Spaghetti Sauce

spaghetti sauce 4OK, so yes, technically, I didn’t use actual spaghetti pasta when I made/photographed this. But, it’s a red, tomato based meat sauce that goes on top of noodles which in my opinion, equals spaghetti sauce. Call it what you want, I call it yummy.

The key to this sauce is letting it simmer and cook down. This is what I think is the spaghetti secret. For those of you who’ve had spaghetti where the sauce is a bit watery and leaching out liquid all over the plate, well, that’s no good. But if you let the sauce cook longer, the flavors develop MORE and the end result is a thicker, heartier sauce that doesn’t taste like liquid tomato. Sad to say, but I’ve actually eaten at restaurants that serve their spaghetti just like that! And I’m sure you have too.

Even though you need to let this simmer, this recipe for me is just about the easiest thing you can make. And a good spaghetti recipe is something everyone needs to know. So for you new cooks just starting out (or seasoned veterans), this one’s a keeper!

Spaghetti Sauce

  • 1 lb. Italian sausage, bulk (or 1/2 pound each of ground pork & ground beef)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 8 ounces crimini mushrooms, sliced (that’s a whole package)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 c. red or white wine (whatever you have on hand that’s open)
  • 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
  • 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/8 tsp. salt (if using ground pork & ground beef) OR 1/4 tsp. salt (if using Italian sausage)
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning

In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat over medium. Once hot, add in the Italian sausage. Cook until almost fully browned, stirring occasionally and add in the onion and bell pepper. Stir together and let cook for about 3-4 minutes. Add in the mushrooms and garlic. Cook for 1 more minute. Then add in the wine. Stir, making sure to scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. Let cook for 1-2 minutes or until wine has slightly reduced. Then add in both cans of tomatoes and seasonings. Once sauce starts bubbling, add in the parmesan cheese and stir together until it has melted. Reduce heat to a simmer and leave uncovered on the stovetop for approximately 1 1/2-2 hours, or until it has reduced and reached a thicker sauce stage. Serve over spaghetti or your favorite pasta.

spaghetti sauce 3spaghetti saucespaghetti sauce 2spaghetti sauce 5*This also freezes exceptionally well! So once it’s cooled, you can pop it into a plastic freezer container (even a gallon sized Ziploc freezer bag works great, but make sure to lay flat on top of something) and place in the freezer. I heart having this type of stuff already made and waiting for me in the freezer on those hectic days.

Momma J’s Bolognese

bolognese 2I have a confession to make. I’m not a big tomato fan. But I like ketchup. I like sliced tomatoes on sandwiches and burgers. I like salsa. I like pico de gallo. But I’m not a big “red sauce” fan. As in spaghetti sauce and the likes. I like spaghetti though. Confusing, I know! I just don’t like big chunks of tomato. Canned tomatoes specifically. Yet, every time I go to Costco, I buy the huge box of diced tomatoes. Seriously.

So this recipe, created by me (Momma J) :), is just right because it has crushed tomatoes in it. Hallelujah! No big chunks that I have to pick out and push off to the side. This sauce is a definite nice change from regular spaghetti sauce. Super simple, but I just love the flavor because it doesn’t taste simple. And it’s budget friendly, which is always a plus in my book.

Momma J’s Bolognese

  • 2 tbsp. each of olive oil & butter
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 lb. each of ground pork & ground beef
  • 3/4 c. white wine (I used Chardonnay, surprise, surprise!)
  • 1 c. whole milk
  • 2, 28 ounce cans of crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. each of salt & pepper (if you feel the need, add more)

Heat a Dutch oven (or a stockpot) over medium heat. Add olive oil and butter, let melt. Add onion, carrots and celery. Saute for about 5 minutes.bolognese 5 Add both meats and cook until browned. bolognese 3Add wine and let cook for 2 minutes. Reduce heat and add tomatoes, milk, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Bring up to a boil, and then reduce heat to a simmer. Let simmer covered for 1 hour, and then uncover and let simmer for 1 hour or until sauce has thickened.bolognese sauce Serve over your favorite pasta (I used linguine) and freshly grate some nutmeg over the top, along with some fresh cracked pepper.

This recipe made enough for my family to have TWO meals. The other half is in my freezer and begging to be eaten every time I open that freezer door. I love having sauce in the freezer like that, but if you don’t, just cut the recipe in half.

bologneseBon appetite!