Growing up, spaghetti was one of my all-time favorite meals. I remember my parents making me and my sisters wear my dad’s old t-shirts over our clothes each time we would eat any kind of pasta with red sauce to prevent stains on our every day clothes. Now that I am grown, I realize that if we ate anything like my nephew, this was a wise decision.
Making spaghetti sauce from scratch always seemed like such a daunting task, so for years I opted for good old Ragu mixed with about a pound of seasoned, browned ground beef – which is definitely what I grew up eating so I was fine with it. In fact, you can ask almost all of my friends and I think that at least 75% of them could say that tipsy Han has whipped up some Ragu spaghetti for them after a night at the bars.
Almost to the point of being a huge inconvenience, I prefer to cook most things from scratch and eat processed foods minimally at home. Since we all had some free time in 2020, I decided to give homemade spaghetti sauce a whirl! I studied a multitude of different recipes and tested several combinations until I got it right – just like childhood, maybe better – and I haven’t used store-bought sauce in months!
Serve this flavorful sauce with your favorite pasta – spaghetti, penne, lasagna, ravioli, etc. and it’s sure to be a hit!
Be sure to comment and let me know what you think !
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 hours
Serves 6 people
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 3 anchovies
- 1 ½ pounds of ground beef
- 1 [6 oz] can tomato paste
- 1 [15 oz] can of whole peeled tomatoes
- ¼ cup red wine
- ¼ cup chicken or beef broth
- 2-3 Bay leaves
- 6-8 sprigs of thyme
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp italian seasoning
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp parsley flakes
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tbsp sugar
- ½ cup of half & half
- Pasta of choice, cooked according to package instructions
- Freshly grated parmesan
- Freshly chopped parsley flakes
- Over the stove on medium-high heat, drizzle a good amount of olive oil in a large saute pan or dutch oven. Add in diced onion and cook until translucent (about 3 minutes). Next, add in minced garlic and saute until fragrant (30-60 seconds).
- Add in anchovy filets and mash until they blend with the onion and garlic.
- Add the ground beef and break up with a wooden spoon or spatula. Cook until meat is brown all the way through and drain grease from pan. (Pro-tip: Always leave about 1 tbsp of grease to prevent the meat from drying out.)
- Add seasoning to the cooked beef – salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, parsley flakes, italian seasoning and oregano and stir to combine.
- Thoroughly mix tomato paste with beef, and begin hand crushing your tomatoes. (See tip #3.) Once you have crushed all of the tomatoes, pour in remaining tomato sauce from the can. Add in sugar and stir to combine.
- Add in broth and red wine and bring to a boil. Once the sauce is boiling, reduce to a simmer (medium-low heat) and add bay leaves and thyme. Cook covered and stirring occasionally for at least 4 hours – more if you like! (See tip # 4.)
- Cook in one pound of ground lamb meat or italian sausage for some added flavor. If you do this, reduce the amount of ground beef to one pound.
- You can also add any vegetables you like – sometimes I add in finely diced carrots or celery while sauteing the onion.
- You can certainly buy a 15 oz can of pre-crushed tomatoes, but I promise crushing them yourself will give you a much better result, especially if you enjoy a chunkier sauce. Plus, it’s way more fun!
- Although this sauce won’t reach it’s full potential without cooking for at least 4 hours, it is okay to cook it for a shorter period of time if you are in a rush. I would aim to allow the sauce to simmer for at least 30 minutes to ensure the flavors have melded together.