(Closed) How do YOU make spaghetti sauce?

posted 9 years ago in Cooking
Post # 17
5295 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: January 1993

Lol, glad to see I’m not the only Ragu/Prego girl. Sometimes we jazz it up with a bit of a seasoning packet or diced tomatoes. I also always add a bit of regular or brown sugar (this goes for chili or any other tomato-heavy recipes as well). Really helps bring down the acidity.

Post # 19
7975 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

This simple recipe from smitten kitchen has never steered me wrong. My experience is pretty much exactly what she describes – I wasted a lot of time trying to find the perfect recipe, and never would have guessed something so simple could be it.

tomato sauce with onion and butter

Serves 4 as a main course; makes enough sauce to lightly coat most of a pound of spaghetti

28 ounces (800 grams) whole peeled tomatoes from a can (San Marzano, if you can find them)*
5 tablespoons (70 grams) unsalted butter
1 medium-sized yellow onion, peeled and halved
Salt to taste

Put the tomatoes, onion and butter in a heavy saucepan (it fit just right in a 3-quart) over medium heat. Bring the sauce to a simmer then lower the heat to keep the sauce at a slow, steady simmer for about 45 minutes, or until droplets of fat float free of the tomatoes. Stir occasionally, crushing the tomatoes against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat, discard the onion, add salt to taste (you might find, as I did, that your tomatoes came salted and that you didn’t need to add more) and keep warm while you prepare your pasta.

Serve with spaghetti, with or without grated parmesan cheese to pass.

Post # 20
2701 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

if it’s just me and Fiance:

put olive oil in pan

one clove minced garlic

one small onion

one can of crushed tomatoes

one can tomato paste



sometimes i put in some shredded cheese


i know this is not about meatballs, but my nonna puts in twice ground chuck roast instead of ground meat. OMG. To die for.


Post # 22
5789 posts
Bee Keeper

I just made it last night, but I change it around every so often.

I use 1-2 lbs. ground beef,veal & pork, browned

2 large yellow onions diced

6 cloves garlic diced

6oz. can tom. paste

4 beef bouillon cubes

measured in my palm and crushed I use oregano,parsley,basil,italian seasoning

approx. 2 t.salt

approx 1/2t pepper

4t brown sugar

1/2 c good red wine

approx. 1t crushed red pepper flakes

2 28 oz. cans crushed tomatoes (preferred brand for tomatoes and paste is Cento)

1 can water from crushed tomatoes

saute ground meats,add onion, garlic and continue to saute, add spices then tomato paste, finally add tomatoes,wine and water…bring to boil,reduce to simmer and cook for at least 3-4 hours,lid open to reduce and thicken.

If I make meatballs, I cook seperately (bake or fry) and add to sauce, and usually also make with sweet sausage,browned with ground meats mixture and added to sauce.

Post # 23
5009 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2012

Does anyone else do LOADS of different sauces?

I posted up my favourite bolognese sauce recipe the other day (reposted below):

Bolognese sauce


  • 500g minced/ground beef (you can add 125g of chicken livers finely chopped too)
  • Four rashers streaky bacon, thinly sliced
  • Two medium or one large carrot, finely diced
  • One large onion, finely diced
  • Three sticks celery, finely diced
  • Small glass of red wine
  • Large glass of red wine
  • Two tins chopped tomatoes
  • Large spoonful of soured cream


  1. Prepare all the vegetables before doing anything else. Try to get the dice to approximately the same size, but if they’re big then call it rustic.
  2. Add bacon to a deep saucepan (or pressure cooker, if you have one) and add a drop of oil. Leave until starting to become crispy.
  3. Add minced beef to the bacon in the pan and fry until liquid evaporates (there is water in the beef which you want to boil off so that the fat comes out and the beef smells super beefy). Stir constantly.
  4. When the beef is smelling really beefy, add all the vegetables and fry until they are lightly cooked (around 5 minutes). Stir constantly.
  5. Add the small glass of wine and leave to bubble until it reduces down by half.
  6. Add the tins of tomatoes.
  7. Bring to the boil and leave to simmer with a lid on for at least 30 minutes (checking regularly so that it doesn’t burn). (If using a pressure pot, bring up to pressure, leave at pressure for 10-15 minutes then take off the heat and leave to depressurise.)
  8. Cook pasta according to directions.
  9. Add the soured cream and a spoonful of water from whatever pasta you’re using to the sauce. Season to taste and serve.

I also do a lovely chicken rose sauce:

  • Oil spray or 2tsp olive oil
  • Two rashers bacon thinly sliced
  • 2-4 chicken thighs, chopped into small pieces
  • One large onion, finely diced
  • Two-three large cloves of garlic, finely chopped or crushed
  • 150g mushrooms (any kind, whatever you have) sliced
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 50ml cream (or soy cream)
  • Dried chilli flakes (optional)


  1. Fry the bacon in a non-stick frying pan until starting to brown.
  2. Add the chicken and fry until starting to turn golden.
  3. Add the onion and garlic and fry until translucent.
  4. Add the mushrooms and fry until floppy.
  5. Add the tinned tomatoes and chilli flakes (if using) and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  6. Add the cream when your pasta is cooked and season to taste.

Quick chilli tomato sauce:


  • One tbsp olive oil
  • One large onion (finely diced)
  • One red pepper (finely diced)
  • Two cloves garlic (finely chopped/crushed)
  • Two hot red chillies (finely diced)
  • One tin tomatoes (or 500g fresh tomatoes if you have them)


  1. Fry the onion and red pepper together in the olive oil until the onions are translucent.
  2. Add the garlic and chilli and fry for 60 seconds.
  3. Add the tomatoes and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
  4. Season to taste and serve.

There are loads of others I like to do, but those are some favourites.

Post # 24
1212 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2012

Gosh, I don’t think I’ve ever written it down, let me think.

3tbs olive oil

3tbs butter

2 brown onions finely chopped

3 cloves garlic finely minced

250g (0.5lb) pancetta finely chopped

500g(1lb) minced beef,

500g (1lb) minced pork

2 cups milk

1tsp ground nutmeg

2 cups red wine

2 cups beef stock

2 cans chopped tomatoes

4tbs tomato paste

bunch of fresh oregano and basil finely chopped.

In large saucepan, melt butter in oil, saute pancetta, onion, and garlic till soft.

Add mince meats, brown off, breaking up with spoon to remove lumps. Add milk and nutmeg, simmer stirring occasionally until liquid has evaporated.

Add wine, beef stock and tomatoes and paste.

Transfer sauce to lidded casserole dish, cook in slow oven for 3 hours stirring occasionally.

Add herbs, season with salt and pepper if neccessary, serve over fresh pasta.

This freezes really well! It takes about 5 hours start to finish, but it is soooo worth it!


Post # 25
80 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

simple tomato sauce- great on it’s own or as a base for other sauces:

2lbs fresh, ripe tomatoes

5 cloves garlic, peeled and diced

5 leaves fresh basil

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

salt & pepper to taste


set a pot of water to a rolling boil, and ready a bowl with ice water.  “blanch” the tomatoes by dunking them in hot water until the skin starts to split (~1min) and then putting them directly in the ice water bath to stop the cooking.  slide the skins off the tomatoes, cut in half (around the ‘equator’), and push out the seeds into a small bowl.  dice the tomatoes and set aside.  in a heavy bottomed pot, add the oil and garlic to sautee for a minute or two.  add the diced tomatoes. strain the tomato seeds through a skimmer/strainer so that all the retained tomato juice is added to the pot. add chopped basil to taste.  simmer for 20 mins on medium heat. if i’m making a smooth sauce i’ll use an immersion blender to blend it right in the pot.  voila, simple tomato sauce.  we can it and use it to make other sauces as necessary!

Post # 26
145 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

My ingredients are pretty similar to the OP, but I add about 2 teasp sugar, and couple pinches dried red pepper flakes =o) gives it a sweet/spice taste. * oh and when using canned tomatoes, the San Marzano are by far the yummiest! *

Post # 27
152 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

@Miss Longcoat-I’ve never seen vinegar in a tomato sauce recipe, I’ll have to give that a try!

My recipe:

Saute 1 lb ground beef until browned. Add lots of diced onion, bell pepper, mushrooms and garlic. When those are almost soft, add dried oregano, basil, and parsley. Deglaze the pan with white wine. Add 4 28oz containers tomatos (I usually use 2 sauce and 2 diced). Add tsp or so of sugar, a dash of nutmeg, and let it simmer for a while. Finish it with a tablespoon of butter.

I never have tomato paste on hand, so if my sauce is watery, I strain the juice into a frying pan and cook it until it reduces, i.e my own tomato paste. 

Most of the time I double it and can the sauce so I always have some on hand!

Post # 28
3788 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

I recently discovered the joy of roasted tomatoes, and I found that this is what gave my sauce the depth I’d been missing. And the texture is perfect!

2 red peppers, broil pieces skin side up for about 10 minutes checking frequently until skins are completely black and charred. Transfer to air tight container for 20 minutes then peel

3 lbs roma tomatoes, drizzled lightly with olive oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper, then roasted at 400* for about 45 minutes

I used a mini chopper to chunk all of the above, but the roasted veggies are so tender that it will be sauce consistency. I softened garlic and onion with butter in my dutch oven, then added the sauce and a healthy amount of parsley and italian seasoning. Then I let it simmer for another hour. Now I want to try a splash of wine! And that’s just a base really, meat or mushrooms or spinach would be great in it, too.

Post # 29
9024 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

I start with the diced onions and garlic and saute them with spices [black pepper, cayenne pepper, chilli flakes] and then when they are turning golden I add chopped or blended tomatoes, and then let it cook for a while and then add tomato puree.  Sometimes I add mushrooms, beef or sausage but I always start it out the same way.

Post # 30
4 posts

It’s the meat that gives you a flavorful sauce. You can use pork riblets or lamb. Add the meatballs and/or sausages after you pour in the tomatoe mixture.

Follow your original recipe but start with this: Flavor the meat with salt and pepper and fresh rosemary. Heat your olive oil in your pot with garlic cloves and half a chili pepper if you want a little spice. You are then going to add your pork or lamb and brown them. Don’t cook them fully. They will cook in the sauce. Carefully add the tomatoes as the oil will be hot and might splatter.

The other secret is to let it boil initially, then turn it waaaaay down to low. Simmer the sauce on low for one whole hour, stirring occasionally.


Post # 31
484 posts
Helper bee

When I make spaghetti sauce for SO and me, I use the following ingredients:

Two cans of finely chopped tomatoes

1 tablespoon of tomato puree

1/2 or 2/3 of an onion, finely chopped

2-3 tablespoons of olive oil

(Some red wine works well, but this is optional)

Some table salt and black pepper

Italian-style seasoning

Crushed chillies or hot chili powder. One finely chopped red chili works well as a substitite for the spice.


I mix those ingredients together and bring to boil, then I reduce the heat as this sauce needs to simmer on low heat for a good while, preferably at least 2 hours. The amount of chili I use depends on how spicy I want the sauce to be, but we both prefer it fairly spicy so at least 1 tablespoon of crushed chillies or hot chili powder. For a slightly more ‘meaty’ flavour I add some beef stock.

After simmering for 2-3 hours, the sauce will have gained a nice thick consistency.

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