August 11, 2010


Spaghetti Sauce From Scratch

I’ve just never bothered with making spaghetti sauce from scratch.  One of the things I really like about spaghetti is that it can be a quick and easy meal when using sauce from a jar.  The other reason I never made it is that so many recipes use canned tomatoes.  To me, that’s not completely from scratch and if I’m going to open cans of tomatoes, I might as well just open a jar of sauce.

MP900400601 I’m actually not very fond of tomatoes.  I like them cooked just fine, but I don’t like them raw.  I don’t like the taste, smell or feel of them.  I even dislike tomato plants.  I have grown a few tomato plants over the years for the sake of my family and this year I decided to try a grape tomato plant.  That one plant has produced an abundance of tomatoes over the past few weeks and I have learned that I don’t mind eating them raw (the smaller the better, though).

So when I started receiving lots of large tomatoes from my CSA box I knew I would have to do something with them.  The grape tomatoes were all we needed for regular eating.  That led me to deciding to try spaghetti sauce from scratch.  I really thought it would be too much work, especially boiling the tomatoes and peeling them, but I was wrong.  Sure, it takes longer than opening a jar, but it wasn’t bad at all, and I made of lot of it.

Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce

spaghetti sauce on pasta
Start with the tomatoes.  They need to be peeled.  I was tempted not to peel them, but then I thought of times when I use canned tomatoes and a bit of peel gets in there.  It’s tough and unpleasant.  Peel the tomatoes.  It’s easy to do.  Bring a pot of water to boil.  I use my electric tea pot to get water hot quickly.  The pot does not have to be big enough to hold all the tomatoes.  I did four at a time. Also have a bowl of ice water ready to put the boiled tomatoes into.  Add the tomatoes to the boiling water and set your timer for 1 minute.  That’s all it takes and slightly less time is better than more.  As soon as the timer goes off, use a slotted spoon to remove the tomatoes and immediately submerge them in the ice water.  Add the next batch of tomatoes to the pot and set your timer again until all the tomatoes have been boiled.

Doing this step doesn’t take long and it makes removing the skins so easy.  They slide right off the tomato, and sometimes just fall off.  The tomato in this picture was half peeled before I removed any skin.

spaghetti sauce - peeled tomato Once the tomatoes are peeled, slice them in half and use your finger to remove the seeds.  You might need to slice them again the same direction to remove more seeds.  The tomato half on the left side of this picture has been seeded.

spaghetti sauce - seeded tomato Now chop the tomatoes.  The size is up to you.  Place them in a colander while you work on the rest of the sauce.  Put a bowl underneath if you want to save the tomato juice.  Draining the tomatoes will help keep the sauce from being too watery.  I actually skipped this step and wished I hadn’t.  I had to later thicken the sauce by reduction.

Brown the ground beef or sausage.  When it is halfway done, add the onions and garlic to soften them up some.  They cook slowly in the crock pot and I like my onions well done.  Drain.

Add everything except the wine to your slow cooker and stir to mix.  The herbs can be adjusted to taste.

spaghetti sauce - uncooked in crockCover it and cook on high 3 – 3 1/2 hours or low 6 – 6 1/2 hours.   Stir in the wine, turn the cooker to high if you had it on low,  and cook another 30 minutes.  Remove the lid during this time if the sauce is too thin.

spaghetti sauce - cooked in crockThis makes a large batch of sauce so you can freeze the extra or plan to use it for more than one meal.

View Printable Recipe

This post is linked to the following food carnivals.  The links you will find there are not necessarily gluten-free, but many are naturally gluten-free or can easily be adapted.

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In my family, not liking tomatoes is blasphemy! I've never made my own sauce, but my mom does it all the time. I absolutely love tomatoes to the extent that I have to keep myself from just biting into them raw. Your sauce looks delicious! I love that you didn't buy canned tomatoes, not that there's anything wrong with them. There's just something about slicing into a fresh tomato that is so wonderful.

Oh boy, I'm a bit passionate about tomatoes.
What a wonderful recipe. I have tomatoes coming out of my ears this summer.
Gorgeous tomato sauce! I love making sauce like this, the long cooking time brings out the best flavor!
I can't believe you don't like tomatoes! How did I not know this about you. I don't like them either. I am going to have to try your sauce, I made sauce one from tomatoes the Cole's gave us and it was terrible! I am willing to try again though.

This looks SO GOOD! I love the recipes you post. I have a website,, and would love to hear from you! ShareWIK (share What I Know) is a website devoted to bringing together women from all different situations and backgrounds (as well as a few men!) to talk about their experiences and learn from each other. We are taking about Celiac Disease this week on ShareWIK, and I would love your intake. Just sign up to get started. Hope to hear from you!
- Diana Keough
P.S. And keep up the great work!
I love freshly made tomato sauce! It's the best. I need to get myself in gear, and make some with my own ripening tomatoes!

I'm also a huge fan of the grape tomatoes! You should try the yellow grape tomatoes, they're realy good too :)
I'm like you, I prefer them cooked to raw! Your sauce looks awesome, I may have to give it a go.

My version of from-scratch sauce (which I made last night with CSA tomatoes too!) is more basic. I saute some onions in a little olive oil, add in diced tomatoes and garlic. I then add a little salt (usually more salt later to taste, I don't like to front load too much!) and any herbs or spices I am feeling like. Let 'er simmer. That's about it. I should get more adventurous!

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