Tips For The Best Spaghetti Sauce
Since spaghetti has long been one of my favorite foods Ive picked up on lots of different things here and there to perfect it. Heres my tips:
- Really brown the beef. Dont add it all in one thin layer and toss and turn it constantly. Instead add it in large clumps, let the bottom really sear and brown thenstart to break it up.
- Use crushed tomatoes instead of tomato sauce or puree. It has a better, more tomato-y flavor.
- Dont be skimpy with the garlic, and add a fair amount of onion. These really build flavor here.
- Preferably use fresh basil.
- Allow time to simmer. This will offer time for those flavors to meld and compliment each other and time for the sauce to reduce and thicken a bit.
- Stir parmesan right into the sauce. Again we are building flavor and even though its only 1/4 cup it gives it special something.
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Can I Make Spaghetti Sauce From Whole Tomatoes
If you want to make spaghetti sauce completely from scratch using whole tomatoes rather than canned, youll need to peel your tomatoes and remove the stems. The easiest way to peel tomatoes is to blanch them in boiling water for 1-2 minutes and then immediately place them into an ice bath. The skins can then be easily removed. We also have a different recipe for Fire Roasted Spaghetti Sauce.
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Reheating And Storage Tips
Leftover spaghetti sauce will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days. Store in a resealable container. Reheat gently in a saucepan on the stove when ready to serve.
Homemade spaghetti sauce is a meal preppers dream. You can make a big batch of this sauce when you have extra time and freeze it in freezer containers indefinitely. Preferably, you should allow time for it to thaw overnight in the fridge before using.
Or, make a big batch of sauce on Saturday or Sunday, and plan meals around it for the rest of the week. Its perfect for more than spaghetti and meatballs. Use it for this easy skillet lasagna, pizza stuffed spaghetti squash, rustic polenta stack, or pizza quesadillas, or as a dipping sauce for air fryer mozzarella sticks or chicken strips.
How To Make Spaghetti Sauce From Scratch
- Brown the beef: heating 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef in large crumbles, leaving space between.
- Season with salt and let beef brown nicely on bottom.
- Crumble beef: Then begin breaking beef up . Let it continue to cook until it has cooked through .
- Drain beef: Transfer browned beef to a paper towel lined plate, leave about 1 Tbsp fat in pan. Or add 1 Tbsp olive oil.
- Saute aromatics: Add onion and saute 4 minutes or until almost softened, then add garlic and saute 1 minute longer.
- Add other ingredients:stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, water, beef, basil and oregano. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Simmer sauce: Bring to a light boil, then reduce heat to low , cover with lid and let simmer until onions have softened through, about 15 minutes.
- Adjust consistency as desired: If you have more time let it simmer longer. Thin with a little water as needed, thicken with a little tomato paste as needed .
- Finish with cheese: Stir in parmesan at the very end and let melt through. Serve over pasta of choice topped with more parmesan and parsley.
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How To Make Million Dollar Spaghetti:
1. Prep the noodles: Boiling a package of spaghetti noodles, drain the water and toss them in a bowl with some butter and a little marinara sauce. Pour half the noodles in a 9×13 pan.
2. Spread cheesy mixture over noodles. Mix together cream cheese, sour cream, and cottage cheese and spread it over top of the noodles.
3. Layer remaining noodles, creating a little surprise cheese filling between the noodles.
4. Layer marinara meat sauce. The simple meat sauce is made with ground beef, ground sausage, onions, garlic, and .
5. Top with cheese and bake. Sprinkle mozzarella and parmesan cheese over top and bake at 350 degrees F until cheese is melted and bubbly. I love it when the cheese on the edges get golden YUM!.
Helpful Hints For A Perfect Spaghetti Sauce:
1.) Pick the right crushed tomatoes.
There are so many ways to make sure your sauce can be perfect every time. You first need to start with the best quality crushed tomatoes. When you buy your crushed tomatoes, make sure that you are buying ones that do not have any seasoning added. Often times you can buy crushed tomatoes with basil and salt already added, which can throw off the taste when you take into account the spices I add to my tomatoes.
You also want to decide if you like a chunky or smooth spaghetti sauce. We prefer a smooth sauce, so I like to buy Tuttorosso or Hunts crushed tomatoes. If you prefer a chunky sauce, you may want to use whole tomatoes or buy a chunky canned crushed tomato.
2.) Add Ground Beef or Italian sausage.
You can easily add ground beef or Italian sausage to this sauce. We typically brown it before adding it to the sauce. Another thing that we like to add is the big sausage links. That way, if the kids dont like them they can pick them out without it affecting the entire pot of sauce.
3.) Use canned crushed or fresh tomatoes.
When using canned tomatoes vs fresh tomatoes there are a few things to consider. If you are growing your own tomatoes at home, it is obviously going to be cheaper to make a sauce using your own tomatoes. You will need approx 15 medium-sized tomatoes to equal 3 28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes.
Lets take a look at how to make a homemade spaghetti sauce using fresh tomatoes.
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Can I Make This Spaghetti Sauce In The Instant Pot
Yes. To make this easy spaghetti sauce in the Instant Pot,
- Push the sauté button to heat the olive oil. Brown the meat and use a slotted spoon to remove the beef.
- Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and then sauté the onions for 4 minutes and then add the garlic to cook for an additional 1 minute.
- Add the remaining ingredients except for the parmesan and basil.
- Cover and seal the lid. Set the manual/pressure cook button to 10 minutes. When the time is up let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes and move the valve to vent.
- Remove the lid and stir in the grated parmesan.
How To Make Spaghetti Pie:
1. Cook spaghetti noodles.
2. Season noodles and add to pie dish. Add hot cooked noodles, butter, parmesan cheese, basil and beaten egg to a large bowl and toss well to combine. The egg and parmesan cheese help the noodles to hold their shape when you cut the pie. Press mixture firmly into pie dish.
3. Layer with cottage cheese and sauce. Spread a thin layer of cottage cheese over top and then top with spaghetti sauce. You could use my homemade spaghetti sauce, or store-bought pasta sauce. Youll need about 1 ½ cups of sauce.
6. Bake at 350°F for about 20 minutes. I like to sprinkle the top of the sauce with a little extra parmesan cheese.
I love how bubbly, warm and delicious it gets when it bakes. Allow it to cool for a few minutes and then slice and serve it like you would a pie.
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Does Parsley Go In Spaghetti Sauce
Add Homemade Meatballs for extra flavor, or use instead of jarred sauce to make One Pot Spaghetti and Meat Sauce or One Pot Creamy Shells and Beef.I usually fill the empty tomato paste can with water a couple of times and use more after simmering if I think that sauce is a little too thick.Note that you can add a teaspoon or two of sugar to sweeten the sauce.Yes, I know that takes time, but, this recipe makes a lot, so you can easily refrigerate or freeze some to use on busy days.Add garlic powder or dried onion flakes instead of fresh.Brown a spare rib or two and add to the sauce for extra flavor. .
What Vegetables Can You Put In Your Homemade Spaghetti Sauce
I dont put anything other than garlic and onion in for the sauce if I am making it to can or freeze. But when I whip up a dinner with it I will often add carrots, zucchini, and mushrooms.
That is my favorite combination.
But the nice thing about this sauce is it is super versatile, so add or subtract what you like in your spaghetti sauce.
That might be ground beef or sausage . It might be eggplant. What do you prefer?
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Spaghetti Sauce Marinara Sauce And Pizza Sauce Whats The Difference
The main difference between the 3 of these sauces is the spices used and the cooking method.
Spaghetti/Pasta sauce is a slow simmer sauce that has a few herbs like basil involved. This is usually a thicker sauce, and you usually add meats and peppers to it. This would never go over a pizza.
The marinara sauce is usually a quick-cooking sauce that only cooks for an hour or less. has a sweeter, deeper flavor. This can be used over pasta or even over pizza.
Pizza sauce is an uncooked tomato sauce. Pizza sauce is typically made with tomato pasta or thicker tomato sauce. It uses different spices from spaghetti sauce, featuring oregano, Italian seasoning, garlic salt, onion powder, and sugar.
Other Italian Recipes
If you love this homemade spaghetti sauce recipe, you will love some of our other Italian recipes:
- Heat the olive oil in a 5+ qt. pot over medium heat, and add the onion.
- Saute for 10 minutes or so, stirring often and being careful not to burn it.
- Add the chopped or pressed garlic.
- Heat for another one to two minutes, making sure not to burn the garlic, then add all the tomatoes, salt, black pepper, basil, and sugar. Stirring often, bring to a low boil.
- 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.
- Add the cheese, stir in and simmer for an additional 5 minutes or so.
- This will make the equivalent of 4-5 jars of sauce, and the cost is probably about half .
How Do You Make Homemade Spaghetti Sauce
Its simple! Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil, add a couple tablespoons of tomato sauce and heat it up for a minute or so, then add the tomatoes.
Add the dried spices: oregano, thyme, bay leaf, a tablespoon of sugar, and red pepper flakes.
Stir well and simmer for at least one hour, but up to three hours. Just before serving, remove the bay leaf, and stir in a little butter, and some fresh basil and parsley.
Serve over your favorite pasta with a sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Buon appetito!
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Ingredients In Spaghetti Meat Sauce
- Olive Oil: choose a high-quality olive oil to brown the meat and sauté the onions and garlic. This will only add to the flavor.
- Ground Beef: the type of ground beef is entirely up to and you can also switch out the ground beef for ground sausage.
- Yellow Onion: the onion brings a mild bite to the sauce that is a key flavor in spaghetti sauce.
- Garlic Cloves: these minced cloves bring the most powerful flavor that is so common in Italian recipes. Using freshly minced garlic will also bring about the best flavor.
- Tomato Paste: adding the tomato paste helps to thicken the sauce, but it also brings a strong flavor that is heightened when stirred in and cooked after the onions and garlic are cooked.
- Diced Tomatoes or Crushed Tomatoes: for a smoother sauce use crushed tomatoes and for a chunkier sauce go with diced tomatoes. Either one makes a delicious sauce.
- Water: this helps to bring the sauce together and you can use more or less to thicken it.
- Dried Oregano: this classic spice adds a peppery flavor to the sauce.
- Grated Parmesan Cheese: Adding parmesan cheese is optional, but strongly suggested for that delicious cheesy flavor.
- Fresh Basil: the fresh aroma of this peppery flavored leaf also adds a small hint of mint.
If You’re An Avid Pasta Lover Here’s One Tip You Can’t Miss
If youve ever whipped up a homemade tomato sauce only to find its searingly acidic, youre not alone. Thankfully, theres an easy fix. Sugar in spaghetti sauce is the secret ingredient that will transform a classic dish like spaghetti and meatballs into absolute perfection. This clever cooking hack can be used in a variety of homemade pasta sauce recipes, and its not much different from seasoning with a touch of salt.
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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.
How To Make Spaghetti Sauce
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What Can You Put In Your Homemade Spaghetti Sauce
One of the things I absolutely love about this recipe is it is so easy to customize. Want ground meat in your sauce? Add some. Want vegetables? Add some. Want a little extra garlic flavor? This sauce is a fantastic base to add whatever makes you happy. Here are a few suggestions:
- Italian sausage, brown ground sausage, drain the fat, and add it to your homemade spaghetti sauce during the last hour of simmer.
- Carrots and zucchini. Add them when you add the onions, dice them small, or use a grater to grate them. They add amazing flavor.
- Mushrooms! I love adding mushrooms to my sauce. Great when added at the same time as the onions.
- Whatever you like in your sauce.
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.
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