How to Make Homemade Spaghetti Sauce







While many canned or bottled spaghetti sauces taste OK, few can compare to the zingy taste of a fresh, homemade marinara. You can make it quickly, and serve it up almost on a moment’s notice, or you can let it simmer for a day, filling the house with an aroma that will keep you in ecstasy and anticipation that entire time. We’ll show you both ways, and we’ll see you for dinner!


Weeknight Sauce:

  • 3 cups diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • One chopped onion
  • Garlic salt, to taste
  • Basil, to taste
  • Oregano, to taste
  • One pound of ground beef (optional)
  • Two teaspoons of sugar (optional)

Preparation Time: 2 minutes Cooking time: 10 minutes

Weekend Sauce:

  • 3 cups diced tomatoes
  • 3 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 cup tomato paste
  • Note: you can make fresh tomato sauce and paste from scratch—or use canned, if you like. We won’t judge.
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, minced
  • 1 celery stalk, minced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, 2 chopped, and 2 quartered
  • 1 cup plus one glass red wine (the better the wine, the better the sauce)
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh italian parsley
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons oregano
  • 1 tablespoon marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 anchovies or 1 tablespoon anchovy paste (omit if vegetarian)
  • 1 beef bone, roasted (omit if vegetarian)
  • 1 pound ground beef (omit if vegetarian)
  • 2 teaspoons salt, to taste

For toppings:

  • Grated parmesan, to taste
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste
  • Crusty bread, to taste

Preparation Time: 20 minutes Cooking time: 4 hours or till you’re ready Makes 6 cups. Leftovers freeze well!


Method One: The Weeknight Sauce

1. Prep the ingredients. Chop the onions, measure out the desired amounts of garlic salt, basil, oregano, and sugar.

2. Brown the beef. Break up the ground beef into a very hot pan, and sear until it is brown in its entirety.

3. Add tomato. Strain out the fat, and add tomato paste and diced tomatoes to the pan. Stir well.

4. Add the herbs and spices. Mix in the onion, oregano, basil, and garlic salt and sugar.

5. Stir and simmer. Blend and stir the mixture with a wooden spoon, then cover and let simmer for five or ten minutes. Stir occasionally.

6. Serve. Ladle your sauce over the pasta of your choice.

Method Two: The Weekend Sauce

1. Prep the ingredients. Dice the onions and peppers; mince the carrot and celery; finely chop 2 large garlic cloves, and quarter 2 more large garlic cloves; prepare and measure out the various herbs and spices. If you have ramekins to set the prepared ingredients in, that will make things easier.

2. Sauté onions, carrot, celery, peppers and garlic. In a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil, and sauté the onions, carrots, celery, and peppers until the onions are translucent or slightly browned on the edges—about 2 minutes. Add 1 cup diced tomatoes and 1 bay leaf, and finely-chopped garlic, and simmer on low for about 20 minutes

3. Add tomato sauce and tomato paste. Pour the large can of tomato sauce and scoop the 12-ounce can of tomato paste into the sautéed aromatics and stir well, blending all ingredients together.

4. Add the wine. Pour 1 cup of red wine into the sauce. Ideally, use the same wine (within reason) or type of wine that you’ll be serving with dinner. Pour one glass glass of wine for yourself, while you continue with the preparation.

5. Add the remainder of the olive oil. Stir in well. Your sauce should look deeply red and silky.

6. Add the remainder of the simmering ingredients. Add in the anchovies, beef bone, quartered garlic cloves, bay leaves, herbs, and spices, and any other ingredients that haven’t been added yet. However, reserve the salt, the diced tomatoes, and the chopped parsley until near the end. Stir all ingredients until well blended

Let simmer on low heat with a partially covered lid. Check and stir occasionally, making sure nothing is sticking. If the sauce is cooking down too quickly or getting too thick, lower the heat and add water or wine to achieve the desired consistency. Test the flavor with a piece of crusty bread and a sip of wine.

7. Make meatballs. About an hour before you are ready to serve, use the ground beef to make either simple meatballs or more involved meatballs or tofu meatballs—whatever you deem meatball perfection. Add them to the sauce, or serve them on the side.

8. Add the final ingredients. About 15 minutes before you serve, check the flavor. If it needs salt, now’s the time to add it. Adjust for sweetness, texture, and balance, and correct as needed. Remove the beef bone and bay leaves, add in the diced tomatoes and fresh parsley, stir, and simmer until it’s time to serve.

9. Ladle generously over pasta. Don’t be shy. Top with with grated parmesan, red pepper flakes, and serve with a garden salad and a nice chianti, barbera, syrah, or merlot.





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