Photo: Gina DeSimone; Prop Styling: Kashara Johnson; Food Styling: Ivy Odom
Active Time
45 Mins
Total Time
45 Mins
Yield
Serves 4 (serving size: 1 1/2 cups)

This hearty, family-friendly recipe marries two comfort food classics—meatloaf and spaghetti—for one epic rib-sticker of a dinner. The tangy-sweet, boldly beefy sauce delivers both surprising depth of flavor and a delicious sense of familiarity… consider it a bolognese inspired by the classic flavors of meatloaf. And because no meatloaf is complete without breadcrumbs, we finish this fun play on pasta night off with buttery toasted panko (the perfect final touch of crunch!). While we love how this dish can be thrown together on a moment’s notice with a package of ground beef and pantry staples, we highly recommend prepping the sauce a day ahead if possible, because it’s definitely one of those that tastes even better the next day. If you do make your sauce ahead, when you’re ready to serve, simply heat it on the stove with 1/4 to 1/3 cup of water or chicken stock to help loosen it up. 

How to Make It

Step 1

Heat a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium. Add beef, and cook, stirring often, until browned, about 6 minutes. Transfer beef to a plate lined with a paper towel; discard remaining grease, and wipe skillet clean.

Step 2

Add bacon to skillet over medium, and cook, turning occasionally, until sides are crisp, but centers are still pliable, about 8 minutes. Transfer bacon to a cutting board, and roughly chop bacon. Reserve 1 tablespoon of bacon drippings in skillet; discard remaining drippings.

Step 3

Add onion to skillet, and cook, stirring often, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Return beef and chopped bacon to skillet. Add ketchup and tomato paste, stirring to loosen any browned bits from bottom of skillet. Stir in tomato sauce, brown sugar, Worcestershire, vinegar, salt, pepper, and sage. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 20 minutes.

Step 4

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high. Add spaghetti, and cook until al dente, 11 to 13 minutes. Drain pasta.

Step 5

Melt butter in a medium nonstick skillet over medium. Add panko, and cook, stirring often, until panko is golden, about 4 minutes; stir in parsley. Serve meat sauce over spaghetti, and sprinkle with toasted panko.

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