Homemade spaghetti sauce with beef, pork, basil and oregano. Slow simmered for a rich, meaty, tomato flavor. Boil some pasta and dinner is served.
I love the comfort found in a bottom of a bowl of homemade spaghetti sauce. A meaty tomato sauce with a spicy sweet aroma that fills the whole house with tangy tomato, spicy meat, onion and garlic.
Growing up, homemade spaghetti sauce was always one of my favorite meals. Mom wouldn’t make it on just any weeknight. It had to be a weeknight that nothing else was going on. No football or cheerleading. No basketball, tumbling, dance, or church. Just mom in the kitchen keeping a watchful eye and letting that pot simmer. The hour and a half or so that it took to cook down and thicken always seemed to take forever, but it was always worth it.
Over the years I’ve created and perfected my own homemade spaghetti sauce. It has a meaty tomato flavor that taught me good flavor is worth the wait. I also learned that even though I don’t always use her recipes, food will forever tie me to my mother.
When it comes to making homemade spaghetti sauce from scratch, it needs to simmer at least 90 minutes or up to all day. This is after you have spent the time to create the sauce. This simmer time is typically the reason we buy sauce pre-made in the jar instead of making it from scratch at home.
It is also where the flavors develop and meld together. The spice from the sausage mellows out, the fat from the meat blends with the acid of the tomatoes, and the carrots add a thick texture and sweetness. The longer the sauce simmers, the richer these flavors get, and the harder it is to resist the urge to sneak a taste!
The good news is that your efforts will pay off when you are left with about 5 quarts of homemade spaghetti sauce. With that much sauce, you are going to need a large pot to cook it in. At least a 6 quart pot in order to have ample space for stirring. I use (and recommend) my 6-quart Lodge Dutch Oven.
Also, unless you are feeding an army, you will need something to store the sauce in when it’s done. I like to use wide mouth, quart-sized canning jars. Even if you aren’t going to go through the process of canning it, these jars are great for freezing too. Make sure to leave about an inch and a half between the top of the food and the mouth of the jar, so that the sauce can expand without breaking the jar as it freezes.
For the meat portion of this homemade spaghetti sauce I like to use a combination of ground beef, mild Italian sausage and hot Italian sausage. I try to use leaner versions of both beef and sausage when I can find it.
Flavor is important and while I don’t like too much spice covering up the meaty tomato flavor, using a blend of the three is my flavor sweet spot.
The tomatoes can be fresh, frozen, or canned, as long as they are whole and peeled. The easiest way to peel fresh tomatoes is to score them with a paring knife, then place them in a colander in the sink. Pour boiling water over them, then flush them with cold water from the tap and the skins will almost fall off. It has the same effect as blanching, but is a bit quicker in practice.
Using frozen tomatoes, as I did, is even easier and freezing is a great way to store fully ripened tomatoes. Remove the stems from your ripe tomatoes, place them on a baking sheet and freeze for 4 – 6 hours, or until solid. Then place them in a zip top freezer bag back in the freezer. When ready to use them, rinse in warm tap water and the skins will come right off.
Canned whole tomatoes are going to be your best bet if making this sauce when tomatoes aren’t in season.
Add the whole tomatoes are to the pot along with the broth and cook for 20 minutes. During this initial cook time, squeeze the tomatoes with tongs to help break them up a bit. This helps ensure you don’t have any chunks of frozen tomatoes (if using) and makes it a bit easier to puree.
Serve this sauce up hot over boiled spaghetti or your favorite kind of pasta. Add a hunk of garlic bread and enjoy.
If you like this recipe for Homemade Spaghetti Sauce, don’t forget to pin it for later! For more great recipes like this one, sign up for the Sunday Spotlight in the box below. It’s a bi-weekly newsletter with recipe updates, behind the scenes info, and exclusive bonus information. It goes great with your Sunday morning coffee!
RECOMMENDED KITCHEN TOOLS
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Your purchase allows me to test and develop recipes which I can then share with you free of charge. Thanks in advance for supporting Renee Nicole’s Kitchen. For more recommended kitchen tools, check out my Kitchen Essentials page.
Homemade Spaghetti Sauce
- 2 pounds lean Italian style sausage I use a mix of hot and mild.
- 2 TBSP olive oil*
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 3 cups grated carrots
- 5 - 6 cloves minced garlic
- 5 pounds whole, peeled tomatoes fresh, frozen, or canned
- 2 cups beef broth
- 12 ounces tomato paste
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese plus more for garnish
- 1/4 cup fresh oregano chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh basil chopped
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- In a 6 quart dutch oven, brown the beef and sausage over medium heat.
- Remove the cooked meat from the pan with a slotted spoon and reserve.
- Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and heat.* Cook onions for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally until soft, fragrant, and translucent.
- Add carrots and cook 3 minutes longer. Then add the garlic and cook 1 additional minute.
- Add the tomatoes and broth. Cover and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes.
- Using a stick blender, puree vegetables completely. (Alternatively you can process the mixture using a food processor or blender.)
- Crumble the, now cooled, meat into bite sized pieces.
- Add meat, tomato paste, wine, balsamic vinegar, parmesan, oregano, basil, salt and pepper to the pan. Stir to combine.
- Cover, drop heat to the lowest it will go, and simmer at least 90 minutes up to 8 hours.
- Stir every hour or so for a longer simmer.
- Serve with your favorite cooked pasta.