Spaghetti Sauce Recipe

Heather says:

My inner twelve-year-old is having a field day as I try to describe this spaghetti sauce without sounding like a pervert. In fact, I give completely up, snicker away, it’s a thick and meaty sauce that is perfect over spaghetti noodles or sauteed vegetables for the gluten free and low carb crowd. Personally, I prefer zucchini and yellow squash with garlic rather than spaghetti squash.

I frequently double this recipe, just remember you’ll need a large pot. Freeze the leftovers flat in zippered freezer bags or in freezer safe mason jars.

Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

: Spaghetti Sauce

: Thick and Meaty Spaghetti Sauce 

  • 1 lb hot or mild bulk Italian sausage
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 onion, diced 
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic – minced
  • 1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 6oz can tomato paste
  • 2 6.5oz can tomato sauce (or just use one 15oz one, it’s not critical)
  • 2 TBSP white sugar (cuts the acidity of the sauce, omit if you use seasoned tomatoes as they frequently already contain sugar)
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried basil (or use 2 – 3x as much fresh
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper

 Spaghetti Sauce Directions:

  • In a large, heavy pot brown the beef and sausage over medium heat, drain and set aside. I set the meat on paper towels to soak up any remaining grease. Do not wash the pot, all of the browned bits from the beef and sausage add flavor to the final sauce.
  • Place the pot back on the burner over medium heat and add the diced onion, diced bell pepper, dried basil (wait if you are using fresh), Italian seasoning, fennel, salt, and pepper. Once the onion begins to soften, add the minced garlic.
  • To the onions, garlic, and seasoning add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, sugar and if you choose, fresh basil. Return the meat to the pot, stir until well combined and lower the heat to low.
  • Cover and simmer for 1 – 1.5 hours. Alternately, place all the ingredients in a large crockpot and cook on low all day.


Serve over sauteed vegetables for a gluten free option. Toss with cooked elbow noodles, ziti, or rigatoni, cover with cheese and bake until bubbly for a simple variation.

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Cooking time: 1 hour(s) 30 minute(s)

Culinary tradition: USA (General)


Spaghetti with Meat Sauce


  1. KateNolan on October 24, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    Traditional or not, I’m making some and stocking my freezer. Always need some meat sauce handy. (and insert 12 year old giggle.)

    • HeatherSolos on October 25, 2011 at 6:40 am

      @KateNolan at least I’m in good company. Yes, every omnivore’s freezer should have plenty of meat sauce.

  2. HeatherSolos on October 24, 2011 at 7:57 am

    @MommyNamedApril how the heck are you? It’s been a while

    • MommyNamedApril on October 24, 2011 at 8:01 am

      @HeatherSolos craaaanky. LOL. never see you on Skype anymore 🙁

  3. stark23x on October 23, 2011 at 8:21 am

    My old Italian grandparents would rant and rave for hours about how the Irish and Polish ruined good Italian sauce with sugar.Which generally turned into a rant about how the reason I was a rotten kid was the half of me that is Irish. 🙂

    Their secret was lower simmer & longer time. Now, when I say “time” I mean the sauce was started at 6 am and you were lucky if you could eat it by 8 pm. Me ole’ gran once did a 48 hour simmer on a vat of sauce.

    Of course the other side of that is my old Italian aunt, sister to the aforementioned grandmother, put raisins in her meatballs, which made her the black sheep. These people were crazy, is what I’m saying. 😉

    • HeatherSolos on October 23, 2011 at 8:24 am

      @stark23x you did read the culinary tradition above, right? There wasn’t one claim that this was traditional 🙂

      I was in an airport bar in Chicago having a beer and talking to another traveler about food and cooking. Apparently I was being a bit enthusiastic with the “gesticulating” as a passerby interrupted our conversation to ask if I was Italian.

      • stark23x on October 23, 2011 at 12:34 pm

        @HeatherSolos I’m a handsy talker too. I blame the maternal half.

        BTW, I’m totally fine with the shortcut of a bit of sugar to cut the acid in the sauce. I do, however, draw the line at cutting spaghetti. It’s a bone of contention with the Mrs. She’s a cutter. I say learn to twirl or eat elbows. 🙂

        • bookchick on October 24, 2011 at 1:35 pm

          @stark23x @HeatherSolos My father is a ‘spaghetti cutter’. I think it was 4 or 5 years after they got married when he finally figured out why his (irish) mother’s spagetti was shorter than his (italian) wife’s spaghetti. Grammie used to break it before it even went in the pot.
          He still can’t twirl his spaghetti, but several years ago my mom bought him a twirling fork. It has a little handle on the end that makes the tines turn in a circle so he can ‘twirl’ his spaghetti

        • bookchick on October 24, 2011 at 1:35 pm

          @stark23x @HeatherSolos Oh & I had to read that last sentence about 5 times beofre I realized elbows=elbow noodles, not actual human elbows. 🙂 What can I say it’s Monday

        • HeatherSolos on October 24, 2011 at 2:59 pm

          @bookchick@stark23x Have another cup of coffee. Heck, I’m thinking of brewing an extra pot today.

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