Homemade Spaghetti Sauce from Scratch

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Homemade Spaghetti Sauce From ScratchThere are probably as many homemade spaghetti sauce recipes as there are those who are eating it. I’m not going to be an Italian Snob (though I am one), and tell you that there is only one right way to make it. There are obviously a few hundred thousand of us Italians or so whom have had  handed down to us homemade spaghetti sauce recipes from our great Grandmas from Italy. Over the generations, perhaps we have experimented with them, tweaked them a tad or mated them with the recipes of other Italian relatives.  The recipe is a still a homemade spaghetti sauce from scratch, isn’t it? There are probably thousands, if not over a million spaghetti sauce recipes – more than there were Italian families in the old country at one time! Since this is a review website, why not share my own one-in-a-million homemade spaghetti sauce recipes.

Making Homemade Spaghetti Sauce From Scratch

A purist might say that nothing from scratch comes in a can, including tomato sauce. I find that a bit too restrictive. The key to a good homemade spaghetti sauce is that it is cooked and simmered with savory meat for several hours. To me, from scratch means that we are not using any other pre-cooked sauces, frozen meatballs, etc.. We do the seasoning and cooking ourselves. Now, if you want to take a few dozen tomatoes and crush them into a sauce all by yourself, be my guest. To me, a homemade spaghetti sauce starts with a couple of big, 28oz cans of Tomato Sauce/Puree; one can tomato paste and one can crushed tomato. Obviously, you’ll want to adjust this quantity for number of people. The three large cans of sauce with one small can of tomato paste should serve about 6-8 people (or 3 hungry Italians).  I mix all the sauce together with a cup and half of wine and 1 and 1/2 of the large cans filled with water. It may seem thin and runny at first, but remember – we’re going to cook it all day long so it has plenty of time to thicken. Don’t freak out over how runny or thick the sauce is – use your own judgment. Remember, that the sauce can be thinned with more water or wine or thickened simply by continuing to simmer it with the lid off.  I may not insist on fresh tomatoes, but I do love fresh garlic. Put about 6 fresh, garlic cloves into the sauce and don’t worry about chopping them up, the cooking will take care of extracting their flavor. The non essential seasonings can be added according to personal taste. I add about a tablespoon of basil, two tablespoons of parsley a half teaspoon of oregano and a Bay Leaf. But whose to say if I’m going to always do it that exact same way every time? You can also Salt and pepper the sauce to taste, but you’ll want it to cook for a couple of hours before you begin tasting it.  Now, that you’ve got your sauce started on the stove, it’s time to add the essential ingredients: Meat. I don’t care if you use, Stew Meat, Italian Sausage, German Sausage or Meatballs, after cooking in the sauce all day, it will taste great! I highly recommend Meatballs and Italian sausage, both, for starters.

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce Meatballs Recipe

Making homemade meatballs for spaghetti sauce is messy, but fun – and the result is the best aroma and smell in the world. Remember, Italian meatballs, should taste like Italian meatballs, not hamburger meat, so you need some fillers. For about a 1lb of hamburger meat, I use 1 cup of roman cheese and 1 cup bread crumbs. For seasoning, I add about a tablespoon of black pepper, 1 tablespoon of basil, 1 teaspoon oregano; 1 tablespoon garlic power, a little paprika and one minced, yellow or white onion. Mix up all of the dry ingredients together in a big mixing bowl. Beat 2 eggs in a glass with a tablespoon of milk, tablespoon of wine, teaspoon of olive oil. Optional: Add about a teaspoon of anchovy paste to the egg mixture for added salt and flavor. Now, simply add the hamburger meat, onions and egg-mixture to the bowl and thoroughly mix it all in with your “clean” hands. When the meat is thoroughly mixed, you can begin to make meatballs with your cupped hands. The size of the meatball is optional, but homemade Italian spaghetti sauce usually means large meatballs. Use your own discretion and adjust for number of people being served. Once the meatballs are made, brown them in a pan of olive oil. Important: Be careful – the meatballs will be very delicate until they are browned on all sides. When the meatballs are browned on all sides, add them to the sauce, then add your Italian Sauce and/or Stew Meat; brown them then add them to the sauce.

Finishing Your Homemade Italian Spaghetti Sauce

Here is a special tip: Don’t dump out the drippings. Add a half cup of wine, vodka or both along with a couple of ladles full of the tomato sauce to the drippings and let the heat of the pan turn it into a nice brown gravy; then add to sauce.  To finish making homemade spaghetti sauce from scratch, you need only one more thing: Time. A good homemade spaghetti sauce requires a minimum of 4 hours cooking time. For best results get the sauce started by 10AM for a 7PM dinner. Make sure the sauce simmers gently as to not burn the meat to the bottom of the pan. Stainless steel cookware is notorious for burning sauce and meatballs, so keep an eye on the sauce; stir gently and frequently; use or remove lid depending on how thick you want the sauce. I know that some people like a really thick sauce like a gravy, but I think most Italians prefer the sauce to be a little juicier. Remember, when the sauce is juicy, it is doing a better job of cooking and extracting the flavors of the meat. However you like it will be handed down as another one in a million scratch homemade sauce recipes.

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