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Published January 10, 2020. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
Get in on my famous Italian family’s recipe for homemade spaghetti meat sauce that is hands down the best Ragu around.
Spaghetti sauce is one of those staple Italian family recipes passed down from generation to generation. There really is no need ever to buy this pre-made because it’s incredibly easy to make and far better than anything from the store. Homemade food from scratch just tastes so much better.
What’s the Difference Between This and Marinara?
The biggest difference between this and a marinara sauce is that marinara is vegetarian and has fewer ingredients. While a spaghetti sauce can also be meatless, it tends to have a few more items, such as:
- Balsamic Vinegar (optional)
How Long Does It Take to Make?
Just like with soup, this sauce will get better with time. It can simply be ready to eat in under 70 minutes, but if you let it simmer for several hours over low heat, the ingredients will have more time to infuse, making the overall flavor more intense and delicious. It will be far better the next day if you can wait that long.
How to Make Spaghetti Sauce
Follow these very easy steps below:
- Caramelize the medium diced onions in olive oil for 30-35 minutes or until very browned on low heat.
- Add minced garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes or until you smell it.
- Deglaze with red wine and cook until the amount of liquid is reduced by ½.
- Add in the Italian sausage and ground sirloin and turn the heat to medium and cook until no pink is in it. Stir often to break up any large chunks.
- Add in plum tomatoes, dry basil, and dry oregano and stew over low heat for as little as 10 minutes and as much as 8 hours.
- Finish by adding grated cheeses, chopped parsley, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. You also may need to thicken it with tomato paste to get it to your desired thickness.
- Toss with cooked spaghetti noodles and serve.
I cannot stress enough that the longer it cooks, the better it will taste. Also, note that the thickness of it the sauce is completely up to you.
Spaghetti Sauce Made With No Meat
To make a sauce with no meat, simply skip over the procedure of adding meat and go right into adding tomatoes. Simply work the rest of the way through the recipe procedures.
In addition, if you’re looking for a basic tomato sauce, please check out my Pomodoro sauce recipe.
Make-Ahead and Storage
How to Reheat: Add your desired amount to a medium-size pot and cook over low heat until hot. You can also reheat in a microwave-safe bowl until hot.
How to Store: To store the spaghetti sauce, cool it in an ice bath in your sink or transfer to a refrigerator and cool it uncovered until it is cold, about 3-4 hours. Cover it and keep it in there for up to 5 days.
How to Freeze: This will also freeze well covered for up to 3 months. Thaw for 1 day in the refrigerator before reheating.
Make-Ahead: You can make this up to 2 days before serving it. Keep it in the refrigerator until 1 hour before serving it, and reheat it until hot in a pot.
chef notes + tips
- This recipe makes a lot, so please hover your mouse over the servings amount and scale it up or down to fit your desired needs.
More Amazing Italian Recipes
Homemade Spaghetti Sauce Recipe
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 peeled and medium diced white onions
- 10 cloves of finely minced garlic
- 1 cup cabernet sauvignon
- 2 pounds loose mild Italian sausage
- 2 pounds ground sirloin
- 109 ounces san Marzano whole peeled tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons dry oregano
- ¼ cup dry basil
- 1 ½ cups each grated pecorino Romano and parmigiana Reggiano cheese
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- ½ cup chopped Italian parsley
- sugar to taste
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- optional ½ cup tomato paste
- Add the olive oil to a very large pot over low heat and cook the onions until they are deep brown and caramelized, which takes about 30 minutes.
- Add in the garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes.
- Deglaze with red wine and cook until the amount of liquid is reduced by one-half, about 5-7 minutes.
- Place in the sausage and ground sirloin and cook over medium heat until it is cooked throughout. There should be no pink while stirring often to break up any large chunks.
- While the meat is cooking, crush the whole peeled tomatoes with your hands to bite size pieces.
- Put in the tomatoes, oregano, and basil and cook over low heat for 30 minutes.
- Finish by stirring in the cheeses, parsley, and balsamic vinegar and adjusting the seasonings with salt and pepper as well as sugar, if needed.
- Lastly, thicken it by stirring in tomato paste until it is to your desired thickness. This is optional.
- Toss with cooked spaghetti and serve.