Homemade Spaghetti Sauce – quick and easy recipe

The internet is an amazing place. Full of (recipe) fact and fiction. Particularly when it comes to homemade Spaghetti Sauce Recipes. Many of which claim they are “the recipe to die for”

In Italy, because a homemade spaghetti sauce is so regional there is no such thing as a right or wrong. BTW, there are 20 regions in Italy. Homemade spaghetti sauce is a/k/a “gravy” and “ragù” (with meat). Each region often adds its own twist to a recipe. There are so many American versions of a homemade spaghetti sauce recipe. And many are so far afield they don’t approximate ANY regional recipe. They are purely American recipe inventions. And they lack the heart and soul of any of the authentic homemade spaghetti sauce versions.

Here are two of the stupidest homemade spaghetti sauce recipes I’ve seen.  As opposed to dying for these, you might want to kill instead.

One is a YouTube video. In this video the “chef” mixes up a recipe with umpteen different spices and herbs. And also adds ground turkey. He calls it a meat sauce recipe. This chef would be hung by dawn if he tried this on anyone in Italy.

The other recipe is from a web site that is the first Google search result when you type in “spaghetti sauce recipe”.  In their purportedly “authentic” homemade recipe these incompetents direct you to add everything but the kitchen sink. That includes Worcestershire sauce and vinegar. Sounds like a ketchup recipe to me.


I’m not sure if either recipe wins the award. For what? For stupidest homemade spaghetti sauce recipe. But it’s a close race. Here’s as simple, inexpensive, and easy as a homemade spaghetti sauce recipe gets.

Homemade Spaghetti Ragù (with meat) Recipe – serves 8 (approx. $1.00 per serving)

  • 1 lb. ground beef.
  • 1 lb. ground pork.
  • 4 Medium White Onions chopped fine.
  • 3 28 oz. cans crushed tomatoes. Preferably packed without citric acid.
  • Olive Oil – six tablespoons.
  • Sugar – two tablespoons.
  • Sea Salt – one tablespoon.
  • Black Pepper – two teaspoons.
  • 1 1/2  lb. Spaghetti or Macaroni.

Brown the onions in the six tablespoons of olive oil until dark brown. Add the ground beef and pork. Sauté until it loses it red color. That takes several minutes. Add the tomatoes, sweetener, salt, black pepper. Stir. Bring to a boil. Then lower the heat to a medium simmer. Then cook this homemade spaghetti sauce for approximately 30 minutes. Stir regularly.

When the ragù is finished, cook the spaghetti or macaroni until extra firm or al dente. Be sure to use salted water. This means far less time (see our Pasta-101) than the cooking instructions on the box call for.

Drain the spaghetti. Add two large ladles of the ragù sauce to the same pasta pan over a low heat. Then return the drained spaghetti to the pan and toss. Much like you would a large salad. Make sure all the spaghetti is covered in the homemade spaghetti sauce. Add more as needed. But not so much the spaghetti is swimming or dripping in it. Serve spaghetti with several additional spoonfuls of the homemade spaghetti sauce on top of each dish. And add a heavy dusting of either Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

NO dried herbs, particularly oregano. That’s for a pizza sauce recipe only. Trust me. And NEVER, EVER, mix onion and garlic in the same recipe. Either ONE or the OTHER, but not both in the same recipe.  Period. It’s simple things like this that make American tourists swoon about the food in Italy.

Hope you enjoy this Homemade Spaghetti Sauce recipe!

Written by Dino Romano, former Pasta Channel writer, Italian cook extraordinaire, entrepreneur and raconteur. Has taken Kyle Phillips (former principle/writer for About.com Guide to Italian Food) to task on several supposed “authentic” Italian recipes.

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

10 thoughts on “Homemade Spaghetti Sauce – quick and easy recipe

  1. Bravo! You deserve to be commended for clearing this up! Two things make Italian cooking; Fresh – and simple. And you got it! Thanks for a great blog. I just discovered it and plan to keep on visiting!

  2. Thanks for the recipe! Growing up in America, I can’t say that I haven’t grown accustomed to the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink pasta sauce recipe, but I did go to to Italy and food did seem to be fresh and simple. It will be hard for me to omit the garlic from the recipe. Very hard, but I will try. Also, I’m happy to hear you aren’t opposed to a bit of sugar in the recipe. I always add a little and it really rounds out the flavors. There have been times when the tomatoes were sweet enough that I didn’t need the extra sugar in the recipe, but usually I add it.

  3. I know sugar is just a matter of taste, and I advocate eating what pleases you. Sometimes we can be such food snobs, that we forget not everyone has the same taste buds. But Sugar is not a traditional ingredient for a tomato sauce recipe. It’s an insult to tomatoes!

  4. I agree completely that fresh ingredients and simplicity are keys to real Italian cuisine. All my grandparents were born in Rome and my husband is an Italian citizen, from Ascoli Piceno in the Le Marche region. He’s also a fabulous cook! We therefore cook a lot of homemade authentic Italian recipes at home and spend a lot of time dining with family and friends in Italy. I have eaten countless authentic homemade Italian dishes with garlic and onions combined in the same recipe so I’m curious why you advise that garlic and onions are never to be used together in the same recipe.


  5. Thank you for the homemade recipe tips. You did leave out one very important recipe tip to make sure the serving plates are warm.

  6. I have been to Italy many times. It is at the top of my list of places to travel. We love the food and the simplicity of it. I would visit Italy every year if my budget allowed.

    I also add sugar to my spaghetti recipe and I am glad to know about oregano. I also saute Portobello mushrooms in olive oil with onions in my recipe.

  7. Three points on the homemade recipe:

    Onion and garlic are used in the same soffrtitto in some regions.

    I wouldn’t advise using sugar in the recipe. Sugar is considered too aggressive a sweetener, or even an insult to the tomatoes, by many Italians. Besides, adding it to the recipe (to not quite sweet enough tomatoes) will bring out their acidity: just as lemon juice added to strawberries – a very Italian practice – brings out their sweetness.

    Dried oregano is often used for making tomato sauce with canned tomatoes (home canned or store bought). Mainly in Sicily and certainly no further North than Naples. It is unheard of in the cuisines of the center and of the North.

  8. I have to disagree I have always used sugar and I chochlate bar dark,i also do not cook with salt so I cut a potatoe in half so it can drain all the natural salt out the sugar makes it sweet exspecially with my homemade sweet Italian sausage, also I make my metaballs with turkey, veal,sirlion,grd,homemade Italian bread crumbs,1egg 1/2cp milk for the balls than I boil 8eggs peel off the sheelsand simmer inmy sausce for 3 days if my spoon doesn’t stand up straight than it is not done next time I tell you how I make my homemade sauce than take the eggs out and put in side dish with my sause for soko to dip the eggs are pickled in the sausce than I make my home made sour bread, spread olive oil,sweet basil,sweetcream butter,and 1/2cp garlic than 5different cheeses bake for 15to 20minutes bon appetite im 100%italian so no snotty remarks the sugar was passed from 5generations as well as the dark chochlate and the half potatoe any comments you have my email chiao

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