Great Grandma’s Pasta Sauce

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    Great Grandma’s Pasta Sauce has been passed down through the generations and it originated from a friend’s Italian great great grandmother. It is the most delicious, rich, flavorful, pasta sauce I’ve ever had in my entire life and I can’t wait for you to try it!

    Great Grandma's Pasta Sauce has been passed down through the generations and it originated from my husband's Italian great great grandmother. It is the most delicious, rich, flavorful, pasta sauce I've ever had in my entire life and I can't wait for you to try it!

    What makes great grandma’s pasta sauce so special?

    My friend told me that for every Christmas and get together, his grandmother used to make her famous pasta dish.

    It’s made with this homemade pasta sauce that simmers on the stove for hours.

    This pasta sauce is like liquid gold.

    It’s the most delicious, rich, flavorful, pasta sauce I’ve ever had in my entire life.

    This pasta sauce was actually from his great grandmother who came over from Italy. YOU KNOW it’s good when it’s from a legit Italian. Not some Chef Boyardee character.

    The secret to this sauce is the simmering process.

    Low and slow, baby. That’s how all the flavors develop and marry one another in a sweet, luscious concoction.

    If you want to taste what the Italians are so blessed with over in Italy, I suggest you give this pasta sauce a try. You won’t ever go back to your plain ‘ol marinara that you thought was good. This sauce here is genius.

    And genuine.

    Great Grandma's Pasta Sauce has been passed down through the generations and it originated from my husband's Italian great great grandmother. It is the most delicious, rich, flavorful, pasta sauce I've ever had in my entire life and I can't wait for you to try it!

    Don’t hate on great grandma’s pasta sauce

    As you can see in the comments section below, there was some haterade on this pasta sauce.

    There is a multitude of ways to make pasta sauce. I am not claiming this is THE right and ONLY way to make it.

    This is how his family makes it.

    If this isn’t the way “your” Italian grandmother or mother or whatever makes it…please don’t yell at me and tell me so.

    Recipes are passed down from generations for a reason.

    Every recipe is different. Every recipe is modified for each family.

    There no “right” way to make something. That is why recipes bring such joy in the kitchen; they can be changed up.

    I’m bringing this up because of comments I’ve gotten about this recipe and thus have turned off commenting for that very reason.

    Great Grandma's Pasta Sauce has been passed down through the generations and it originated from my husband's Italian great great grandmother. It is the most delicious, rich, flavorful, pasta sauce I've ever had in my entire life and I can't wait for you to try it!

    This pasta sauce is so easy to make!

    You literally need the most basic of ingredients:

    • Ground beef
    • Tomato puree
    • Garlic
    • Spices
    • Fresh basil
    • Water

    Can I freeze this pasta sauce?

    To be honest, I haven’t tried to freeze this before but I know others who have and it’s fine! I would put it in one of those plastic takeout containers and reheat on the stovetop (like defrost it then plop it into a saucepan).

    Great Grandma's Pasta Sauce has been passed down through the generations and it originated from my husband's Italian great great grandmother. It is the most delicious, rich, flavorful, pasta sauce I've ever had in my entire life and I can't wait for you to try it!

    Can this pasta sauce be made in the slow cooker?

    Technically, yes, because the idea is to cook it low and slow. I haven’t done it myself but I know others have done it so I’d put it on low for 3-4 hours!

    Great Grandma's Pasta Sauce has been passed down through the generations and it originated from my husband's Italian great great grandmother. It is the most delicious, rich, flavorful, pasta sauce I've ever had in my entire life and I can't wait for you to try it!

    So many great recipes that you could use great grandma’s pasta sauce recipe in:

    Grab the recipe for great grandma’s pasta sauce below and be prepared to get wrapped up in comfort!

    Great Grandma's Pasta Sauce has been passed down through the generations and it originated from my husband's Italian great great grandmother. It is the most delicious, rich, flavorful, pasta sauce I've ever had in my entire life and I can't wait for you to try it!

    Great Grandma's Pasta Sauce has been passed down through the generations and it originated from my husband's Italian great great grandmother. It is the most delicious, rich, flavorful, pasta sauce I've ever had in my entire life and I can't wait for you to try it! #pastasauce #greatgrandma #bestpastasauce

    4.81 from 62 votes

    Great Grandma's Pasta Sauce

    If you want to taste what the Italians are so blessed with over in Italy, I suggest you give this pasta sauce a try. You won’t ever go back to your plain ‘ol marinara that you thought was good. This sauce here is beyond genuine and you will love it!
    Prep Time: 10 mins
    Cook Time: 2 hrs
    Total Time: 2 hrs 10 mins
    Course: Main Course, Main Entree
    Cuisine: Italian
    Servings (adjustable, but please note that results, timing, and cookware may vary when adjusting servings): 6
    Calories: 263kcal
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    • 1 lb 80/20 ground beef OR 90/10 ground beef
    • 1: 6- oz can tomato paste
    • 6 oz water
    • 1: 24- oz jar tomato puree
    • 5-6 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
    • Pinch of dried oregano
    • Pinch of onion powder
    • Pinch of garlic powder
    • Handful of fresh basil, chopped
    • Salt and pepper, to taste


    • In a large stockpot, saute garlic until soft and fragrant in 2 tbsp. of olive oil, about 2 minutes.
    • Throw your meat in with the garlic and brown until meat has been thoroughly cooked through, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
    • Pour in the tomato paste, tomato puree, and seasoning, including the fresh basil and sugar. Stir to mix well. With the 6 oz. can from the tomato paste, fill that with water and pour it in the stockpot as well.
    • Let mixture simmer, uncovered, for 2 or more hours (the longer the better, but minimum 2 hours), stirring occasionally.
    • Serve hot over fresh pasta.



    A lot of people have asked about freezing this. I have not personally done this myself but I believe if you freeze this in an airtight container or a jar, it will be ok for up to 2 months. Do not freeze it immediately after making it. You'll want it to cool to room temperature before putting the jar or container in the freezer to prevent cracking.
    On making this in the slow cooker: I've never made this in the slow cooker before, however, I believe it's pretty do-able. This is what I would do: brown your meat, put it in the insert of the crockpot, then add all the other ingredients, stir, cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours or high for 1-2 hours.
    Nutrition Facts
    Great Grandma's Pasta Sauce
    Amount Per Serving (1 serving)
    Calories 263 Calories from Fat 81
    % Daily Value*
    Fat 9g14%
    Carbohydrates 24g8%
    Fiber 5g20%
    Sugar 15g17%
    Protein 23g46%
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
    *Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate.

    Photography by Jesse Reilly

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    Recipe Rating


  • Baking Serendipity says:

    I love great grandma recipes! Mine is not at all Italian but she makes the best pumpkin bread in the world. (Okay, maybe I’m biased. But seriously.) I’m bookmarking this sauce to make on a snowy day this winter. I’m fairly confident it will be the ultimate comfort.

  • theresa says:

    I like to put onions also. I usr crushed tomatoes, paste,and sauce. Brown sugar instead of white. Add a couple differant cheeses. Just a little. And i like the thin speg. Cook for at least 2 to 3 hours. Of course,dont forget italian seasonings.

  • ericka says:

    You don’t drain the fat off the meat? Cooking for dinner tonight!

    • Julie says:

      Nope! It gives the sauce more flavor :)

  • Monica says:

    Thank you, for sharing can’t wait to try your receipe.

  • ericka says:

    It was to die for!!! Thanks! On the agenda today…pumpkin chocolate chunk muffins!

    • Julie says:

      So good to hear :) you’ll love those muffins – they’re one of my favorites!

  • Ashley - baker by nature says:

    This looks like heaven!

  • Sande says:

    Pretty basic sauce. I spent years cooking Italian every Sunday after church with the young man that I was best friends with and dated for years. His grandmother was born in Italy, so Italian was on the dinner almost every night. I’ve used her recipes for 50 years and have people begging me for the “secret ingredient” which I was sworn not tell. My father would be for me to make this sauce when I was a teenager and beg for the secret…I’d made the sauce but never share the secret. Still have never told anybody.

    Her classic Italian sauce would never have powdered spices in onion and garlic. Fresh or nothing.

    Not saying it’s not a tasty sauce but certainly a vast amount of improvement can be made. Coffee in mine yes, sugar no. If you want sweet sauce buy a jar or Prego.

    • Mrs. Sattler says:

      To Sandi,
      I am sorry you were raised to think if it’s not something you approve of or not your way, it’s simply wrong. An “Always-Right” person, is a closed minded person that will miss out on so much others offer in life.

  • Donna says:

    I always add a cup of burgundy to a large pot of sauce.. And canning anything with meat should be done in a pressure cooker not just a water canning method.. I can mine and it’s the only safe way… Nice to send my sauce home with my grown kids..i also add way more oregano, thyme, rosemary and basil, and tons of garlic.. I never measure and end up with enough for dinner and canning

  • Kristi says:

    The REAL secret to an amazingly good sauce is using San Marzano tomatoes. When you use them omit the sugar from your recipe. You don’t need it because of the sweetness of the tomatoes from this region. It will change your life :)

    • Julie says:

      What’s funny is – that’s exactly what I used in this sauce. I didn’t want to throw brand names out there though in case people can’t find it at the grocery store & then I’d get a zillion comments asking, “can I use another brand?!” :)

    • Mrs. Sattler says:

      Kristi you are spot on with the Marzano tomatoes! Though not quite as good as Italy grown, we are blessed with the Mediterranean weather and rich organic soil to grow our own! The acidity in Marzanos or much lower than any other 🍅 tomato!

  • Sande says:

    Wow! You should have a blog if you don’t like comments, people’s interjections or opinions.

    Seems you only allow comments to be posted, seen and read if they totally agree with your thinking.

    I notice that only ones left to view are the ones posted by people that are drooling all over you and your creations.

    Like I said..this is a basic tomato sauce. Just because your husband’s mother made it this way doesn’t mean it’s the best Italian Pasta Gravy. Yes, I said gravy. True Italians prefer gravy on their pasta.

    Grow up, put on your big girl panties and expect and accept feedback especially on a blog written by a housewife…not a chef. But then again maybe you are use to people gussing all over you in praise even when you shouldn’t be getting it.

    Did you ever hear of Constructive Criticism? If not, maybe I suggest you look it up.

    • Julie says:

      Seems like you have nothing better to do than to come back and troll my blog to see if your comment was moderated. If you actually read my other posts, you’ll see that I do approve comments that have constructive criticism in it and not all comments of my dishes are praised.

      If you really want to know why I didn’t approve your original comment was because you were rude and hateful. I don’t need that type of attitude on my blog. I never said this was the golden sauce all Italians use. I simply said this was the Italian sauce my fiancé’s grandmothers have passed down and I fell in love with it.

      Also, you might want to re-check what you type before you submit. I SHOULD have a blog if I don’t like what people type? Awesome! Thank you! ;)

      • Donna says:

        C’mon, people! This is about a great recipe!! No need to be so negative! We have enough toxicity and negativity in the world.

    • Dustin DelleChiaie says:

      Actually, you’re wrong. I do international studies and have looked into the idea of people using the word “gravy” versus “sauce”. Both are used in Italy; however, where in Italy, depends on what vernacular is used. Instead of shooting someone down, check your own facts!

      Second, I thought the sauce was a good base to add my own flair to it! Thanks for an easy recipe that can lead to many possibilities.

    • Amy C. says:

      Is the title of the recipe ‘Sunday Gravy’? No it’s not. It’s simply one sauce recipe handed down within a family. Yes, true gravy has more meat, like spare ribs, sausage, etc., but the author isn’t presuming to make that sauce in this recipe, which may not be for you, but is liked by her family, which is not automatically “wrong”. Save your shittiness for political discussions or something else. Christ, it’s just a recipe. (Also sugar cuts the acid of the tomatoes. You’d have to use tomatoes with an extremely sweet taste profile or with sugar already added for this to come out “sickeningly sweet”. ) Get over yourself.

    • Sandra Hicks says:

      Wow Sande, you are a total ass.

    • Mrs. Sattler says:

      SANDE, whether or not this recipe is Italian gravy, red sauce, or blue sauce doesn’t matter. More importantly what matters is how negative minded, mean-spirited as you are simply ruining our world!! Such hate and discontent.. In the same amount of time it took you to post a negative demeaning post, you could have chosen to use positive words. I challenge you to keep an open mind and think about it. Once a commitment to a positive change is made and mastered, the uplifted and fulfilled-within feeling will more likely than not, prevent the return to old behaviors. My motto is “Kind words are free, give in abundance.”.

    • Doug says:

      Your a person full of hate or alcohol grow up constructive criticism.????your just a drama queen BE HAPPY

  • Sande says:

    My original post was rude and hateful…really!

    Hun, you don’t know rude and hateful when it’s coming from me. But I’ll end it at this….as your not worth my time or energy.

    I wasn’t trolling your blog to see if you approved my comment. I more important things to do than to post on a losers blog. I simply set all comments I leave anywhere to automatically send all follow up comments to my email address.

    Sorry….your correct. I should have double checked what I posted but then again, we all make mistakes especially typo’s.

    Now go back and stir something.

    Like I’s a basic tomato sauce. Nothing special. Now were did all the lovely Italian spices go?

    And on a side not…”marinara”…that’s all your recipe is. Marinara with meat. Sickening sweet marinara.

    Funny you’ll approve and leave that one up but wouldn’t approve the original. Go figure.

    Sure you want me to me to bring on the rude and hateful. Really…a hateful comment over basic tomato sauce.

    Do you stroke and kiss yourself every morning when you wake up and thank god for making you so wonderful.

    • Julie says:

      If you were going to end it “at this,” then what was up with the 8 other sentences below that?

    • Julie says:

      Check your facts, darling. I never replied to your first comment so therefore, you wouldn’t have a follow up comment to your email address. Therefore, you DID come back to my blog to check whether or not your first comment was approved. Ah, so you definitely don’t have a life. Lovely!

    • Monique Doucet says:

      What an idiot you are Sande…

    • Gigi says:

      Sande, you need Jesus and Spell Check in your life.

    • Melinda Hendrickson says:

      Sande, do you see what you are doing? you are turning a spaghetti sauce recipe into a forum for hatred and bullying behavior. You are clearly a sad and lonely person. I don’t ever post comments to trollers and this thread could be years old but still…. you need to take a look in the mirror and figure out who it is that hurt you. Sad.

  • Diane says:

    I made this tonight, its only been simmering an hour so far on the stove (husband won’t be home for another hour-ish) and it already tastes Uh-Mazing!!! So much better than what you buy in a jar… the only thing I did different was use ground turkey because my husband’s Dr. ordered diet does not allow beef… for me the key to making the turkey taste similar to the beef is to let it brown a little… thank you so much for sharing, it is definately going to be a regular in our house from now on!!

    • Julie says:

      I love that you switched it up with ground turkey! Definitely a healthier alternative. I hope you and your husband enjoyed it!

  • Courtney L says:

    First, sorry about crazy lady above. It’s amazing how hateful people can be- and for absolutely no reason! I just wanted to say that I have this on the stove right now and I’m looking forward to it. Also, when I first saw your blog name my brain separated the words as table fort wob log. I got a little confused and then laughed at myself. Cheers to you and thanks for sharing the recipe.

    • Julie says:

      Haha, that’s funny – my brain sometimes does that too. That crazy lady is a bit off her rocker but besides that, I hope you enjoyed the sauce :)

  • Sande L. says:

    Funny lady.

    Like I said you shouldn’t have a food blog if you can’t accept criticism. And the ones drooling over your sauce have either never had homemade pasta gravy before and don’t know what the real thing taste like.

    Now scurry along and cook something else for them to go bonkers over.

    • Gary says:

      Can you please please share YOUR recipe? If it’s so much better I would love to try it.

    • Doug says:

      Sande l go away please your a depressing person i sugest u see a doctor and get on some meds you sound like a narcist. Like i said just go away…i mafe this recipe and it was fantastic and im italian

  • Diane says:

    It was a hit!! It was so thick it stuck to every bit of pasta so that every bite was a mouthful of awesomeness… it was ridiculously easy to put together, you just gotta plan ahead so that you give it enough time to cook. “Basic tomato sauce” or not, it was super easy and very good, that’s a win-win in my book… Thanks again Julie for sharing! :)

    • Julie says:

      I’m so glad to hear this! I love how thick the sauce is :) thanks for coming back to leave feedback for this!

  • Justin says:

    Found you via Pinterest and that sauce looks AMAZING! I’ve been looking for an honest to goodness spagetti/pasta sauce recipe for a while now. I am definitely going to try this one. Love that it uses ground beef. Many of them use another cut of beef or sausage, and I’m not opposed to the sausage idea but for my family spagetti has always been with meat sauce made with ground beef.

  • Marie | FeelingFoodish says:

    I’ve been wanting to post my family’s version of “gravy” (aka, spaghetti sauce) on my new blog someday soon.

    I agree with you 100% that the slow simmer makes the most AMAZING sauce. Of course, a simple marinara that is simmered for only 15 to 20 minutes is good too. It mostly comes down to the quality of tomatoes in my honest opinion.

  • Monique says:

    Ignore the haters….they have tiny little lives and don’t have anything better to do or they would be doing it. It is usually jealous people that spew hatful comments on blogs of people they don’t actually know and can hide behind their computer screen. If she didn’t like it she could’ve simply moved on to something she considered more worthy of her time.

    • Julie says:

      Thank you, thank you. <3

  • Mimi says:

    I can’t help but laugh at Sande’s messages. She made herself look pretty foolish. If SHE was so concerned with a “correct way” to make sauce (gravy as she puts it), she needs to get her own blog and put it THERE. She sure wasted energy trying criticize what you put on YOUR blog. I appreciate the info you have shared!!

    I grew up in NJ around nothing but Italians. I miss all that fabulous cooking!! The one thing they told me to never forget when it comes to pasta sauce is………..use SAUSAGE. Never use ground beef. The flavors from the sausage along with your spices will put the sauce over the top! I look forward to trying this recipe!!

  • Diana says:

    Hi Julie! It so sad to see someone take time to say negative things (*ahem Sande*). Your blog shows your passion in your cooking and baking! I’ve only stumbled upon your blog a couple months ago and it has inspired me to cook and bake some of the things you’ve blogged! (I tried this recipe and my husband and friends loved it!) Thanks for inspiring me (and I’m sure others) to cook and bake! Have a good weekend!

  • megan says:

    Your blog is awesome and I look forward to reading it everyday!

  • Kelleyd says:

    Sorry, late to the party grammar stickler here. Your=possesive of you. You’re=you are. If YOU’RE going to be rude, at least check YOUR grammar first. At least she didn’t need to use their, or there, or they’re.

    • Julie says:

      Omg, I’m totally the grammar police too! Her grammar was atrocious!!

  • Santina says:

    Thanks for sharing the recipe. It’s very similar to my Italian Nonna’s recipe. It’s nice to see these traditional recipes being handed down to our generation of cooks. On that note, as an actual Italian American who knows what I’m talking about (not a non-Italian who got her recipes from her boyfriend’s grandma 40 years ago) I thought I might clarify a few sterotypical misconceptions that a certain previous commenter perpetuated. Italians never call sauce “gravy.” It is not a word that exists in the Italian language. “Gravy” is a regional term used mainly by East Coast Italian Americans. As a California Italian, we never use that term and have only heard it while watching “The Sopranos.” Above all, there is not just one type of sauce, so ignore any criticism of your sauce recipe. Any good Italian cook has an arsenal of sauces used with a variety of dishes. One of the beauties of Italian cooking is the appreciation for variety in cooking, both among individual cooks and regionally. Italian cooking is a constant evolution of tradition and experiment. Thanks for keeping that spirit alive!

    • Julie says:

      Thank you, Santina for this comment!! :) :) some people just have no idea what they’re talking and love causing drama ;)

  • Wendy B says:

    Julie, I justed started reading your blog today through a Pin on Pinterest and I love it! I have to say you show far more restraint with Sande than I would have! Life’s too short to be aggravated by petty minded people who think their (note the proper spelling -lol!) way is the right way. I know because I USED to be married to one – nothing you can say or do will make any difference to them and they’ll just keep responding to stir the pot. Ignore her (or him!) and she’ll go away. Taste is a very personal thing. I can’t wait to try your recipes. Your photography is absolute perfection. Keep sharing those recipes!

    • Julie says:

      Aw – thank you so much for this comment, Wendy. Taste is a very personal thing and although I respect that everyone has their own opinions & ways of making things – she was completely out of line. Thanks for being a loyal reader :) have a wonderful day!

  • Dorothy says:

    As an Italian, that’s pretty much how you do it! lol In my house, optimally, the sauce will cook for 24 hours or more. Don’t throw the meatballs or sausage in until a couple of hours before you plan on serving it. We have a huge old cast iron pot that ours is made in.. only we add 2 cans of tomato puree and a can or two of water (especially because we cook it so long). The one thing that’s missing from Jason’s recipe and I’m surprised it’s not there, is bay leaves! Add a couple and the key ingredient in my families is Locatelli pecorino-romano cheese. It adds a touch of salt and a nice bite to the sauce.. I often eat it only with bread! lol

  • Cristy says:

    Hi Julie – just found you through Pinterest too, via this particular recipe, which, btw, looks phenomenal. I used to date a half-Italian whose mom’s recipe was pretty much exactly like this one. It would cook all day long and end up being a nectar of the gods. Can’t wait to try this! On another note, I was dying to read up after looking at the pictures and then stumbled upon the word “infamous” in the first sentence and thought, “Huh?” You might want to fix that! :) Have a great day.

  • Sabrina says:

    Chef Boyardee is real….

    P.P.S. pictures are making me drooooooool!!!

  • Michelle says:

    Thank you posting this! I found it through Pinterest and I’ve never made my own sauce/gravy before. This recipe is not intimidating for me AT ALL and I’m super excited about trying it! One question – do you think, after the intitial steps, could you be placed in a crock pot on low for the day? Would it have the same wonderful taste? I’m a HUGE crock pot user since I work FT, but this could always be a Sunday simmer, I suppose.

    • Julie says:

      Oh yes! That would make the sauce SOO tasty and amazing!! The flavors would marinade together all day – great idea, I’d totally do it if I were you! :)

  • Michelle says:

    Well…..I made this recipe on Sunday, on the stovetop, and it was AMAZING!!! My whole family enjoyed it and I cannot wait to make this recipe a regular part of our meals. Italian sausage and in the crock pot will be next!

  • melissa says:

    This is a lot like my granny’s recipe. She is 100% Italian. Lots of basil makes it; sugar is a must. Never heard of coffee though as some mentioned. And for the name…red gravy was a common name for it growing up by both my maternal and paternal grandmothers, whom are both of Italian descent. Not sure if “red gravy” is a southern term down here in new orleans or if it came straight out of Italy.

  • Jaime W says:

    I’ve made this sauce 3 times now and I just wanted to finally thank you for sharing it! It’s wonderful and for a newbie cook like me super easy to make. Thank you, thank you!! My husband and I love this sauce!

  • Terry says:

    This is similar to how I make my sauce, but with vegan sausage. You can’t tell the difference and its a lot healthier for you and suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

  • Lisa says:

    The sauce was awesome!

  • Sherry says:

    This is just like the “secret” recipe given to my mother by an old Italian woman who came to America to cook at our family restaurant when I was little. She barely spoke English. (Many years ago.) She told my mother the ‘last’ secret ingredient just before she died… cinnamon!!

    • Jen says:

      I second the cinnamon! I always had a pinch of cinnamon to this sauce. I was looking through comments just to see if anyone else said this. :D

  • Bethany says:

    I have this simmering on the stove right now! Looks amazing and was very simple. Question though: It just began the simmer so I know it has to go for a few hours at least, but on initially tasting, it is very bitter, will that simmer out of the sauce? I did double the recipe but otherwise followed it to a T.

  • Bethany says:

    Tragedy averted! The bitterness simmered out beautifully. We were left with a rich tomato sauce with lots of depth of flavor. Lovely sauce, thanks!

    • Julie says:

      Sorry I never got back to you! Been doing some car shopping today! I’m glad you figured it out and it turned out great for you :)

  • Tracy says:

    Hi Julie! I make a sauce similar to this on occasion, only instead of ground beef, I make a braciole (usually flank steak stuffed with cheese, garlic, parlsey, and bread crumbs)brown it, then take it out, make the sauce, and return the meat to the sauce to cook. My grandmother from Naples always made it this way, because she could not serve meat and pasta on the same plate! So we would eat the pasta with sauce first, and the sliced up braciole for the 2nd course. On really special occasions, she would cook sausage and braciole in the sauce. I want to cry just remembering those days! Oh, and I currently LIVE in Italy, and have made sauce like this for Italian friends who have enjoyed it very much. It is a bit different than the way locals here make their sauce, but I’ve never had anyone leave annoyed because I used dried oregano instead of fresh! ;)

  • Luigina says:

    Let me start by saying I am Italian. There’s a million different ways to make spaghetti sauce.I never add sugar in any sauce.And I I only use fresh herbs,real onions and garlic instead of the powdered stuff.Fresh ingredients always taste better. Try using baking soda to cut the acidity instead of sugar. Just sprinkle a little over the sauce while it is cooking.It has no taste and works very well. However if you use a good brand of canned tomatoes you won’t have to add any at all. The major difference from an authentic sauce prepared in Italy to an American one is that is its more savory,while the American is sweeter.Finally the type of spaghetti/pasta and cheese will make all the difference to the final dish. Trying using an imported brand of pasta.It really tastes better.

  • Peter @Feed Your Soul says:

    this is such a traditional recipe and you make it look easy. The picture absolutely drew me in. I love the angle and how rich you made the sauce look. I could drink it.

  • Jason (the fiance) says:

    Hi Everyone! I just want to clarify that this is not ‘the sauce’ that only ‘true Italians’ make. What it is though, is the sauce that my great grandmother made, which was passed down to my grandmother, and then to my mother, and now Julie and I. When people say that we should use this meat, that meat, real this, fresh that, it sort of defeats the purpose and insults the history of my family’s recipe. My great grandmother and great grandfather emigrated to the United States in the early 20th century when the large influx of Italian immigrants to this country occurred through Ellis Island. My great grandmother from Rome, and my great grandfather from Ischia, off the coast of Naples.

    They emigrated separately, and wound up in Southern West Virginia where they met and began their American lives together. My great grandfather worked in coal mines his entire life while he and my great grandmother raised 9 children together. Money was not abundant, and they used ingredients which were readily available and affordable to them at the time. One of the many definitions of authentic is: conforming to an original so as to reproduce essential features. Could we change what ingredients are used? Sure, but then we would be missing the point of this recipe.

    This recipe is as much a time capsule and a reflection of my family’s history as it is something to put on top of pasta.

    • Lynette J says:

      Jayson the future husband. I appreciate the respect you have for your family. Telling your story of your precious grandmothers goes to the truth of family story telling. Thank you for keeping them very much alive through food blogging for love of family. I was thinking while reading complaints, critical suggestions and weird observations that these people were not taking into consideration all historical facts of life through different economic conditions. People all over the world resource what is at hand at the time. This is our food on the table history. We eat and are grateful for the most part. We respect our family’s sacrifices so that we came to be. Your Great grandfather slaved in the W. Virginia coal mines for penny’s a day. His wife turned those pennies into plated love for 9 children. That resulted in your lovely to be wife sharing her love for your family in a blog. And here we are reading your family’s journey into this country which was not easy by any measure. From Ellis Island to the Internet I thank you, your family and your sweet fiancé for sharing hearts in a pot to nourish our body’s and spirits. I also apologize for the thoughtlessness of others that lack the ability to do so themselves.

  • Charlotte says:

    I was thinking about doubling this only instead of 2 lbs of beef use 1 lb beef and 1 lb italian sausage? Has anyone done that?

    • Julie says:

      You could totally do that!

  • lisa says:

    Looks soo good. Do u strain the grease off after u brown the meat before u add the sauce. Thanks

    • Julie says:

      Nope, I didn’t. It gives the sauce more flavor :)

  • Dan says:

    Hello Julie the sauce looks amazing, and easy to put together was wondering if adding a little of your favorite drinkable red wine while simmering may be a nice addition flavor wise :-) happy holidays from Nova Scotia Canada . cheers

    • Julie says:

      Yes, you can! :) happy holidays! enjoy!

  • tanya miller says:

    I come from a “traditional family” and we basically use this recipe, but simpler and cheaper… canned spaghetti sauce in place of tomato sauce and paste, and 1/4 to 1/2 cup brown sugar… In the end what I love about this recipe is that its super easy, and you can play around w/the spices for taste… My family likes it sweeter, hence more sugar. Sometimes ginger, whatever you want and its so hard to mess up.

    Thanx for sharing!!!

  • Rosie says:

    This is how I always made my sauce too! I have also married a half Italian man and I too LOOOOVE his Nonna’s sauce (she’s from Sicily). But his Nonna uses half beef mince and half pork mince, and it makes an amazing difference to the flavour. She’s also known to throw in some pork belly cut up into bite sized pieces, rind still on, and as its cooked so slowly it becomes so tender it just melts in your mouth. Absolutely delicious! :)

  • Diane says:

    No no no… Use Italian sausage in it…not hamburger, and it will taste much more authentic. I too am married to an Italian man and his Italian grandmother taught him how to make red sauce. I will never use hamburger in it again when I make it. Try Italian sausage and you won’t be disappointed in the change in your recipe. :))

  • Roma says:

    The sauce looks great; however, Italians do not put sugar in their sauce.

  • Christine says:

    My Mom made this great sauce the same way let the haters hate they don’t know what is good….hey Sande “put your big girl panties ” really????

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Haha, thank you!

  • Vickie says:

    I made this pasta sauce, and I have to say it is incredible! I would like to try canning it without the meat, to be added when ready to be used. I don’t have much freezer space. By the way, I did freeze this without meat and added it later. It worked great!

    • Julie Wampler says:

      So glad to hear this!

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