Serve over freshly cooked pasta and garnish with fresh grated parmesan and a sprig of fresh basil.

basil leaves, garlic clove, rotini pasta, parmesan cheese wedge, tomato and red wine on white counter

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6 Comments on “Garden Italian Meat Sauce”

    1. fraichenutrition

      Thank you Aunty I have learned so much from you! I will always remember sitting in your kitchen pouring through your recipe books and just hanging out with you. Love those memories!

  1. Pingback: Garden Italian Meat Sauce - Boombaloo

  2. Katie Kjelland


    I love all of your recipes!!! I make them for my very picky three year old and so far they are all winners. I live in West Kelowna can you please tell me where I can find parmesan rind. Thank you, looking forward to your upcoming cook book.

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