Back on the block, the go-to pasta sauce was marinara. You now what I mean, the sauce made with tomatoes, garlic and onions that has graced Italian-American cuisine since time immemorial. So I’m always on the lookout for new and interesting ways to make a tomato sauce. And then I came upon makaronada, a Greek version of tomato-meat sauce. The ingredients are novel. They include cinnamon sticks,  allspice and cloves. These are seasonings not found in everyday marinara sauce. I tried it, I loved it, and I was a convert.

Greek tomato-meat sauce is normally served over macaroni, with the addition of grated cheese. We used feta cheese. This dish has become one of our favorite ways to cook a pasta sauce. In this variation, we served it over farfalle, or bow ties. It hit the spot. With a good red wine, preferably Greek wine, or any wine of your choice for that matter, it is marvelous.

Tomato-Meat Sauce


3 tablespoons butter
Half an onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 pound ground beef
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
2 cups water
¼ cup red wine
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 2-inch cinnamon stick
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
Dash of ground cloves


  1. Melt butter in a large skillet. Add onion, garlic and beef and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until meat loses its pink color.
  2.  Combine the tomato paste and water and add to the meat mixture. Add wine, salt, pepper, cinnamon stick, allspice and cloves. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 1 hour. Remove the cinnamon stick.
  3.  Serve over favorite tubular pasta with grated cheese.
    Yield: Makes 4 servings as a main dish or 6 to 8 servings as a side dish.