What was your favorite food growing up? You would think mine is Japanese but it’s actually not, but it sort of is.
Japanese-style Spaghetti Meat Sauce was my favorite food since childhood and I always “had to” order it whenever we went to a Western-style restaurant in Japan. I would even describe myself as a spaghetti meat sauce connoisseur since I’ve eaten it so many times!
Anyhow, I may not qualify as an official expert, but at least I know exactly what kind of meat sauce I like. In fact, I have many different Meat Sauce recipes because I am always finding ways to improve my recipe. So far, this recipe is my favorite “Japanese style” meat sauce that I came up.
One big difference with Japanese meat sauce vs. the American version is the Japanese often use both ground beef and pork and I really like using both types of ground meat. You can get a package of ground beef and pork combined (see a picture below) in Japanese supermarkets and it’s very convenient (a little pricey but the quality of meat is excellent).
My kids love this meat sauce with short pasta but I still love Spaghetti Meat Sauce and I don’t even mind boiling spaghetti separately just for myself! I hope you enjoy this recipe!
Spaghetti Meat Sauce
- ½ lb ground beef
- ¼ lb ground pork
- 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic (sliced)
- 1 bay leaf (cut in half)
- 1 onion (minced)
- 1 carrot (minced)
- 1 stalk celery (minced)
- 1 cup red wine
- 1 can whole tomato (28 oz, 794 g, including juice)
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 8 button mushrooms (sliced)
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- kosher/sea salt (I use Diamond Crystal; use half for table salt)
- freshly ground black pepper
- parsley (finely chopped, to garnish)
- Parmigiano-Reggiano (Parmesan) cheese (grated)
- Gather all the ingredients.
- In a large skillet, heat olive oil on medium heat and cook garlic and bay leaf until fragrant.
- Add onion, carrot, and celery and sauté until golden brown.
- Add the meat and break into pieces with wooden spoon.
- Add red wine and let it simmer until the alcohol is evaporated (no longer strong wine smell).
- Add the whole tomato and break up into small pieces with a wooden spoon. Add vegetable stock and mushrooms.
- Using a fine-mesh strainer, skim off the scum and foam on the surface. This process is important to achieve a refined taste. Prepare a bowl or measuring cup filled with water to clean the sieve.
- Cook the sauce, uncovered, on medium-low heat until the liquid is almost evaporated, about for 1 hour. Stir once in a while to make sure the ingredients are not stuck on the bottom of the pan. When you can draw a line on the bottom of the pan with a spatula, it's done.
- Add butter and stir to combine. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste (make sure you taste it. Don't be shy on salt as you would eat with pasta). Serve the meat sauce on spaghetti and garnish with parsley. Grate Parmesan cheese at the table before you enjoy.
- You can keep the leftovers in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days or in the freezer for 2 months.