Spaghetti was one of my favorite meals when I was a kid. I remember being so excited for dinner when there was a big pot of this meaty tomato sauce sputtering and bubbling on the stove. And you know how there are things that your family does that you don’t know are super weird until you discover that nobody else’s family does them??
Well, apparently normal people don’t eat Italian bread with a big smear of peanut butter on it alongside their spaghetti, but that’s what I grew up with. (It’s generational weirdness – my Papa was the only person in my dad’s family who liked butter, so the rest of them ate peanut butter on their bread, and my dad brought the tradition to our family!)
My three-year-old gets as excited as I
did do about spaghetti for dinner, and it’s hard to beat pasta for a super-speedy meal. I usually have a jar of store-bought marinara around for making pita pizzas for lunch or a quick kid dinner when we’re going out, but if I’m going to eat a bowl of spaghetti I want it to be covered in this sauce. And once you make a big batch and freeze a few containers of spaghetti sauce for later, it’s just as easy as opening a jar – and so much more delicious!
Start by browning the ground beef (or turkey!) with onions and garlic.
Open and dump in canned tomatoes: diced, crushed, paste, and sauce, and then some herbs and seasonings.
Then – simmer! After an hour or so, you could really eat this stuff with a spoon and call it a meal – as the sauce cooks down, all the flavors…the onions, the basil, the oregano…deepen and mingle. And the texture! This isn’t sauce that will slip down off your noodles and puddle sadly in the bottom of your bowl. It’s thick and meaty and…yum.
I’m usually trying to be virtuous, and I do like the whole wheat pasta that dominates my pantry, but I love angel hair. You can use whatever pasta you like (or spaghetti squash or green beans for a paleo or low-carb option, or pile it onto these Italian zucchini boats!). We love our spaghetti with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.
So whether you’re a garlic bread person or a peanut butter bread person (or…a crusty no-knead bread with salty honey butter person!) fill your freezer and your tummy with my favorite homemade spaghetti sauce!Print
- 1.5-2 lbs ground beef (or ground turkey)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 28 oz canned crushed tomatoes
- 28 oz canned diced tomatoes (or more crushed if you prefer a less-chunky sauce)
- 15-16 oz canned tomato sauce
- 12 oz canned tomato paste
- 1 Tablespoon salt
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 Tablespoons dried parsley
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or more if you want some heat!)
- Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add half of the ground beef and let it brown, stirring and breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Remove it to a bowl and add the rest of the meat. After a minute of letting it begin to brown, add the onions and garlic, stirring and breaking up the meat until it is cooked through. Drain the fat if needed (I use lean beef and don’t find this necessary), and add the first half of the meat back to the pot.
- Add canned tomatoes and seasonings. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 1-1.5 hours, stirring occasionally (a piece of foil wrapped around the top of your pot is a helpful splatter-guard). It can stick and burn on the bottom if it’s turned up too high or you don’t stir enough, so err on the side of keeping the temperature low!
This recipe is from my Nana, who also brought us potato soup!
I typically divide the sauce into thirds and freeze two containers (so each time we eat it, it’s enough to feed our family for dinner plus leftovers for lunches).