For me, spaghetti is pure comfort food: it reminds me of my childhood in the Midwest (spaghetti dinners ftw) as well as my amazing time in Italy. And while fresh, perfectly cooked pasta is important, spaghetti is nothing without a solid sauce. I like my sauces like I like my adventures: big and bold. And this spaghetti sauce brings in lots of strong flavors from garlic, fresh herbs, and sauteed onions. These are the flavors that speak to me, but as you perfect the recipe, you’ll eventually add the flavors that work best for you. I can’t wait to see what you come up with!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
- 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar (optional, to balance acidity)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Optional additions: dried red pepper flakes, fresh herbs (such as parsley or basil), grated Parmesan cheese
- Wooden spoon or spatula
- Cutting board
- Measuring spoons
- Can opener
Step 1: Heat olive oil.
- In a saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
Step 2: Sauté onion and garlic.
- Add the finely chopped onion to the saucepan and sauté for about 5 minutes until translucent and lightly browned.
- Add the minced garlic and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Stir occasionally to prevent burning.
Step 3: Add crushed tomatoes and tomato paste.
- Pour in the crushed tomatoes and tomato paste into the saucepan, stirring well to combine with the onion and garlic mixture.
Step 4: Season the sauce.
- Add the dried basil and dried oregano to the saucepan. If desired, sprinkle in a pinch of dried red pepper flakes for a bit of heat.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. Start with a small amount and adjust as needed.
Step 5: Simmer the sauce.
- Bring the sauce to a gentle simmer over low heat. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking and burning.
Step 6: Optional: Add sugar.
- If the sauce tastes too acidic, add a teaspoon of sugar to balance the flavors. This step is optional and depends on personal preference and the acidity of the tomatoes.
Step 7: Cook and meld the flavors.
- Allow the sauce to simmer uncovered for at least 30 minutes to an hour, or longer if desired. This will allow the flavors to meld together and the sauce to thicken slightly.
- Stir occasionally to prevent the sauce from sticking to the bottom of the saucepan.
Step 8: Adjust consistency (optional).
- If you prefer a thinner sauce, you can add a little water or vegetable broth to achieve the desired consistency. Conversely, if you want a thicker sauce, continue simmering until it reaches the desired thickness.
Step 9: Taste and adjust seasonings.
- Taste the sauce and adjust the seasonings as needed. Add more salt, pepper, or herbs to suit your taste preferences.
Step 10: Serve and enjoy!
- Once the sauce is cooked to your liking, it’s ready to be served. Use it as a topping for spaghetti or your favorite pasta, or as a base for other Italian dishes.
- Garnish with fresh herbs like parsley or basil, and sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese on top if desired.
If you enjoyed this article or have suggestions on how we can improve it, please leave us a comment below. Also, make sure to check out other cooking lesson articles I’ve created – here.