Daddy’s Crushin’ It Spaghetti and Tomato Sauce

You know how growing up you have those certain meals that stick with you for the rest of your life?  This baby’s one of them.  Honestly, what’s better then a huge plate of spaghetti and homemade tomato sauce?  Topped with piles of delicious cheese and steaming hot?  And I’m not just tooting my own horn, I truly believe this recipe is one of the best spaghetti recipes out there.  It’s flavorful and thick and salty… mmmm….

I got so used to my dad’s tomato sauce when I was younger that whenever we went out to eat and I ordered spaghetti I was always disappointed.  Everything else just seemed so watery and tasteless.  Do you guys know what I mean?  Those restaurants that have gross runny tomato sauce that just slides off the noodles?  This is opposite of those recipes.

This is the meal that my dad and I would cook most often together.  By the age of 9 I had it memorized and could make it sans supervision.  But since I took several years off cooking as a teenager, when I got to college I had to text my dad and ask him to send the recipe over, because my memory was a little fuzzy as to what size cans of tomatoes and such to use.  But really, this recipe is incredibly simple!  I whipped it up tonight after Matt and I went for a run through Randall’s Island because I figured I could allow myself some carbs post-run (health fanatics – there’s no need to correct my logic here, I’m already aware it’s faulty).       Anyways, this recipe hit the spot.  I had to resist getting myself second and third helpings.  Pasta is something that I could literally eat for days and never get sick of it.  Amiright?

Quick disclaimer: Since I’ve made this so often I really estimate the amount of spices and salt I add in.  This recipe is not an exact science, so some of my measurements may seem vague.  Go with your gut on how much you think it needs 🙂


Spaghetti with Homemade Tomato Sauce (Serves 4)


  • 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 15 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1-2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1-2 tsp dried basil (or several leaves of fresh basil)
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (or more if you like it spicy)
  • Splash of dry red white (white will also work)
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste (I like to go heavy on the salt in this recipe)
  • 1 lb. spaghetti pasta


Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat and add chopped onion.  After several minutes, add the chopped garlic, because garlic will burn much faster and taste bitter if it burns.  When onions are soft and translucent, add the cans of diced tomatoes and tomato sauce, and a heavy spoonful of tomato paste (about 2 Tbsp.)  Stir until combined.  Bring to a heavy simmer and add the herbs and spices, and a heavy splash of wine to give the flavor more depth.  Stir to combine and once simmering, reduce heat slightly to medium and let simmer for about 15-20 minutes to let all the flavors combine.  Taste and season with more salt and pepper if desired.


While the sauce is simmering cook the spaghetti.  I like to do half whole-wheat and half regular spaghetti to be a tad healthier.  Once the pasta is cooked and drained and the sauce has simmered, transfer pasta back to it’s original pot and toss with a small amount of sauce to keep the noodles from sticking together.  Serve on plates and top with heaping spoonfuls of more sauce and shred on some parmesan reggiano!  MMMMM!  Enjoy!

Sidenote: You can also add ground beef to this recipe.  Add it in after sautéing the onions and garlic and cook until browned through, then drain the excess fat before adding tomato products.


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