Spaghetti Sauce

My husband loves spaghetti. So much so that I think he would eat it every day if he could. My mom would make hers with meatballs that had been slow-simmered in the sauce. Today I am going to cover the sauce portion of the recipe, meatballs will be another post at some point in the future.

The ingredients for this recipe are simple. Stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, onion, garlic, and a few herbs and spices. Ideally, I’d be wanting to use tomato products from the garden, but I don’t have any this year, so canned will do. Please note that I am making a DOUBLE batch in my photos, so double the recipe at the end if you want to match the photos.

Spaghetti Sauce Ingredients
Spaghetti Sauce Ingredients

The first step, and for me usually the worst, is chopping up the onion. I must be one of those people overly-sensitive to onions, because I can’t cut one without tearing so bad that I can’t see, necessitating multiple pauses to get away from the onion and clean up my eyes with water and paper towels. I may get some of those swim goggles to try wearing for chopping. I may look ridiculous, but if it helps me to see….

Chopping Onion
Chopping Onion

Once the eye-burning part is over, the recipe goes together pretty easily. Place your olive oil in a pot, and add the onion and garlic. I like to use a non-stick pot for making this sauce, it can stick and burn on the bottom otherwise if you’re not careful.

Onion and Garlic in Oil
Onion and Garlic in Oil

Set your heat to about medium and cook and stir the aromatics until they are translucent. All recipes say that, but I’ve never really figured out what translucent means. I just cook them until they turn the color of the oil, soften a little bit, and smell really good, maybe 5 minutes or so. If the garlic starts to brown, it’s time to move on.

Cooked Onions
Cooked Onions

Next add all the tomato ingredients.

Tomatoes Added
Tomatoes Added

Next up are the herbs. I usually add a handful each of dried basil and parsley flakes per batch. (See my chicken soup post about how I measure by handful.) At this point you can add any additional herbs or veggies you might like to your sauce, like oregano, mushrooms, etc.

Herbs Added
Herbs Added

Stir everything together so it’s smooth. At this point I also add salt and sugar, and sometimes some grated parmesan cheese. Then add water to the sauce, enough so the sauce is just a tad runny. As the sauce cooks it will thicken, so if you don’t add water you’ll have paste at the end. Turn the heat down to medium-low, cover, and let it simmer for 30 minutes to an hour, or until the sauce is the consistency you want. Mine averages around 40 minutes.

Cover and Simmer
Cover and Simmer

While the sauce is simmering, you can bring another pot of water to a boil for your pasta. I normally use regular spaghetti noodles, and I boil mine for about 10 minutes. I really don’t like al-dente pasta, so I tend to overcook mine just a bit, but I like it that way.

Boiled Pasta
Boiled Pasta

Some recipes will have you add oil or salt to the pasta water, and I’ve tried that but never noticed any difference in the texture or taste of my pasta, and it never seemed ot help with sitcking, so I don’t bother. I use a metal pot and stir the pasta frequently with tongs while it cooks, and that’s the only way I’ve found to really stop sticking. Put some pasta on a plate, top with sauce and cheese, and serve with some sort of bread. I prefer a nice italian or french bread with mine, if I have any. Garlic Texas toast is nice, too.

Finished Spagetti
Finished Spagetti

Easy Spaghetti Sauce

3 tablespoons of olive oil
3-4 cloves of garlic
1 16-ounce can of stewed tomatoes or crushed tomatoes
2 6-ounce cans of tomato paste
1 8-ounce can of tomato sauce
1 tablespoon each dried basil and parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon of sugar, or to taste

In a large pot, heat the oil and saute onion and garlic until just soft but not brown. You can use onions, mushrooms, peppers, or any other vegetables as desired as well. Add all tomato ingredients and mix smooth while heating. Add herbs as desired. Add water until sauce is just shy of thick. Add salt and sugar to taste. Cover and reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 45 minutes and serve over pasta. Serves 6-8.