Nothing beats a homemade spaghetti sauce recipe that is made with fresh ingredients and has been simmering for hours. My mom made this sauce growing up and I’ve been using her spaghetti sauce recipe for decades. This homemade spaghetti sauce recipe is made with ground beef, onions, celery, mushrooms, green peppers, and canned plum tomatoes.
I suppose you could call this a Bolognese spaghetti sauce recipe because it does create a rich and hearty meat sauce. But, at my house, we always simply called it spaghetti sauce. Once you make a homemade spaghetti sauce using your favorite spaghetti sauce recipe and see how easy it is to make, I think you’ll agree that there isn’t a reason to buy jarred tomato sauces. It can be time-consuming but the great thing about spaghetti sauce is that it freezes well so feel free to double or even triple the recipe.
What’s the difference between spaghetti, bolognese, or marinara sauce?
Spaghetti, bolognese, and marinara sauces all have one thing in common: They all have a tomato sauce as a base but that’s where the similarities end. Spaghetti sauce recipes generally have a variety of different ingredients like ground beef, pork, sausage, and vegetables.
On the other hand, bolognese is a meat-based sauce that originates from Bologna, Italy. It traditionally contains pancetta or bacon, ground beef, onions, carrots, and celery. In fact, onions, carrots, and celery is often regarded as the holy trinity when preparing many Italian dishes and sauces.
Lastly, marinara sauce is a tomato-based sauce that contains garlic, onions, and herbs like oregano, basil, and parsley. It’s common to see this type of sauce served with seafood like shrimp but it can be used on any type of pasta.
The main ingredients you’ll need to create this delicious spaghetti sauce recipe.
Making homemade spaghetti with a spaghetti sauce recipe doesn’t need to be complicated. All you need is some time and fresh quality ingredients. For this spaghetti sauce recipe, you’ll need onions, celery, green peppers, mushrooms, garlic, ground beef, canned whole tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, olive oil, along with a few spices.
What are the best tomatoes to use?
For this homemade spaghetti sauce recipe, I prefer to use canned plum tomatoes. They are packed with flavor and make for a thick sauce. You could also use crushed tomatoes or even whole peeled tomatoes that you then chop up.
One tip when choosing canned tomatoes: Avoid buying canned tomatoes that include calcium chloride if cooking a tomato sauce. Calcium chloride is a firming agent that is often added to diced tomatoes so that they remain “diced” when cooking; however, some companies do add it to canned whole tomatoes. But, most companies don’t because whole tomatoes are generally meant to break down as you cook them.
If you want to go the fresh route, use around 28 ounces of fresh tomatoes. You’ll need to blanch them first and then peel off the skins. I’ve found that using a food mill makes this process much easier.
How to make homemade spaghetti sauce:
First, you’ll want to start prepping your vegetables. Start by chopping the onions, celery, and green peppers. Next, we’ll slice the mushrooms and mince the garlic. Now, we’re ready to cook!
1) Place your pot or pan on medium heat and add olive oil along with the onions, celery, green peppers, and mushrooms. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook until the onions are translucent.
2) Add the ground beef and stir until browned.
In order to help break down ground beef, I sometimes add 1/2 cup of water. This helps separate the ground beef and prevents any meat chunks from forming when cooking. But generally, if you keep stirring while the meat is cooking, it cooks evenly.
3) Next, add the whole tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, minced garlic, and water.
Don’t worry about breaking up the tomatoes, as they cook, they’ll slowly get so soft that they’ll break down when you stir the sauce.
4) Add all spices, bring to a boil, then simmer, covered, on low heat.
If you’re rushed for time, you can always cook the sauce uncovered on medium heat while stirring often; however, slowly simmering the sauce on low heat for 2 hours will let the sauce develop rich flavors from all the ingredients. There should be enough moisture in the sauce to prevent sticking but it’s always a good idea to give it a good stir every 15-30 minutes.
5) After simmering for 2 hours, the sauce should be thick and ready to serve! I hope you enjoyed this spaghetti sauce recipe!
This simple spaghetti sauce recipe creates enough spaghetti sauce for 1 1/2 pounds of dried pasta and is good enough to serve 5 to 6 people generously.
How Long Does Spaghetti Last In the Fridge?
If you have any leftover spaghetti sauce, it will last in the fridge for 3-4 days. Be sure to store it in an airtight container so that it doesn’t dry out. You can also freeze spaghetti sauce for up to 6 months.
Tips for Freezing Spaghetti Sauce
The best way to freeze spaghetti sauce is by portioning it into freezer-safe bags or containers. I like to portion the sauce into 1 1/2-cup servings, which is generally enough for one 12-ounce serving of dried pasta.
Once you’ve portioned the sauce, lay the bags or containers flat on a baking sheet, and label the bags or containers with the date so you can keep track of how long it’s been in the freezer. Carefully place them in the freezer. Once the sauce is frozen, you can stack the bags or containers on top of each other. Stored this way, spaghetti sauce can be kept in the freezer for up to 6 months.
How to Reheat Frozen Spaghetti Sauce
When you’re ready to use the sauce, simply thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and then reheat it on the stove over medium heat. You can also reheat it in the microwave but I find that the sauce can sometimes get watery when reheated this way.
How to Can Spaghetti Sauce
If you want to can your spaghetti sauce, be sure to use a water bath canner. This type of canner will heat the sauce to a high enough temperature to kill any bacteria that could cause food poisoning.
To can your sauce, start by sterilizing the jars and lids in boiling water. Then, fill the jars with sauce, leaving about 1/2 inch of headspace at the top. There are a lot of chopped vegetables in this spaghetti sauce so be sure to wipe the rims of the jars clean before attaching the lids to ensure a tight seal.
Once the jars are filled and sealed, place them in the canner and cover them with water. Bring the water to a boil and let the sauce cook for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, turn off the heat and let the canner cool for 5 minutes. Then, remove the jars from the canner and let them cool on a towel.
Once the jars are cooled, check the seals to make sure they are intact. If a seal is broken, the sauce can be stored in the fridge and used within a few days.
Store canned spaghetti sauce in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year.
There are so many different ways that you can change up this homemade spaghetti sauce recipe. Here are a few ideas:
- Substitute 1 cup of red wine instead of water for a deeper flavor.
- Use ground turkey or chicken instead of beef.
- Swap out the mushrooms for another type of vegetable like zucchini or eggplant.
- Stir in a spoonful of pesto for a bright flavor.
- Make it spicy by increasing the amount of crushed red pepper flakes or adding diced jalapeños.
- Use fresh chopped herbs like basil, oregano, or parsley instead of using dried herbs.
- Use fire-roasted tomatoes for a smoky flavor.
If you enjoyed this easy spaghetti sauce recipe, please check out this recipe for Cajun chicken alfredo pasta with broccoli.
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