Easy, Classic Spaghetti Sauce


Easy, Classic Spaghetti Sauce

Easy, Classic Spaghetti Sauce



I feel a little ashamed posting two spaghetti recipes back-to-back.  But, I’ve got neither the time to blog nor the time to cook lately to provide me with an alternative.  Today marks the third morning I’ve woken up in our new house.  After packing my kitchen up  completely over a week ago, I have been jonesing to get back in a kitchen and make something.  Anything, really.  So, on Monday I set to unpacking our living room and kitchen first off.  I may still be pulling my clothes out of boxes, but I am going to have my pots and pans!  The challenge after unpacking then became groceries.  I had donated all my non-perishable food to the Athens Area Emergency Food Bank before I moved, and I brought only my spice collection with me.  Upon arrival, I discovered that we have one grocery store in town, a small Food Lion, so I will be traveling 20-30 miles every week to get my shopping done.  Meanwhile, The Hubz was requesting spaghetti for dinner.  This was a meal I felt confident our little grocery could deliver.  

Now, spaghetti can be sauced with a million things, but I like classic, tomatoey red sauce when I crave “spaghetti.”  And, to this end, I prefer canned tomatoes.  If you choose the right ones, you’ll end up with a sauce that’s perfectly thick and “smooth-enough” for the standards outlined in Mark Bittman’s article.   I like to use crushed tomatoes– they require zero effort, and they make a perfect sauce.  As usual, this sauce comes together very simply, and it doesn’t require a lot of work.  It’s tomatoey, garlicky, and has just a touch of zing.  It will keep in the refrigerator, should you have leftovers, for three days.  It will freeze, as well.  The recipe makes enough sauce to dress one pound of pasta.  

Easy, Classic Spaghetti Sauce

  • 1 lbs spaghetti, cooked according to package directions (use gluten free pasta to make recipe gluten free)
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 C chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • fat pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • pinch of sugar
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 T fresh basil, chiffonade
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

While waiting for your pasta water to boil, heat a a big splash (a couple of tablespoons) of olive oil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat.  Add the onion, and lower the heat.  Sprinkle salt over the onions to keep them from sticking to the pan.  Sweat the onion for 3-4 minutes, then add the garlic and the red pepper flakes and saute for a minute.  Be careful not to burn the garlic.  Pour in the tomato sauce, and add the oregano and the sugar.  Season with a bit of salt and pepper.  Stir to combine well.  Lower the heat to simmer the sauce while your spaghetti cooks.  Simmer, stirring occasionally.  Taste the sauce and adjust the seasonings to your favor.  When pasta is cooked al dente, drain it and place it in a serving dish.  Pour the sauce over the spaghetti and garnish with the fresh basil.

Serves 4.




36 thoughts on “Easy, Classic Spaghetti Sauce

  1. Great sauce recipe! I wish more people realized how simple it is to make a basic tomato sauce, instead of using the kind in a jar that’s usually packed with preservatives. If you can find them, San Marzano crushed tomatoes make an amazing sauce. They were everywhere in New York, but I’ve only seen them in one store since I moved to Berkeley.

    • You are so right – the jarred stuff is icky, and it’s no easier. I love San Marzanos and use them for various recipes. I’m not familiar with the grocery chains out west, but I’ve found some of the goods through persistent label reading.

  2. I love that you call it a ‘fat pinch’ of red pepper flakes! This sauce looks so delicious and super easy! I love homemade sauce…mmm…I bet this would also double nicely as a pizza sauce!

    • Well, you know…..a regular pinch just won’t do! This would definitely work well as a pizza sauce. I also like to use whole San Marzano tomatoes for pizza sauce and bash them up with the handle of my wooden spoon while simmering. The chunks add great texture!

  3. There’s no shame in canned tomatoes! I tend to use them a lot when tomatoes are out of season. A decent-quality brand tastes a lot better than the cardboard-like taste of fresh off-season tomatoes. This recipe looks great – I like all the fresh basil.

    • You are so right! Buying out of season tomatoes always results in those sugary-textured monstrosities that just leave you craving tomatoes even more.

      I love to finish sauces with basil; the brightness and lemony flavor of the herb really make a dish come alive.

  4. The wonder of these simple sauces is that we almost always have the ingredients on hand. I actually prefer canned tomatoes in my sauces. The only exception is a classic roast tomato sauce that I make in late summer.

    • Yes, a good pantry recipe is a very comforting thing. I adore roast tomato sauces, too! Really, when tomatoes are in season I can’t get enough of them. I also like to make a sauce of baked and fresh cherry tomatoes right at the end of the season.

  5. Talk about jonesin’ for something. Pasta would be it about now. Yum! I’m cringing over the 20-30 miles to shop though. I have a market trip a day habit I need to ditch. I’d expire!

    • The grocery store distance might kill me. I was notorious for meal planning, then switching things up, calling an audible, and “running to the store real quick.” Not anymore. And I can’t find a decent farmer’s market. Grrr.

  6. I love the simplicity of a nice red sauce. This looks fantastic.

    Glad you’re settling in to the new digs! No apologies for being distracted by things other than blogging… I can’t imagine it any other way!

    • Thanks, Jude! This was my first move out of state, so it’s been a little rocky. I just brought up the final carload of strays, and we should finally be done in a couple of days. YAY.

  7. WOW. awesome looking. I have been raw for a year or so and and have made raw pasta with zucchini noodles and raw marinara w/sun dried tomatoes 🙂 also love raw pesto. your page rocks, thanks!


  8. look delish, classy and easy 🙂 love home made sauce rather than using the ready made once. home made ones are more healthy and tasty.. way to go haley!! cheers!!

    • Thanks, Nora! Those are my favorite kind of dishes. I am also a huge fan of homemade sauces. I always feel like I am cheating a little bit with canned tomatoes, but food mills just seem like so much work. Still, they make a great sauce and you have so much more control over what goes in.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s