Damn Good Spaghetti


One of the first meals I ever made my (now) husband Aaron was spaghetti. As I dumped jars of Prego into a pot and seasoned it with salt, sugar and a glug of red wine just like my mother always did, I had no idea this would be a meal that I would serve over and over again. He still requests my spaghetti sauce after 10 years of marriage and it’s probably one of my children’s favorite meals.

While the recipe has evolved over the years, it remains a simple crowd pleaser, drawing family and friends to the table with a warm hearty meal.

This simple spaghetti makes a great quick week-night family dinner or it can easily be served to a crowd, especially with a velvety merlot to go along with it.

Spaghetti Sauce

  • 2 28 ounce cans crushed tomatoes (highest quality you can find, preferably san marzano)
  • 1 medium sweet onion, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 1 pound sweet pork Italian sausage
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • ½ tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons (heaping) basil pesto
  • 4 tablespoons red wine OR red wine vinegar
  • 1 pound spaghetti noodles
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh parsley

In a large pot over medium heat, brown Italian sausage until just cooked through. Remove sausage from pan and set aside. Over medium heat sauté onion until translucent, about five minutes. Add garlic and cook an additional 2 minutes until garlic is fragrant. Add the crushed tomatoes, and stir in sugar, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, pesto and wine. Stir the Italian sausage back into the sauce and reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and simmer for as long as you have, at least an hour but the longer it sits, the better it tastes.

This recipe requires lots of tasting along the way but is also incredibly forgiving. If it tastes a little tangy or salty or sweet for your preference, just adjust slightly and keep stirring. I often sauté a few veggies, sometimes grated carrots, zucchini and mushrooms in with the onion to make the sauce a little heartier.

In a different pot, bring a pot of heavily salted water to boil over high heat. Cook spaghetti noodles per the box instructions. Drain pasta well. Ladle sauce over the pasta and garnish with parmesan cheese and minced Italian parsley.


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