Fusilli with meat sauce is the perfect one-pot meal.

Tender pasta (fusilli in this case) is simmered in a simple meat sauce. A few additions take a pantry staple from ordinary to delicious!

Fusilli with meat sauce in a pan garnished with parsley.

Why We Love This Recipe

Quick When you’re short on time this easy pasta dish is the perfect recipe, it’s ready in about 30 minutes.

Easy This recipe transforms a jar of pasta sauce to make it taste homemade with a few simple additions (of course you can skip the jarred pasta sauce and start with homemade marinara if you prefer).

Yummy It’s a family-pleasing kind of meal, everyone loves this easy version of a meat sauce and there are never complaints at the dinner table!

making meat sauce for fusilli


FUSILLI The twists and twirls of fusilli capture the sauce for the perfect bite.

Use any medium pasta; penne, rotini, bowties or even cheese tortellini! Or use up any leftover cooked pasta in your fridge.

Fusilli with Meat Sauce in a pan topped with grated parmesan cheese and parsley.

SAUCE This uses jarred sauce as a shortcut! A splash of red wine, some onion, garlic and seasonings make it taste homemade!

Variations: You can substitute the ground beef for any ground meat you have on hand. Try using ground chicken, pork, or Italian sausage.

Out of red wine? Substitute in beef broth (if using ground chicken) and mix with marinara sauce or any tomato sauce that’s already in your pantry.

No Pasta Sauce? Use tomato sauce and a spoonful of tomato paste with a dash of garlic powder and onion powder (and a teaspoon of sugar if needed).

CHEESE No pasta is complete without a sprinkle of cheese! For this recipe,  I enjoy mozzarella and parmesan but you can use any cheese you have on hand. Try pepper jack for a little spice or try cheddar cheese.

Meat Sauce in a frying pan topped with parsley

How to Make Fusilli with Meat Sauce

  1. Brown the beef and onion, drain the fat.
  2. Add red wine and simmer. Add remaining ingredients
  3. Meanwhile, cook pasta until al dente, don’t rinse!
  4. Stir it all together until hot and sprinkle with some parm!

Serve topped with cheese and a side of homemade garlic bread to sop up all the juicy meat sauce!

fusilli with meat sauce and parmesan cheese being served with a spoon

Tips for Perfect Pasta Every Time

  • Since the pasta is simmered in the sauce, cook only until al dente so that it doesn’t overcook and become too soft.
  • When cooking pasta, use generously salted water. There is no need to add oil to the water as it will just float to the top.
  • Do not rinse the pasta once cooked, the starches help the sauce cling. Save a little bit of the drained pasta water to thin out your sauce if needed.
  • Keep leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Just stir, reheat, and top with a little extra cheese before serving!

Easy Pasta Dishes

Did you enjoy this easy Fusilli with Meat Sauce?  Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below!

Fusilli with meat sauce in a pan garnished with parsley.
4.97 from 32 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

Fusilli with Meat Sauce

Pasta noodles are tossed in a rich tomato sauce for a family favorite all year long!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 27 minutes
Servings 4 servings


  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ¼ cup red wine or beef broth
  • 24 ounces marinara sauce or pasta sauce
  • 8 ounces fusilli or medium pasta
  • ¼ cup mozzarella cheese shredded
  • 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese grated


  • Brown beef, onion, and garlic in a deep skillet over medium-high heat until no pink remains. Drain fat.
  • While the beef is browning, cook pasta in salted water just until al dente. Drain but do not rinse.
  • Stir in red wine and Italian seasoning. Simmer until it evaporates about 3 minutes. Add sauce and simmer a few minutes more. Stir in cooked pasta and simmer an additional 2-3 minutes or until heated through.
  • Top with cheeses and serve.


For this recipe we use fusilii, but any pasta will do. Try penne, rotini, or bowtie pasta.
Cook pasta noodles just to al dente as they continue to cook when simmered with the meat sauce. 
Ground beef can be substituted for ground chicken, pork, or Italian sausage.
No Red Wine? Substitute a splash of beef broth.
No Pasta Sauce? Use tomato sauce and a spoonful of tomato paste with a dash of garlic powder and onion powder (and a teaspoon of sugar if needed).
4.97 from 32 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 554 | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 84mg | Sodium: 1055mg | Potassium: 1090mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 803IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 122mg | Iron: 5mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Main Course, Pasta
Cuisine American
Fusilli and meat sauce with parsley and parmesan and writing on top.
Fusilli with meat sauce garnished parsley with writing.
Fusilli and meat sauce with writing
Fusilli with meat sauce in a frying pan with writing


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About the author

Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Recipe Rating


  1. A wonderfully simple recipe that is absolutely delicious. Thank you for sharing this one! I look forward to trying many more of your recipes.5 stars

  2. I made this tonight, it is delicious, simple and quick!!! I didn’t have red wine so I had to use the fruity red sangria I had in the fridge and oh my Lord!!! The red sangria gave it just the right amount of sweetness!! Thank you so much for the recipe I love it!!4 stars

  3. Delicious, simple, and filling! I used Banza chickpea pasta to cut down on carbs and increase protein and fiber — it was so good and just like regular pasta.
    Thanks for the recipe!5 stars

  4. Hi Holly, I made this on 22 Apr 2020, used Italian sausage in the sauce and tri colored fusilli. Absolutely loved by the family. Easy to prepare and great flavor, highly recommended. Thank you for another great recipe :)5 stars

  5. Hi, in the write up before the recipe it says “don’t drain!” After reading your recipe I think it’s meant to say “don’t rinse!”

  6. So easy to make, I had everything I needed in pantry and fridge.
    I used the beef broth, no open bottle of red wine. Next time I will
    try the wine. I used mini penne, cause that was what I had in pantry. Tastes great. Thanks for posting this recipe.5 stars