This sauce came from a good friend's Italian mother-in-law. It is easy, and by far the best homemade sauce I know of. Great for both spaghetti and lasagna. Pssst...the secret is the sugar! Also, as I am now vegetarian, it tastes great with out the meat! Just substitute two tablespoons olive oil for the beef.

Recipe Summary

prep:
20 mins
cook:
40 mins
total:
1 hr
Servings:
8
Yield:
8 servings
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Ingredients

8
Original recipe yields 8 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Blend the stewed tomatoes and crushed tomatoes in a blender. In a stock pot or large kettle, brown the ground beef with the onions, peppers, garlic. Pour in tomatoes, and reduce heat. Add sugar, basil and oregano, and simmer about 40 minutes. Season with salt and pepper before serving.

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Nutrition Facts

206 calories; protein 13.2g 27% DV; carbohydrates 22g 7% DV; fat 8.4g 13% DV; cholesterol 34.2mg 11% DV; sodium 379.2mg 15% DV. Full Nutrition
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Reviews (589)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
04/06/2008
this sauce is sooo yummy, ive been making it for awhile already. But i decided to do it a little different this time. I browned the beef,onion,garlic, and pepper together, and threw all the ingredients together into the slowcooker. I used one can of crushed tomatoes, 1 can of diced italian tomatoes, and one can of tomato sauce. Let it slow cook on low for 5 hours, with a tad bit of water. Then tossed with pasta later and topped with parm cheese. It was sooo wonderful, when you let it cook on low for a long time the flavor is just wonderful! Read More
(839)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 3 stars
01/19/2010
My family has been making sauce like this for over a hundred years... sugar isn't exactly a great big secret. We also add just one carrot finely grated... and never, ever add oregano (too bitter)... sweet basil is IT for us, baby, but we do add parsley.. After we've browned the ground meat, pork neck bones, sausage, onion and garlic we then 'brown' one can of tomato paste before we add it to the gravy followed by a can of red wine (or water). As far as bell peppers...eh, we never use them in gravy. Read More
(104)
762 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 467
  • 4 star values: 187
  • 3 star values: 56
  • 2 star values: 34
  • 1 star values: 18
Rating: 5 stars
04/06/2008
this sauce is sooo yummy, ive been making it for awhile already. But i decided to do it a little different this time. I browned the beef,onion,garlic, and pepper together, and threw all the ingredients together into the slowcooker. I used one can of crushed tomatoes, 1 can of diced italian tomatoes, and one can of tomato sauce. Let it slow cook on low for 5 hours, with a tad bit of water. Then tossed with pasta later and topped with parm cheese. It was sooo wonderful, when you let it cook on low for a long time the flavor is just wonderful! Read More
(839)
Rating: 5 stars
12/25/2003
This is the best homemade sauce I have ever had! It is also much better than anything you can get in the store, but then again, it is homemade. I left out the green pepper, because I didnt have any on hand, and used only diced tomatoes, because once again, that was all I had. I also left out the sugar all together and added a can of tomato sauce (I dont care for the taste of tomato paste), 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes and a pinch of baking soda to take out some of the acidity, which ends up turning the acid to sugar and makes it taste a bit sweeter so it doesnt need the sugar after all! Wonderfull recipe. Thanks for sharing! Read More
(398)
Rating: 5 stars
06/16/2004
I made this last night to go along with baked ziti. It was delicious. Although I did make several changes. I used only 1 onion, 1 tsp. of brown sugar, 1 green bell pepper. I also added mushrooms along with 1 red & yellow bell pepper. I used 1/2 ground beef & 1/2 italian sausage & added a little bit of crushed red pepper. I let it simmer for about an hour & perfecto!! This is great to use as a base recipe. You can add or take away from based on your personal preferences. Thanks Sheri!! Read More
(268)
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Rating: 5 stars
05/05/2005
I used this recipe for lasagna. It is delicious! I made the sauce in the slow cooker the night before and let it cook for 4 hours. I added one tablespoon of brown sugar as suggested by the other reviewers. I took leftovers to my parent and they asked for the recipe! Thanks for sharing a terrific sauce that is already added to my recipe binder!!!! I'm looking forward to making another batch to freeze so it will be ready whenever I need it. PS-I used 2 cans of tomato sauce and two cans of whole tomatoes blended them up together; omitted the green peppers. Read More
(160)
Rating: 5 stars
03/15/2003
Absolutely the best and easiest sauce I've ever tried. Like some previous reviewers I cut the sugar in half and added a can of tomato paste. I also had to leave the bell peppers out because my husband doesn't like them (but I'll make it WITH them when he's out of town). Great sauce!! I loved it! Read More
(123)
Rating: 3 stars
01/19/2010
My family has been making sauce like this for over a hundred years... sugar isn't exactly a great big secret. We also add just one carrot finely grated... and never, ever add oregano (too bitter)... sweet basil is IT for us, baby, but we do add parsley.. After we've browned the ground meat, pork neck bones, sausage, onion and garlic we then 'brown' one can of tomato paste before we add it to the gravy followed by a can of red wine (or water). As far as bell peppers...eh, we never use them in gravy. Read More
(104)
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Rating: 5 stars
11/06/2003
Yum! I made this for my husband's birthday dinner and he loved it. I will cut back on the sugar next time, it was a touch too sweet for me. I did add crushed red pepper to spice it up a bit and let it simmer for a couple of hours. Read More
(100)
Rating: 4 stars
01/25/2008
Very nice recipe. My secret weapon was a dash of cinnamon. Only a dash though! I didn't blend the tomatoes together but I did chop up the stewed tomatoes. I added a tbsp. of white sugar and dark brown sugar. I also added tomato sauce (to taste). It needs salt and pepper for sure and I added a few shakes of red pepper flakes. It kept simmering and I kept adding more basil and oregano to taste. A bay leaf is nice too. Will make again and will tinker with it again! Read More
(82)
Rating: 5 stars
04/25/2003
GREAT! Picky 11-year old enjoyed it. I took the advice of using 1 tbsp sugar and adding a can of tomato paste. Also, only used 1 onion and 1 bell pepper and almost a 1 1/2 of hamburger. Read More
(58)
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