Real Italian Spaghetti Sauce

This recipe is from long, long ago ─ just like all good recipes.

At Marge’s Diner, we keep to the tradition of cooking the sauce for hours and hours. Trust me, it is worth the effort.

Many friends and family are Italian, including our beloved son-in-law, and he likes this sauce!

What’s in it?

3 medium large onions, chopped
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil for sautéing
1 pound extra lean ground beef
1⁄2 pound spicy Italian sausage, or one Mennonite sausage, cut into bite-sized pieces 2 cans tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano, crushed
1 teaspoon dried cilantro or parsley
1 teaspoon dried basil
1⁄4 teaspoon chili pepper, crushed
1 teaspoon sugar
3 or 4 bay leaves
1⁄4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1 1⁄2 cups red wine
10 to 20 cans water, using the tomato paste can to measure
3 to 4-inc long piece of Parmesan rind
Parmesan cheese, freshly grated for serving

Here’s how you do it …

Sauté the onion and garlic until tender in 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Remove onion and garlic to a large bowl. Turn heat up to high, add remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and then add the ground beef.

Stir until partially browned and add the sausage meat.

Turn the heat down to medium-high. Continue browning meat until fully cooked. With a slotted spoon, transfer it from the pot to the onion and garlic mixture.

Drain the cooking pot of extra olive oil. Transfer meat, onion / garlic mixture back into the cooking pot, keep on medium-high heat. Add all the remaining ingredients, beginning with the tomato paste, ending with the cinnamon.

Add the red wine and water to the entire mixture until it is just below the top of the pot. Turn the heat to medium-low and simmer the sauce until it has rendered down to a thick sauce. Stir occasionally. The process takes about five hours, minimum.

From kitchen to table

Goes with most pasta, especially spaghetti. Add fresh Parmesan cheese; serve with green salad.


It’s almost better the second day, after the flavours have melded together.