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Easy Homemade Spaghetti Sauce Recipe
My family’s secret homemade spaghetti sauce is easy to make using a few staple ingredients you may already have on hand! Perfectly thick and packed with flavor, you’ll be ditching that store bought pasta sauce!
You can make this quick vegetarian pasta sauce ahead and freeze it for later use! And I’ve included a spaghetti meat sauce option for meat-lovers. Be sure to watch the video and grab all my tips below.
I call this my any-time spaghetti sauce. It’s easy. Unfussy. You can make it any night of the week.
And it takes just a few staple ingredients most of us have on hand: canned tomatoes, onions, garlic, and carrots, plus a couple spices and fresh herbs for flavor.
Savvy Italian nonnas don’t necessarily wait for tomato season to conjure up the perfect homemade spaghetti sauce or marinara sauce, and neither should we. Quality canned tomatoes from the pantry will do the trick just fine.
While many pasta sauce recipes call for 3 to 4 different kinds of canned tomatoes, I found that crushed canned tomatoes provide the perfect consistency for this tomato sauce. Simpler the better!
You’ll love this homemade spaghetti sauce recipe. Just the right thickness and so much flavor. So let’s get to it!
Want To Learn How To Make Pasta Sauce This Simple Recipe Is A Great Place To Start It’s On The Table In Just 20 Minutes
Store-bought pasta sauce is undoubtedly convenient. As long as you have one jar in the pantry, you have the key component for many of our favorite weeknight dinners. But what if we told you that a good pasta sauce doesnt have to simmer on the stovetop for hours. In fact, you can make some homemade pasta sauce recipes in the time it takes to boil the pasta! Well show you how to make pasta sauce with pantry staples you likely already have on hand, in less time than you think.
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Expert Tips And Tricks For The Perfect Homemade Spaghetti Sauce Every Time
- Add the butter. Butter enhances the sauce and makes it taste richer. Its the secret weapon when making pasta sauce from scratch!
- Save that fat. Once you brown the beef, youll want to carefully reserve some of that fat in the pan. This will help you sauté the onions and garlic while adding more flavor.
- Chicken broth is better than water. If you dont add a liquid, the homemade tomato sauce wont be all that saucy. Adding water will dilute the flavors but chicken broth adds its own nuances in, making this one of the best sauces youll ever have.
A Healthy Tomato Sauce Without Sugar
Tomato sauces are generally made from tomatoes, onions, garlic, salt, pepper, and other spices. Sugar is added to sweeten the taste of the sauce. However, if you want to make a healthier version of tomato sauce, you can try using low-sugar tomato paste instead of adding sugar. Low-sugar tomato paste contains only 2 grams of sugar per tablespoon. To make a healthier tomato sauce, you can mix 1/2 cup of low-sugar tomato sauce with 1/4 cup of low-fat plain yogurt. This mixture can be used as a dip for vegetables or pasta.
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My Spaghetti Sauce Is Too Acidic What Do I Do
Spaghetti sauce is usually very acidic because tomatoes are used to make it. Acidic ingredients such as tomato paste, vinegar, lemon juice, and ketchup are added to the recipe to balance the acidity. However, if your sauce is too acidic, you can reduce the amount of these acidic ingredients and add sugar to sweeten it up.
Recipes To Make Using Pasta Sauce
Aside from the obvious reason , my favorite thing about pasta sauce is that it is so versatile. Here are a few pasta dish options that feature it!
- Pour it over the top of cooked noodles of any kind.
- Use in place of store-bought sauce in your next pan of Baked Spaghetti or Baked Ziti!
- Lasagna and Cheesy Manicotti are both sooo good when made with Instant Pot spaghetti sauce!
- Use it as an ingredient to stuff spaghetti squash with!
- Add it to your morning eggs because everything tastes great with eggs.
- Top scrambled eggs with a few spoonfuls!
- Use it as a dip for breadsticks or garlic bread.
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Which One Is Healthier
Tomato paste has a higher nutritional value than tomato sauce. Not only is it denser and more concentrated but it also contains higher levels of lycopene.
This is an antioxidant that is known to deliver many health benefits such as improved skin health and heart health and protection against some forms of cancer. While this particular antioxidant is present in all tomatoes, there are higher levels of it present in processed varieties such as tomato paste.
A single serving of tomato paste also tends to have more calories and carbohydrates. Ultimately, in terms of nutritional value, tomato paste provides a healthier option than tomato sauce despite being used in smaller quantities.
How To Make Homemade Spaghetti Sauce:
This is for the stovetop version of the sauce.
Step 1: Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a 5+ qt. pot over medium heat, and saute 1/2 chopped onion until golden brown.
Step 2: Add the chopped or minced garlic. Heat for another one to two minutes, making sure not to burn the garlic, t
Step 3: Add spices: 1 Tbsp salt, 2 tsp black pepper, 4 Tbsp basil, and 1 Tbsp sugar . Stirring often, bring to a low boil.
Step 4: Reduce heat to low and simmer for 2-3 hours stirring often. For the first half of the simmer time, do so with the pot uncovered, then cover.
Step 5: Add in 1/3 cup of grated Parmesan or Romano cheese, stir in and simmer for an additional 5 minutes or so.
Step 6: Taste and add more salt if necessary. Then stir.
Here is the Crockpot version of the sauce:
Step 1: Add 2 Tbsp olive oil, 1/2 onion, and minced garlic to the bottom of the crockpot.
Step 2: Add in 3 cans of crushed tomatoes.
Step 3: Add in all the spices: 1 Tbsp salt, 2 tsp black pepper, 4 Tbsp basil, and 1 Tbsp sugar
Step 4: Stir together
Step 5: Set the crockpot to low and cook for 6 hours.
Step 6: Before serving, add in 1/3 cup of grated Parmesan or Romano cheese and stir. Return lid to crockpot and cook 10 minutes longer. Serve over spaghetti. You can also add use this to make Slow Cooker Spaghetti and Meatballs.
Step 7: Taste and add more salt if necessary. Then stir.
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To Cook The Best Spaghetti We Have A Few Simple Tricks
Check the package directions of the spaghetti you plan to cook. On the box, there should be an approximate cook time for al-dente, which means the pasta will be tender, but not mushy. It will still have a bit of a bite, which is perfect.
When you know the suggested cook time, set a timer for a minute or so before it. So if the box suggests 10 minutes, set a timer for 8 minutes.
This way, at the 8-minute mark, you can check on the spaghetti to make sure it isnt done already. The box directions are a helpful guide, but its always a good idea to check the pasta early!
Cook the spaghetti in salted water. The water should taste salty. This seasons the pasta as it cooks and is necessary for the best-tasting pasta.
Toss the cooked spaghetti with a flavorful sauce like our homemade spaghetti sauce. Dont just spoon the sauce on top of the pasta.
If you were looking to reduce the carbohydrates in your dish, swap half or all of the pasta with zucchini noodles. Heres our recipe for zucchini noodles pasta.
Three: Seed The Tomatoes
Some people leave the seeds in their tomatoes. I prefer to take as many out as I can, because they can taste bitter and be an odd texture in sauces. To seed your tomatoes, first cut them into quarters. If you have very large tomatoes, you may want to cut them even smaller.
Place the quartered tomatoes into a strainer or steamer basket, over a bowl or pot. Youre going to use your fingers again processing tomatoes is a very hands-on business! The easiest way Ive found to seed tomatoes is to push your thumbnail inside the seed cavity and press outward. This scrapes the seed goop out in one nice clump.
See how nice and neat that came out? Romas have a bit of a core in them that you may need to cut out with a knife, or you can leave it if its not too hard or green.
Continue until all the tomatoes have been seeded. If you did the work in a strainer, you can lift the seeds out and find you have a good amount of tomato juice in your pot. This juice is very versatile: you can add spices and other veggies to it to make a V8-type drink add it to soups and chili in place of water cook rice or pasta in it add seasonings to make a very light pasta sauce use it for gazpacho freeze it in ice cube trays for later put it in your hair as a conditioner or bathe your skunk-sprayed dog in it. The possibilities are endless!
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What Ingredients Go Into Homemade Spaghetti Sauce
- Olive oil use for sauteing.
- Lean ground beef I recommend 85% lean ground Angus beef.
- Salt and pepper to season the beef and sauce and highlight its flavors.
- Onion and garlic these build a flavor foundation for the sauce. Always use fresh.
- Canned crushed tomatoes Ive actually done a side by side taste taste with several brands and Hunts is best. If you want to puree a can of San Marzano tomatoes that would be delicious too.
- Tomato Paste this adds lots of tomato flavor and helps thicken up the sauce.
- Fresh basil and fresh parsley this gives the sauce so much fresh flavor. Fresh basil in spaghetti sauce is a must in my book.
- Dried oregano since you wont be using much we go with dried, but feel free to substitute fresh if youve got it .
Two: Blanch And Peel The Tomatoes
Blanching is the process of very lightly cooking a food in hot water, then stopping the cooking process using cold water. Blanching only takes a couple minutes, and will make the skins slide right off with almost no effort. You can use this same process for peaches! If you have a stock pot that came with a strainer, it will be even easier. Just place the tomatoes in the strainer and lower it into your steaming water. Set a timer for one minute youll see the skins starting to split by the time the minute is up.
Remove the tomatoes and place them in an ice bath, which is simply a big bowl of ice water. Or do what I did forget to set up the ice bath and run them under the faucet instead. The cold water serves two purposes it stops the tomatoes from cooking any further, and cools them so you dont get burned. When the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, you can begin skinning them. The peels should slip off very easily using only your fingers. If they dont, dunk them in the hot water for another 30 seconds and try again. I had a few Romas from our food co-op that I added, and they were a little more feisty. Next time I would give them an extra minute in the pot, and cut a shallow slit around their middles in addition to the X.
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Seeking Sweetness: How To Sweeten Tomato Sauce
As taste tests have shown time and time again, folks like tomato sauces that are both acidic and sweet. The problem is, tomatoes on their own are not very sweetfar less sweet than I like them, anyhow. Let me admit something here: In the past I’ve been known to spike my tomato sauce with a touch of sugar, a move that annoys hardliners to no end, apparently. I’m not backing down on that stance: adding sugar is a perfectly fine way to add sweetness to a sauce.
A perfectly fine way, but not the best way. There are other methods that allow you to add sweetness while simultaneously adding layers of nuanced flavor to the mix.
Many folks advise adding carrots to red sauce in order to add that sweetness. I tried grating carrots and cooking them down with the garlic right from the start. It certainly makes the sauce sweeter, but it also makes it taste like carrot soup.
A much better approach is to simply cut a carrot into rough chunks and add it to the pot while the sauce simmers. Remember that onion I didn’t want to end up in my sauce? Here’s where it comes into play: I also added a raw onion in there to give it a touch more sweetness along with some oniony aroma without overpowering it or ruining the texturea trick I learned from Marcella Hazan’s infamously simple buttery tomato sauce.
I brought everything to a simmer, then let it cook for several hours.
Which Herbs Add The Most Flavor To Tomato Sauce
The question of herbs is always a divisive one. Fresh or dried? Parsley? Oregano? Basil?
I tried a number of iterations using fresh and dried versions of each in various combinations. I ended up settling on a mix of dried oregano and fresh basil leaves and stems.
As it turns out, some herbs are better dried than others. Basil and parsley both taste terrible in their dried formslike papery, bland shadows of themselves. Oregano, on the other hand, fares just fine. The flavor is a little different from fresh oregano, but it’s intense and herbal in its own way, and for my money, is an indispensable element of a good Italian-American red sauce.
Why the discrepancy between the herbs? The difference mainly comes down to how the particular herbs grow. Basil and parsley both have thin, delicate leaves and grow in environments where there is plentiful water and little chance of the leaves completely drying out. Heartier herbs from drier climateslike oregano, marjoram, or rosemaryon the other hand, are far more robust. As a consequence, the aromatic compounds within those herbs also tend to be less volatile so that the plants can retain them even as they lose moisture to the atmosphere.
The end result, as far as we cooks are concerned, is that those heartier herbs from drier places can hold onto their flavor far better when dried than tender leafy herbs.
Do You Have To Peel Tomatoes For Sauce
The tomato skin is a different texture from the tomato flesh, and will remain so in sauces and puréesyoull get tiny chunks of skin instead of an uniformly smooth mixture. Then you probably want to peel them. Same goes if youre canning tomatoes for a later time, when theyll probably be turned into a sauce.
How To Make Instant Pot Spaghetti:
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Homemade Spaghetti Meat Sauce
Ditch the canned spaghetti sauce for this flavorful & beefy homemade Spaghetti Meat Sauce. Easy to make with dried seasonings and canned tomatoes. Make it in one pot and let it simmer on the stove top for the best flavor. Serve over pasta noodles or use in any recipe that calls for spaghetti sauce.
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Follow These Steps To Make This Sauce With Meat: