Every time I walk down the sauce aisle at my local grocery store, looking at the dozen or more choices of pasta sauces, I think to myself how hard is it to make sauce from scratch? Granted, for some it's not really an issue of having the know-how to make a good sauce from scratch. It's a matter of having the time to make a sauce. Life is busy and full of things to do. I get that. It makes perfect sense to me. I can certainly relate to being busy.

And of course, the myriad flavors do open up a wide variety of dinner options. Pick out a noodle, pick out a different jar of sauce, and voila! Dinner is served up just a little bit different than it was served up yesterday.

When my wife and I were still dating I remember asking her if she liked spaghetti. Of course she answered yes. Who doesn't like spaghetti? I can't think of a single person I've ever met in my entire life who professed to having an adversity to a steaming plate of fresh cooked noodles topped with that delicious meaty red sauce. A little sprinkle of parsley, a nice dosing of Parmesan cheese...I'm getting hungry already.

Of course, I do realize that after this is published surely someone will come out of the woodwork and proclaim spaghetti as an abhorrence.

With a proud smile I told her, "Well, I'll just have to make you some spaghetti one night."

She said, "That sounds great," and then there was a slight pause. "So, what brand do you like?"

Brand? Enter the old record scratch sound. That one struck my funny bone. "What do you mean brand?"

"You know, Ragu, Prego...which one do you like?"

I said to her, then, that I make my own sauce. It's not that those jarred sauces aren't good. In fact there are some that are. And there are practical uses for a few of them as well. I've been known to use a jar of the stuff myself here and there. But when it comes to just plain, regular, spaghetti, nothing does it for me like homemade. Here's my recipe. Try it out. Experiment with it. But most of all, simply enjoy it.


2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 14 oz. can tomato sauce
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 14 oz. can water
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
8 oz. package sliced fresh baby portabella mushrooms
3 tbsp. minced garlic (use less if you aren't as into garlic as I am)
2 tbsp. dried oregano
1 tbsp. dried Italian seasoning
1 tsp. dried rosemary
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp. granulated sugar
pinch of kosher salt
20-25 frozen Italian meatballs
16 oz. spaghetti noodles

Heat oil in a stock pot, add onion and cook on medium to high heat until the onions are translucent. Add tomato sauce, fill empty can with equal amount of water and add to the sauce. Add diced tomatoes and can of tomato paste, stir until well mixed. Bring to a low boil, then add mushrooms, and garlic. Add oregano, Italian, rosemary, thyme and bay leaves, sugar, and salt. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 35-45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, prepare spaghetti noodles according to package instructions. Add frozen Italian meatballs to sauce and cook for another 10 minutes. Serve sauce over hot noodles with a little bit of Parmesan cheese and dried parsley flakes.

Tip: Never rinse your noodles after cooking. Simply drain and serve. Rinsing the noodles removes some of the starch, which is necessary in helping to adhere the sauce to the noodles.

Rate this recipe.

3 stars from 22 ratings of Spaghetti Sauce

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Comments 45 comments

Mr. Silky Johnson profile image

Mr. Silky Johnson 6 years ago

Hey Springboard nice recipe. I have been making my own sauce for over 30 years and have always had happy bellies leave the table.

Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin Author

Homemade surpasses all things on the store shelves...always. Thanks for stopping by.

breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 6 years ago

This recipe sounds wonderful and something I will try.

amillar profile image

amillar 6 years ago from Scotland, UK

Nice recipe, far better fresh - you know what's gone in it.

OpinionDuck profile image

OpinionDuck 6 years ago


Do you think that home made meatballs might be better than generic frozen ones?

Do you like your sauce more spicy than this recipe?

Your recipe looks goods, I would have to try it before I could really comment on it.


Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin Author

Homemade meatballs would probably, most definitely be better than frozen ones. It's one of the few cheats I engage in. Hmm. Makes me think...perhaps I should search the HubPages for a good Italian meatball recipe.

As for spiciness, I say this. Chili should be spicy. Spaghetti should not. But then that's just me. I like mine a bit more traditional.

Anyone with any suggestions on those meatball recipes?

OpinionDuck profile image

OpinionDuck 6 years ago


Hmmm meatballs, makes me hungry and it is two hours to lunch.

For those people that like spicy spaghetti, I would suggest a Sicilian recipe. But, as Will Rogers OpinionDuck says, "there isn't a spaghetti I didn't like".

Looking forward to seeing some meatball recipes.

Delicious hub.

Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin Author

You know, I'm not opposed to trying new things...Sicilian spaghetti sauce. Might have to look that up. It's like one day when we were kids my Mom decided to make spinach lasagna, and I remember my sister and I scoffing at it pretty much immediately. Made with tons of ricotta and provolone, we never turned back to the meat kind.

Looking forward to some hearty meatball recipe recommendations here as well...may have to put out a call. Any good meatball recipes will be added to a links section...and I may have to search around for a few good sauce recipes to link to as well. Sort of a, if you liked this you might like this too, kind of a thing.

Anyway. :)

rmcrayne profile image

rmcrayne 6 years ago from San Antonio Texas

What you do is not so different from what I used to do when I was younger and more ambitious! But I cooked mine a lot longer, because less than an hour or 2 still tastes "green" to me. Meat texture is another matter all together. Anyway, sounds great, and very helpful for the “uninitiated”.

Thanks for your comment to my Main Dishes hub. If you would like to trade links, I think this hub would be a great match for my Pasta hub or Tomatoes hub. Let me know. Rose Mary

rmcrayne profile image

rmcrayne 6 years ago from San Antonio Texas

Oh I forgot. Your spaghetti photo seems messed up.

Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin Author

I tried to artsy up (if that's even a word) the photo. Trading links sounds fine to me. I tend to cook my sauce longer as well, and actually sauce is like soup IMO—always better the next day. :)

rmcrayne profile image

rmcrayne 6 years ago from San Antonio Texas

My links are now done too. Thanks!

Leenie Pooh profile image

Leenie Pooh 6 years ago

I think the best meatballs I ever made was one of those nights when there was nothing in the fridge, I didn't feel like heading out to the grocery store and as a challenge I refused to open a cookbook. I ended up mixing the basics, ground meat, crushed crackers (since there were no breadcrumbs, bread or oatmeal), spices, egg white (no real eggs in the fridge), rolling up the meatballs and sauteing them in walnut oil (out of every other kind of oil). That's when I discovered that there the only tomato products I had was a small can of tomato sauce. So I poured it in the pan with half a can of beer (no wine in the cupboard) after the meatballs were browned. Covered the pan and started looking for the pasta.

What? No pasta? O-o-o-kay. Sauteed bell peppers, onions and eggplant and served the meatballs over them. Like I said, it was one of the best meatball dinners I ever made and since I didn't write anything down I haven't been able to recreate it since.

Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin Author

I had a chicken noodle soup like that—in this case, though, I had all the necessary ingredients, I just winged it when it came to what spices and how much. It's the best chicken noodle soup I've ever eaten, and unfortunately have never been able to do again.

The meatball dish sounds very good actually. Thanks for stopping by...wish you had the recipe. ;)

Edweirdo profile image

Edweirdo 6 years ago from United States

In response to the question you posted, I've created a hub titled "How To Make The Best Italian Meatballs - Fast And Easy!"

Just click on my profile to check it out! I think it'll go great with your tasty sauce recipe :D

Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin Author

I'll definitely be heading on over. I had to wait quite a while for a response. :)

Specialk3749 profile image

Specialk3749 6 years ago from Michigan

Another one I will have to try! I have been looking for a homemade sauce. I am trying to get rid of any convenience foods in my pantry and spegetti sauce is one of them. I am going to try this with fresh tomatoes instead of canned. I am always looking for ways to use up tomatoes out of the garden when they start getting ripe.

Michael Shane profile image

Michael Shane 6 years ago from Gadsden, Alabama

Great info here & looks awesome! Thanks!

Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin Author

Specialk—I definitely recommend fresh everything if you can do it. Much, much tastier. I have done it once using fresh, blaching and skinning, dicing. Hmm, it's not that hard to do and now you've got me thinking. Next time I might just do it.

Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin Author

Michael—homemade is best, by far. :) Thanks for stopping by.

swordsbane profile image

swordsbane 6 years ago from Wisconsin

I case you haven't found a good Italian meatball recipe: half ground meat, half Italian sausage... a touch of ground red pepper (cayenne) and parmesan (less than a teaspoon of each per pound of meat. Roll them up in a size to your preference and brown very well before throwing in with the sauce.

I also throw chopped red bell peppers in with the sauce, and leave out the mushrooms, but that's just me. I've tried about a dozen different spaghetti recipes and yours is damned close to what I finally settled on. It's largely a matter of preference, but if you like spaghetti but don't like those meatballs, you aren't human.

Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin Author

Meatballs have entirely replaced plain old ground beef sauce for me. I will definitely have to try your meatball recipe. Thanks for passing it along.

HappyHer profile image

HappyHer 6 years ago from Cleveland, OH

Awesome recipe! I'm going to have to try that. There are some "out of the can" sauces out there that are pretty good, but Ragu isn't on my list of faves.

Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin Author

I cheat every now and then with a lasagna or if I need a white pasta sauce. But for me nothing beats homemade. :) Thanks for stopping in, and hope you enjoy the sauce.

carlos 6 years ago

Not to be mean but, how does a sauce that is made from canned tomato sauce, canned diced tomatoes, canned tomato paste, and frozen italian meatballs count as "from scratch"? Might as well just buy a can or jar of spaghetti sauce and sex it up by adding extra spices to suit your taste.

Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin Author

I agree with you for the most part actually. However, when I think of Spaghetti sauce in a jar I'm also thinking of the cost of making it this way vs. how much the jar costs. I'm also trying to encourage people to do a little more in the kitchen. Get away from the idea that everything comes from a box or a jar. Do you know they actually sell crock pot in a bag? lol. I laugh everytime I see that, thinking to myself, how hard is it to use a slow cooker? Everything in the kitchen accomplished is a graduation to something more...this sauce is simply a place to start and see the inner working of what they put in that jar—and charge you so much for.

Perhaps I will have to expand this into a new hub and put together all of the ingredients from "real" scratch. Now you've inspired me. :)

BTW, you can add all the spices in the world to those jarred sauces, and I still think the best place for them is on the shelf. Not on my bed of noodles.

ChiaPet1021 profile image

ChiaPet1021 6 years ago from USA

I've been looking for a good spaghetti sauce recipe. I make my own meatballs, but I've always copped out and used store-bought sauce, mainly because the thought of stewing my own sauce sounds so daunting.

Thanks for this recipe to help me conquer that fear!

Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin Author

I AM a bit biased, but this sauce will not only conquer fear, but may never allow you to ever go back to the jar again. :) Thanks for stopping by.

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

Made from scratch is always better than canned. Enough said! I applaud your efforts at making the sauce your very own.

Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin Author

I've become rather partial to it. :) Thanks for stopping in.

marisuewrites profile image

marisuewrites 6 years ago from USA

Hi, Springboard! I'm so glad I found this hub, and I will make this sauce, and freeze it for quick use later. Great recipe, it "smells" delicious in your Hub Kitchen!

Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin Author

Thanks Marisue. :) Freezing this sauce is a great idea. And actually, with just a couple minor adjustments (like the meatballs for example) I like to use this for lasagna too.

tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa

Great recipe! Thanks for sharing your secrets with us.Bookmarked, of course!

Love and peace


Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin Author

Always happy to share. :)

Karanda profile image

Karanda 5 years ago from Australia

Okay, I'll be the first. My ex-husband hated spaghetti, pasta of any kind actually and rice. Given that pasta and rice were my two favourite meals it meant cooking two separate dishes when I needed a fix.

Your recipe is similar to mine except I use ground beef and brown it in the pan after I've sauteed the onions. Gives a richer flavour to the sauce. Well done!

Springboard profile image

Springboard 5 years ago from Wisconsin Author

Back in the day I used to make a ground beef sauce, then one day on a whim just to try something different got stuck on these darned meatballs. I haven't gone back ever since. Hmmm. Which makes me think...I should make it with ground beef next time.

Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

Dude, I did a pasta recipe for dudes like me that only learned to cook, like. . . .yesterday. I was pleased to be able to link to you under "pasta sauce."

Springboard profile image

Springboard 5 years ago from Wisconsin Author

For me cooking was a necessity. I could only eat so many disasters. :) Thanks for the link.

lisadpreston profile image

lisadpreston 4 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

This recipe sounds heavenly. I could eat spaghetti everyday of the week and never get tired of it. I raised 4 kids and I always tried to make everything from scratch for them. Now they are grown up so I resorted to jars. Your recipe makes me want to go back to my old ways. It is similar to how I made mine except, I too, along with some of the above people, use ground beef in my sauce. I like the texture it gives and meat with every bite. I think I will try the meatballs along with the meat sauce. Extra fattening! Thanks for the hub.

mommy2three 4 years ago

I want to know how to make it from scratch. With fresh tomatoes not the canned obes. Any tips?

Springboard profile image

Springboard 4 years ago from Wisconsin Author

Mommy2three, making a sauce, and I'm assuming your referring only to the 'tomato sauce' part of the recipe is fairly time consuming. If you want to make the paste from scratch as well, it's going to take quite a bit more time, and is a bit more complex of a process.

For the most part making a tomato sauce from scratch requires blanching the tomatoes for about a minute, and then sumberging them into an ice bath. Once cooled slightly you then peel them, squeeze out all the seeds (you don't want seeds in your sauce), and then chop the peeled, seeded tomatoes. Most people puree the chopped pieces in a blender. You add in a few favorite seasonings and bring it all to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 2-3 hours. To make it a bit thicker, some people will add a can or two of tomato paste. The recipe I have calls for 10 tomatoes to make this sauce and yields about 3 cups.

For the record, as much I love the process of cooking, I have not tried this yet...though one day I just may. But I also believe the cost would be relatively higher—but sometimes it's not about cost or time, but the end result, and I'd be very curious to know what this spaghetti sauce would taste like if I substituted homemade vs. canned.

As for the paste? The recipes I've seen for making this I don't think I'll ever spend the time trying. :)

Lisadpreston, as a lover of meat, I think I'd have to agree it may not be a bad idea to use both. Perhaps the next batch I'll have to do that...or maybe even use a pound of sausage with the meatballs and sauce. Now you've got my stomach growling.

Sue 4 years ago

Great, simple recipe. It is amazing how much better and cheaper this is, even using canned products. They are not the same "beast" at all.

Springboard profile image

Springboard 4 years ago from Wisconsin Author

This is one my favorite dishes in the house. I'd be interested in doing it totally from scratch, sans canned products of course, but it would be quite the project considering what it takes to make tomato sauce and paste from scratch...course I'm up for it. :) Glad you liked the recipe.

Kathryn Stratford profile image

Kathryn Stratford 3 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

I love homemade recipes! This is making me hungry for pasta. Thanks for sharing this recipe with us.

Springboard profile image

Springboard 3 years ago from Wisconsin Author

Kathryn, thanks for stopping in. I think you will like this one. It meets with great fanfare every time I make it. In fact, my brother in law once remarked, "This IS good sauce." My sister told him, "Yeah. And don't get used to it." Of course, when he and the fam is in town, he usually requests my spaghetti. :)

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