“Red” (aka Elbow Noodles in Meat Sauce)

Today would have been my mom’s birthday, so it seemed fitting to post a classic comfort dish that she would make for my sister and me while we were growing up. I think a lot of people have their own family versions of noodles in meat sauce, and I’d love to hear about your family’s recipes! Today, I’m sharing a deluxe version of what my mom and aunt always affectionately referred to simply as “Red.”

It is a whole meal in and of itself, and you can customize it in any number of ways. You can make it in about 30 minutes if you want to use a premade sauce, or take a little longer and make your own (recipe for this option is included in this post). You can also swap out the ground beef (classic recipe) for ground turkey (as I’m doing tonight), chicken, or pork and incorporate any vegetables you want! Oh, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t suggest garlic bread! I’m going with diced zucchini and mushroom to give this rendition a little extra nutritional content and flavour.

Time: 30-90 Minutes depending on your complexity preferences


  • 8-12 oz of Elbow Noodles (For reference, I used an 8 oz box of chickpea noodles, so take a look, and see whether you want yours to be more or less noodle heavy)
  • 1 LB of ground meat
  • 1 Onion
  • Any other vegetables you want to add (zucchini, mushroom, spinach, etc.)
  • Tomato Sauce (store bought or made from scratch…either use your recipe or try my easy sauce below). Store bought will give you a much redder dish, so keep that in mind when deciding.
    • Olive Oil
    • 6-7 roma tomatoes
    • 3-6 cloves of sliced garlic
    • Red Wine Vinegar
    • A little honey or sugar (to offset some of the acidity)
    • Seasonings (I’m planning on using oregano and onion powder)


  • If you’re making sauce from scratch, start here. If not, skip to the next main bullet.
    • Pour some olive oil into a large nonstick frying pan, and let it heat
    • Cut your tomatoes into quarters and sautee the tomatoes and garlic for a little bit
    • Add in a little red wine vinegar and water along with your seasonings, and let the tomatoes braise. Part way through, add your honey or sugar to taste.
    • When the tomatoes are soft and mushy, transfer this whole thing to a food processor, and puree.
  • Dice your vegetables
  • Start boiling water
  • In a large frying pan, pour a little oil, and then your onion
  • Add your ground meat to the pan, and let it cook, stirring occasionally.
  • Start your noodles!
  • Pour your zucchini and mushrooms part way through the meat cooking, and stir them in to incorporate and finish cooking.
  • When your noodles are done, pour them into the meat mixture, and then stir in your sauce.
  • Plate, Devour, and Enjoy!

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