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RECIPE: Classic Italian Spaghetti Sauce

written by

Jean Hayes

posted on

August 3, 2021

This recipe has been passed down through my family for generations and may never have been written down before. It originated with my grandfather, Papa Joe, who came from Italy as a young man. Since it takes time, I make a large batch and freeze the remainder in quart freezer bags. However, you can scale down if desired.


  • 6 pounds Ramstead ground Italian sausage:  hot, sweet, or a mix
  • 2 pounds other Ramstead ground meat:  beef, pork or lamb
  • 8 large (28 oz) cans of tomato puree
  • 3 large onions diced
  • 2 pounds mushrooms sliced
  • 4 Tbsp minced garlic
  • ~3 Tbsp fresh basil - stems removed and coarsely chopped
  • ~6 Tbsp fresh oregano – stems removed
  • ~2 dozen bay leaves
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 green peppers diced (optional)
  • Olive oil


  1. Brown meat in skillet, drain fully, then move meat to large pot.
  2. Sauté onions, garlic, and green peppers (if desired) with about 4 Tbs olive oil.  Drain fully and add to large pot.
  3. Sauté mushrooms in olive oil, drain and add to pot.
  4. Add tomato puree or tomato sauce and mix.
  5. Add herbs and sugar.
  6. Salt to taste.
  7. Add water to achieve desired consistency. This will depend on the thickness of the tomato preparation.
  8. Simmer on low for 6 – 8 hours, stirring frequently, about every ½ hour.
  9. Remove the bay leaves.


If you need to leave, you can turn the sauce off and resume when you return.  As the sauce simmers you will need to replace the water in order to maintain the desired thickness.

Cooking onions and garlic.

Fresh herbs for the pot.

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