The Ultimate Greek Spaghetti with Meat Sauce Recipe-Makaronia me Kima

This Greek pasta dish is bursting with flavor: Classic Greek Spaghetti with Meat Sauce is made with luscious ground beef and tomato sauce, along with cheese-coated spaghetti.

Greek Spaghetti with Ground Beef Sauce recipe – Makaronia me Kima 1

This dish of Greek spaghetti with meat sauce is known as Makaronia me kima in Greek. This dish is a favorite among most Greeks, adults, and children alike. Nobody can resist makaronia me kima, especially its homemade version. Everybody’s yiayia makes the best one! The secret in this family recipe, is not only in the sauce but the way the pasta is prepared. It is not just boiled, instead it is layered in a casserole dish coated with cheese and warm olive oil. It is so good, even without the sauce. Today I’m sharing with you my mother’s famous recipe step by step!

Some may call it a Greek Bolognese, and although there are some similarities with Spaghetti Bolognese there are also a few key differences: the ground beef sauce has a bit of a different preparation from the typical Italian version; the Greek version is flavored with spices such as cinnamon, allspice and cloves whereas the Italian sauce is not. In addition, the Italian Bolognese also contains celery, carrot, and pork whereas the Greek sauce does not. Finally, in this yummy Greek version, the spaghetti is prepared Greek-style layered and coated with grated cheese. The result is rich, comforting and so good!

Obviously, this is a special occasion food, but it also can be consumed in smaller portions during the week with a large salad.

Best Tips to Make Greek Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

Greek Spaghetti with Meat Sauce recipe – Makaronia me Kima 2
  1. Make sure the beef has some fat in it, if it is too lean it will not have the texture or flavor we are looking for here.
  2. DO use the spices. While they may seem like a small part of the recipe, they impart the characteristic flavor of the Greek Meat Pasta Sauce. Do not use ground cinnamon in the sauce, it will be too harsh, only use a cinnamon stick.
  3. The best cheese to use here is dry mizithra. It is an aged sheep’s milk cheese that is very flavorful. You can find in ethnic markets. If you cannot find it, the next best choice would be Pecorino cheese, which is a hard Italian cheese also made from sheep’s milk.
  4. The pasta here is prepared Greek style. It is cooked a bit more than the Italians (so not exactly al dente) and then it is prepared in a casserole dish. You can just boil and strain, but this particular preparation of layering it with cheese is what really makes it an amazing dish.

How to make Greek Spaghetti with Meat sauce – Makaronia me Kima

Start by making the sauce. In a medium size pot, add about ⅓-½ cup extra virgin olive oil, at medium heat and once the oil starts to shimmer, add the onion, cloves, allspice, cinnamon stick, bay leaves and a pinch of salt. Sauté until translucent. Add the garlic halves and sauté 1 more minute.

Greek Spaghetti with Meat Sauce recipe – Makaronia me Kima 10

Add the tomato paste and swirl with a wooden spoon, heating well. Add the ground beef, pressing it with a fork and heat until, it is crumbly and no longer red. Add the wine and cook until evaporated. Add the crushed tomatoes, 1 tsp fine sea salt. ½ tsp black pepper, 1 tsp sugar and 1 cup hot water, stir well. Lower heat and simmer for about an hour, checking water levels and adding a bit of hot water as needed. Once ready, remove from heat, remove cinnamon stick, bay leaves and set aside.

Boil pasta according to directions. Once pasta is ready, strain and add 1 tbsp olive oil and stir.

In a large casserole dish spread half the pasta, sprinkle over the pasta 2 tbsp grated cheese, place a second layer of pasta and sprinkle 2 more tbsp of grated cheese. Sprinkle over some ground cinnamon. Set aside.

In a little pan, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil until it starts to shimmer. Remove from heat and drizzle over pasta.

To serve: Serve pasta in a dish and spoon over the meat sauce.

Greek Spaghetti with Meat Sauce recipe – Makaronia me Kima

Make Ahead and Storage

The beauty of this recipe is that you can make it 1-2 days ahead and reheat when ready to serve. To warm up the pasta preheat the oven to 300 F (150 C). Cover the pasta with aluminum foil and place in the oven for about 10 minutes, until pasta is warm.

To reheat the sauce place in a pot over low heat and slowly warm up until it almost comes to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Store in the refrigerator separately for 3 days. You can also freeze the sauce and pasta separately for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator before re-heating it.

What do you serve with Greek Spaghetti with Meat Sauce?

As it is a rich pasta dish, the ideal accompaniment is a refreshing salad. This classic home-cooked dish is traditionally served with the famous Greek salad made with tomatoes, cucumbers, and green peppers. However, any type of simple tomato-based salad will work too! Here are some favorite salads to pair with this savory spaghetti dish:

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The Ultimate Greek Spaghetti with Meat Sauce Recipe – Makaronia me Kima

Greek Spaghetti with Meat Sauce recipe – Makaronia me Kima 1
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Indulgent and comforting: Greek Spaghetti with Meat Sauce is made with luscious ground beef and tomato sauce, along with cheese coated spaghetti in this traditional Greek dish.
Course: Main Course, pasta
Cuisine: Greek, Mediterranean
Keyword: Bolognese, Meat Sauce, Pasta
Servings: 4
Author: OliveTomato.com
Print Recipe Pin Recipe

Ingredients

  • ⅓-½ cup extra virgin olive oil + 3 tbsp for the pasta
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 2-3 cloves
  • 2-3 allspice berries
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 garlic cloves cut in half
  • ½ cup dry red wine
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 pound ground beef 70% lean
  • 1 can 14-15 oz or 400 g crushed or diced tomatoes or fresh tomatoes diced or grated
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp dry oregano
  • 1 package 16 oz or 500 g spaghetti (uncooked)
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 4 tbsp grated dried mizithra (Greek aged cheese) or Pecorino
  • ¼ tsp of ground cinnamon

Instructions

  • In a medium size pot, add about ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, at medium heat and once the oil is hot, add the onion, cloves, allspice, cinnamon stick, bay leaves and a pinch of salt. Sauté until translucent. Add the garlic halves and sauté 1 more minute.
  • Add the tomato paste and swirl with a wooden spoon, heating well. Add the ground beef, pressing it with a fork and heat until, it is crumbly and no longer red. Add the wine and cook until evaporated. Add the crushed tomatoes, 1 tsp fine sea salt, ½ tsp black pepper, 1 tsp sugar and 1 cup hot water, stir well. Lower heat and simmer for about an hour, checking water levels and adding a bit of hot water as needed. Once ready, add 1 tbsp of dry oregano, remove from heat, remove cinnamon stick, bay leaves and set aside.
  • Boil pasta according to directions. Once pasta is ready, strain and add 1 tbsp olive oil and stir.
  • In a large casserole dish spread half the pasta, sprinkle over the pasta 2 tbsp grated cheese, place a second layer of pasta and sprinkle 2 more tbsp of grated cheese. Sprinkle over some ground cinnamon. Set aside.
  • In a little pan, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil until it starts to shimmer. Remove from heat and drizzle over pasta.
  • To serve: Serve pasta in a dish and spoon over the meat sauce.

Notes

Make Ahead
You can make it 1-2 days ahead and reheat when ready to serve. To warm up the pasta preheat the oven to 300 F (150 C). Cover the pasta with aluminum foil and place in the oven for about 10 minutes, until pasta is warm.
To reheat sauce place in the pot over low heat and slowly warm up until a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes.
Storage
Store in the refrigerator separately for 3 days. You can also freeze the sauce and pasta separately for up to 6 months. Defrost in the refrigerator before re-heating it.
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? Leave a comment or share on instagram and mention @greekdiet

Photos by Elena Paravantes © All Rights Reserved

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7 Comments

  • Reply Sproutgirl November 13, 2022 at 6:25 am

    I’ve made this twice now. The second time I used ground chicken & it still turned out amazing! I really love the unique blend of spices5 stars

  • Reply ted November 4, 2022 at 4:53 pm

    This is truly mouth-watering and thanks for sharing the recipe! I’m gonna try this at home for sure. However, I was wondering if ghee could also be a good alternative to extra virgin olive oil. You don’t have to worry about the calories in ghee, or anything about health issues.Ghee is the most diet-friendly substitute you can ever find and moreover, its nutty aroma will be an add-on!

  • Reply Elizabeth July 29, 2022 at 3:01 am

    The best spaghetti I have ever made. Simply delicious.5 stars

  • Reply Chris David July 26, 2022 at 7:14 am

    I loved this recipe so much!!

  • Reply JohnS July 18, 2022 at 8:17 pm

    Question/idea: after I’m done sauting the whole spices in step – could I pop those into a tea bag and re-add to the pot after I’ve added the bulk ingredients in Step 2? Would make fishing them out later much easier.

  • Reply Barbara Tsikas Worthy June 30, 2022 at 2:57 am

    A friends mother used to make a similar version! Thanks for the recipe! One question, if you use 70% ground beef does it make the sauce greasy?

  • Reply Jesicca June 29, 2022 at 4:05 pm

    Thank you so much for this recipe! I’ve been waiting for this!5 stars

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