How to Make Spaghetti Sauce

There is no "right" method for how to make spaghetti sauce -- everyone has his own favorite recipe. Maybe your grandmother adds in fennel seeds or your mother grates a carrot into the pot or your sister-in-law throws in a pinch of sugar at the end. There are so many variations it's can be hard to choose a recipe to start with. Although many people use jarred sauce for convenience, homemade is so much better and you can adjust the seasonings to your liking, whether you want less salt or more garlic. This version of spaghetti sauce is authentic, easy to make, and delicious. Canned tomatoes work just as well when fresh tomatoes aren't in season, so this can be your go-to recipe year round.
Hi, I'm Miranda with, and today I'm gonna show you how to make fresh tomato sauce. Now, a good tomato sauce is at the heart of so many great meals; pizza, pasta, saute, vegetables, or soups. So, you can take advantage of the summer harvest freezing a nice batch of the sauce and you will be one step closer to a garden fresh meal. So, I have our ingredients all laid out here. Let's get started. We have 4-1/2 cups of plum tomatoes; a quarter cup of extra virgin olive oil; 3/4 cup of chopped garlic, it's about 2 heads. Then, we have 4 cups of diced onions, 1-1/2 teaspoons of salt, 1/4 cup of tomato paste, 1 teaspoon of dried oregano, 1/2 cup of red wine, 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar, 1/2 cup of wonderfully fresh chopped basil, and then freshly ground pepper to taste. Now, we have this large pot of water over here that's been brought to a boil. So, what I'm going to do is with this paring knife I'm going to start by coring the tomatoes. So, just making a little incision at the top, I'm just going kind of pop out literally the little core, this little steamy part just like that. So, see perfect, so get that out of the way. So, as what I did to the top, now I'm gonna score the bottom. So, we're just gonna make like a little x, and we've scored the bottom. Now, in batches, I'm going to transfer my tomatoes to the boiling water and I'm going to let them boil for 30 seconds to 2 minutes or until the skins have loosened. Okay, so my skins have loosened. I can start taking them out. I'm gonna use a slot spoon, so you can see how the skin has split. This is going to make peeling this abreast. So, I'm just going to give this a little ice bath. We're [unk] this. I have a large bowl here with ice water and I'm gonna let them sit in here for 1 minute until they're cold a little bit, and I'm ready to handle them. Okay, so, the next step, these have cold, we're are going to peel these. I have this nice bib bowl here and I have a sieve fashioned on top and using a paring knife, but honestly, I may not even really needing for this for coming off so well. We're just going to peel these and just let the peels fall in to the sieve, so perfect. Now, with the paring knife, we're just gonna cut this in half lengthwise and just with my hand like with a little cute little finger, I'm just gonna scoop out the seeds, perfect, and then scoop again, just kind of scoop this out until all the seeds out and then through the sieve, you can put your tomatoes to the side. You're just going to squeeze of all kind of any juice that you can of the seeds and out of the skins and just kind of push those to the bowl below, and then I'm gonna continue with the rest of your tomatoes. Okay, so look how much great juice I extracted from the seeds and the skins and then I just coarsely chop these tomatoes and we're ready to set this aside because we are now going to heat our oil. So I've got this large [unk] or you could use a Dutch oven, whichever. So, we're gonna heat this, pop our garlic in and stirring constantly, we're to cook the garlic for about 2 to 3 minutes or until it starts to color and get really fragrant. Already, it smells incredible. Alright, now check out my garlic, starting to get some color here, looks beautiful. Now, we're going to add in the onions and the salt, and I'm gonna pop a cover on this, stirring occasionally and I'm gonna let this cook until the onions are nice and tender about 10 to 15 minutes. Alright, check out our onions and garlic. They are wonderfully tender. The smell is just incredible in here. So, I know that it is time to add in my tomato paste and the oregano, and I'm gonna cook this in here also stirring occasionally for about 2 to 4 minutes or until the tomato paste begins to brown a little bit on the bottom. Alright, look how nice and kind of coating the bottom is getting a little bit, perfect. It's now time to add in the red wine and then the red wine vinegar, and we're gonna let this come to a simmer, which is doing nicely already until it reduced slightly about 2 minutes. So, that's reduced. It looks great. It is time to add in the tomatoes and that juice that we squeezed out. So, we're still leaving the basil and the pepper for later. We've not forgotten about them. Look at that and over there. Let's give this a nice stir to incorporate everything. I'm gonna cover this, reduce the heat, and let it just gently simmer for about 25 minutes or until the tomatoes have mostly broken down. Alright, so check out our tomato sauce. The tomatoes have broken down beautifully. This looks fantastic, smell even better. Do not forget about our basil. We're just gonna sprinkle that right in. Give it a nice toss. Make sure our heat is off, fantastic. I cannot express how good this smells, but I will stop trying because our very last step is to puree this. So depending upon the consistency that you like, you are going to either puree all of this in a food processor or blender. I'm gonna use a food processor here of if you like your sauce to be a little bit kind of chunky like I do, you'll just puree half like I about to do, and then just mix the pureed part back in. Oh my gosh, so good, so exciting, and then you'll be good to go. So, I'm just gonna give this a few pushes, and if you're working with a food processor, always make sure that you pay attention line where it says max liquid line. That is an important thing to know. And so you'll just do this in batches, but for me because I want it to stay kind of chunky, I'm just gonna puree this a little bit. Lift this up and I'm just going to add it right back in, remove the blade, look at that. Look how gorgeous. Now, I could have mixed even longer, but that will give it a really nice texture. Its consistency is amazing. It smells fantastic. I'm so excited. So, I'm going to enjoy some of these tonight maybe over some pasta and freeze the rest. So, I can enjoy fresh tomato sauce all year long.

What You'll Need

  • 1   cup chopped onion (1 large)

  • 1/2  cup chopped green sweet pepper

  • 1/4  cup chopped celery

  • 2   cloves garlic, minced

  • 1   tablespoon cooking oil

  • 4   cups chopped, peeled tomato (6 large) or two 14.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes, undrained

  • 1  6  ounce can tomato paste

  • 1/3  cup water

  • 2   tablespoons snipped fresh parsley

  • 1   tablespoon snipped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil, crushed

  • 1   tablespoon snipped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed

  • 2   teaspoons snipped fresh marjoram or 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram, crushed

  • 1   teaspoon sugar

  • 1/2  teaspoon salt

  • 1/4  teaspoon black pepper

  • 8   ounces dried spaghetti or linguine

  •  Finely shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)

Step By Step

In a Dutch oven cook onion, sweet pepper, celery, and garlic in hot oil until vegetables are tender.
Stir in the tomato, tomato paste, water, parsley, dried herbs (if using), sugar, salt, and black pepper. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Uncover and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes more or to desired consistency, stirring occasionally. Stir in fresh herbs, if using.
Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Serve sauce over hot cooked pasta. If desired, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

  • Big-Batch Spaghetti Sauce: Prepare as above, except use a large Dutch oven and 2 cups chopped onion, 1 cup chopped sweet pepper, 1/2 cup chopped celery, 4 cloves garlic, 2 tablespoons cooking oil, 8 cups tomato or two 28-ounce cans diced tomatoes, one 6-ounce can tomato paste, 2/3 cup water, 1/4 cup fresh parsley, 2 tablespoons fresh basil or 2 teaspoons dried basil, 2 tablespoons fresh oregano or 2 teaspoons dried oregano, 1 tablespoon fresh marjoram or 1 teaspoon dried marjoram, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until desired consistency. Serve as directed.
    To Freeze: Place sauce in freezer containers. Seal and freeze up to 3 months. To use, thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Transfer to saucepan and heat through.
    Per 2/3 cup sauce: 110 cal., 4 g total fat (1 g sat. fat), 0 mg chol., 322 mg sodium, 17 g carbo., 4 g fiber, 4 g pro.
    Daily Values: 36% vit. A, 76% vit. C, 4% calcium, 7% iron
    Exchanges: 1 1/2 Vegetable, 1/2 Other Carbohydrate, 1/2 Fat

  • Spaghetti Sauce with Ground Beef or Sausage: Prepare as above, except omit the oil. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven cook 12 ounces ground beef or pork sausage with the onion, sweet pepper, celery, and garlic until meat is brown. Drain. Continue as directed in Step 2.
    Per serving: 459 cal., 12 g total fat (4 g sat. fat), 53 mg chol., 386 mg sodium, 62 g carbo., 7 g fiber, 28 g pro.
    Daily Values: 28% vit. A, 104% vit. C, 5% calcium, 31% iron
    Exchanges: 3 1/2 Starch, 2 Vegetable, 2 Medium Fat Meat, 1 Fat
  • Spaghetti Sauce with Meatballs: Prepare sauce as above. Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine 1 egg; 3/4 cup soft bread crumbs (1 slice); 1/4 cup finely chopped onion; 2 tablespoons finely chopped green sweet pepper; 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed; and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add 12 ounces ground beef or bulk pork sausage; mix well. Shape into 24 meatballs. Arrange meatballs in a 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Bake in a 350 degrees F oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until done (160 degrees F). Drain. Serve with sauce and hot pasta.
    Nutrition Facts per serving: 535 cal., 17 g total fat (5 g sat. fat), 107 chol., 593 mg sodium, 67 g carbo., 7 g fiber, 31 g pro.
    Daily Values: 30% vit. A, 112% vit. C, 7% calcium, 34% iron
    Exchanges: 3 1/2 Starch, 2 Vegetable, 2 Medium-Fat Meat, 1 Fat
Learning how to make spaghetti sauce is one of those skills that every home cook should master, because you'll use it over and over again. After all, who would pass up a bowl of pasta topped with a rich, old-world spaghetti sauce?

nutrition information

Per Serving: cal. (kcal) 325, Fat, total (g) 5, sat. fat (g) 1, carb. (g) 62, Monounsaturated fat (g) 2, Polyunsaturated fat (g) 2, fiber (g) 7, sugar (g) 12, pro. (g) 12, vit. A (IU) 1361, vit. C (mg) 61, Thiamin (mg) 0, Riboflavin (mg) 0, Niacin (mg) 3, Pyridoxine (Vit. B6) (mg) 0, Folate (g) 56, sodium (mg) 342, Potassium (mg) 637, calcium (mg) 50, iron (mg) 4, Vegetables () 2, Starch () 3, Fat () 1, Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet
Back to Top