Sneak peek from my Darn Good Eats cookbook! Prepare yourself for some serious YUM!

Mom’s Spaghetti Sauce (with extra Jodi spice)

I’m going to sneak to all of you…drum roll please…my mom’s famous spaghetti sauce recipe!  It may have morphed a bit over the years, but Mom was the creator of this zesty treat and I’ve just kind of kicked it up a spicy notch. Speaking of spicy notches, if you are the heartburn-getting type you do NOT want to do this. Put the book down. Walk away from the kitchen. Save yourself.

Before we get started, know that you will be making enough spaghetti sauce to feed your family and the family down the street more than once. I simply refuse to make something like this in small batches. Why would anyone waste all this time making enough for one or two meals? That just seems silly to me. So, make sure you have a bunch of food storage containers and space in the fridge—you are going to need it.

Goodies needed from the store:

  • 1½ – 2 pounds of hamburger (doesn’t have to be lean—the more grease, the better)
  • A one-pound package of spicy Italian sausages (you can use turkey sausage if you want to save some calories)
  • 3/4 of a green pepper
  • 3/4 of a medium/large white or yellow onion
  • Three 28-ounce cans of crushed tomatoes
  • One 28-ounce can of tomato sauce
  • Three 28-ounce cans of petite diced tomatoes (none of that pre-spiced stuff though)
  • Half of one of those tiny cans of tomato paste (the hubby and I always whine about the fact that even those tiny cans are too big. Why can’t they make a half-sized tiny can? Who uses a whole can?)
  • Between 8 – 12 cloves of minced garlic (or a ton of garlic salt)
  • Italian seasoning, to taste
  • Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
  • Salt, to taste
  • OPTIONAL: A sprinkle of freshly-grated Parmesan cheese never hurts as a nice topping on the spaghetti
  • OPTIONAL: 6 basil leaves, chopped

Putting it all together:

  1. Peel the skin off the sausage, (ewwww!) then slice into half-inch slices.
  2. Brown the sausage until thoroughly cooked and then set aside in a bowl. Don’t throw out the grease. The grease makes the sauce even better.
  3. Cut up the green pepper into large chunks (I always take these chunks out after the sauce has cooked for several hours as I don’t like eating chunks of green pepper–blech!).
  4. Dice the onion into fairly small pieces.
  5. Mince or cut the garlic into to small pieces.
  6. Combine the garlic, green pepper, onion and hamburger in a frying pan and brown all together. Stir often as you don’t want the hamburger to get chunky and stick together. You want it to be pretty crumbly.
  7. Once the hamburger is thoroughly cooked (no pink) dump everything, including the sausage and grease, into an enormous pot. You are going to be making enough for an army! Leftover sauce is the best thing on planet earth.
  8. Add all the tomato stuff and stir.
  9. Add a thin layer of Italian seasoning across the entire top of the sauce. I don’t have a specific measurement here, I just coat the top of the sauce and that usually works.
  10. Add crushed red pepper flakes, to taste—I like it spicy so I probably usually put in a little less than a tablespoon.
  11. Add salt. I crave salt in my sleep so I use a fair amount. If you are a normal person just chuck in a little and as it cooks add more in small amounts until it’s got enough.
  12. Cook on low, stirring frequently, for as many hours as you can take the yummy smell before attacking the pot.
  13. If you like basil you can chuck about 6 chopped leaves into the sauce about an hour before it’s finished cooking. I usually don’t, but my hubby sneaks it in. Stinker! It’s that dang chef part of him that just has to mess with my recipes!

I wrote earlier that a little fresh Parmesan cheese never hurts. I was wrong. This is what happens when non-chefs try to be chefs:


I grated my thumb. Yes, we ate thumb-laced Parmesan cheese on top of our spaghetti. Do yourself and your thumb a favor and just buy the Parmesan at the store that is pre-grated. If you want it to be fancy, you can get the shaved Parmesan in the cheese section of the store. It looks very pretty and is far less bloody atop your awesome spaghetti.

I serve this on regular spaghetti noodles. Nothing fancy. No fettuccine as it’s flat and stupid and should only be used with Alfredo sauce. No angel hair as it’s too thin for the heavy sauce. Just normal spaghetti.

Serve all of this with some yummy, butter-soaked garlic bread (mmmmm…garlic bread…) and you will have an AWESOME dinner that really is pretty easy to make. With that amount of sauce, a family of 4 could live off of it for days and days. Whatever is left over after 3 or 4 days, just freeze. It’s just as good out of the freezer a month from now.


PS: I promised How to Online Date that I’d post this recipe, so here it is! 🙂