Easy Italian Meat Sauce with Fettuccine

A comforting and flavorful Italian meat sauce with buttery fettuccine that comes together in less than an hour.

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In my opinion, there’s no easier – or tastier – dinner than a big bowl of noodles drenched in sauce. My heritage makes me partial to Italian food, so pasta has become one of my go-to meals! When I’m craving something cozy, comforting, and low-effort, a dish like this easy Italian meat sauce with fettuccine just hits the spot.

Italian meat sauce with fettuccine is one of those warm and hearty dishes that reminds me of home. My favorite childhood memories bring back the smell of garlic, tomato, and herbs simmering in a pot over the stove – and images of my mom laughing at me for eating half a loaf of bread before dinner just to steal a taste of her homemade Italian gravy. She makes a great recipe that she learned from my Nana, and I’ve tried my hand at replicating it more than a few times, but have never gotten it quite right. 

So I decided it was finally time to make my own kind of sauce!

A plate of Italian fettuccine pasta with meat sauce

It’s surprisingly easy to make a simple Italian meat sauce with ground beef, canned tomatoes, and a few pantry staples. You can boil the fettuccine while the sauce thickens, and the whole dish comes together in about 45 minutes or less. Although it’s not my mom’s gravy and meatballs, this fettuccine with meat sauce is a wonderful alternative when I’m craving her home cooking. And it makes the perfect dinner on busy weeknights, especially when served with a side of garlic bread!

Italian Meat Sauce Recipe Ingredients

Italian meat sauce is usually made of ground beef, aromatic vegetables (otherwise known as a mirepoix), and crushed tomatoes. Here’s what you’ll need to make our easy Italian meat sauce with fettuccine:

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Ground beef
  • Crushed tomatoes
  • Parsley
  • Basil
  • Salt & pepper
  • Fettuccine
  • Butter

Although not a traditional mirepoix, onion and garlic give this sauce those delicious flavors and aromas we associate with Italian food, especially when cooked with olive oil, parsley, and basil.

Tip: If you don’t have fettuccine, use another type of thick pasta noodle for this dish, like linguine. We recommend staying away from thinner pastas like spaghetti and angel hair since Italian meat sauce is thick and needs a hefty noodle to support it!

A dish of fettuccine with Italian meat sauce

How To Make Italian Meat Sauce With Fettuccine

This homemade Italian meat sauce recipe is so simple, anyone can make it! Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering, then add diced onion and garlic. Sauté until fragrant and the onions are softened.
  2. Next, add the ground beef to the skillet. Break up the meat with a spatula as it cooks and stir frequently until browned.
  3. Lower the heat and add crushed tomatoes, parsley, basil, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine and simmer for about 20 minutes to let the sauce thicken, stirring occasionally.
  4. While the sauce is cooking, boil pasta in a large pot of salted water. Once the pasta is done to your liking, strain and return to the pot. Stir in butter until it’s melted and the pasta is well-coated.
  5. Finally, add the meat sauce to the fettuccine and stir to combine. Serve hot.

Use your intuition to tell when the sauce is thick enough. A few minutes can make a big difference, especially later in the cooking process, so keep an eye on it as you prepare the fettuccine. About 20 minutes at a gentle simmer should do it.

Serving Suggestions 

Any good pasta dish goes well with a side salad, some garlic bread, and a glass of wine. You can also serve fresh bread with dipping oils alongside this fettuccine (we love making a simple dip out of EVOO, grated parmesan cheese, and crushed red pepper flakes!). No matter what, you can’t go wrong with a cozy and comforting bowl of fettuccine and Italian meat sauce for family dinner.

Storing & Reheating Leftovers

Simply store any leftover pasta in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat in a frying pan over medium heat until warm, or microwave for about 2 minutes per serving, stirring halfway through.

A plate of Italian fettuccine with meat sauce

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Our Italian meat sauce with fettuccine recipe is so easy and low-effort, you’ll have a delicious Italian meal on the table in 45 minutes or less. Leftovers keep well in the fridge, so you can even make extra and enjoy this meal again and again throughout the week. It’s really the perfect dish when you’re craving a cozy, nostalgic meal that feels like home.

Try the recipe below and don’t forget to rate, comment, and share if you like it! We can’t wait to hear what you think.

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Easy Homemade Italian Meat Sauce with Fettuccine

A comforting dish of buttery pasta topped with a hearty and flavorful meat sauce.
Servings 6 servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes


  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion diced
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 28 oz canned crushed tomatoes
  • ¼ cup dried parsley
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 lb fettuccine
  • 1 tbsp butter


  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering.
  • Add diced onion and garlic and saute until fragrant and onions are softened, about 6 minutes.
  • Add ground beef to the skillet. Break up the meat with a spatula as it cooks and stir frequently until the meat is browned, about 8 minutes.
  • Turn the heat to medium-low and add crushed tomatoes, parsley, and basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then stir well to combine.
  • Cook the sauce for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, to let it thicken.*
  • While the sauce is cooking, boil a large pot of water over high heat. Cook fettuccine according to package directions.
  • When the pasta is done cooking, strain and return to the pot. Add butter and stir until melted and combined well, then stir in the meat sauce. Serve hot.


Cooking the sauce: Be sure to only let the sauce thicken for about 20 minutes. The longer you let it cook the more it will thicken, and you’ll end up with something a bit too chunky.
Serving suggestion: This dish is best served with a side of fresh bread and a glass of wine!
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Author: Nicole
Calories: 634kcal
Course: Dinner, Main, Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: fettuccine, ground beef, stovetop, tomatoes, winter


Calories: 634kcal | Carbohydrates: 66g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 122mg | Sodium: 262mg | Potassium: 853mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 415IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 119mg | Iron: 6mg

If you have any questions regarding the information presented in this post, please refer to our Nutrition Disclaimer here.

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