Photo of Rigatoni with meat sauce by WW

Rigatoni with meat sauce

Total Time
1 hr 25 min
15 min
1 hr 10 min
Pasta with meat sauce is a staple in any Italian kitchen—yesterday, today, and forever. It soon will become a staple in yours too once you see how quickly and easily it all comes together. This recipe calls for rigatoni, which have a thick tubular shape, but any thick pasta, such as shells, penne, or ziti, works just as well. You can make a double, triple, or quadruple batch of the sauce and freeze it for up to three months. In a pinch, the sauce can be heated up even in its frozen state, but it’s best to thaw it overnight in the refrigerator if you have the time.


Olive oil

2 tsp


1 medium, finely chopped


1 rib(s), medium, finely chopped


1 medium, peeled and finely chopped


1 clove(s), peeled and minced

Uncooked lean ground beef

8 oz, (10% or less fat), turkey, or veal

Canned diced tomatoes

28 oz, in juice

Fresh parsley

¼ cup(s), flat-leaf, finely chopped

Red wine

2 fl oz, dry, or reduced-sodium beef broth

Rosemary sprig

1 item(s)

Bay leaf

1 leaf/leaves

Table salt

¾ tsp

Black pepper

¼ tsp, freshly ground, or to taste

Uncooked rigatoni

2 cup(s)

Grated Parmesan cheese

4 Tbsp


  1. Heat a large nonstick saucepan. Swirl in the oil, then add the onion. Sauté until translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the celery, carrot, and garlic; sauté until wilted, 5 minutes more.
  2. Add the ground meat and brown, breaking it apart with a spoon, until it is no longer pink. Add the tomatoes, parsley, wine or broth, rosemary, bay leaf, salt, and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is bubbling. Immediately lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 45 minutes. Discard the rosemary and bay leaf.
  3. Cook the rigatoni according to package directions. Drain and place in a warmed serving bowl. Pour the tomato sauce over the rigatoni and toss. Sprinkle with the cheese and serve at once. Yields 1 1/2 cups per serving.