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made in dutch oven with a bowl of pasta with spaghetti sauce

Grandma Pat’s Secret Spaghetti Sauce

  • Author: Teri Turner
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Diet: Gluten Free


This is a simple but delicious spaghetti sauce that you could make for a special occasion, or even for a weeknight dinner!


  •  2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  •  1 cup chopped onion
  •  ½ cup chopped celery
  •  1 whole garlic clove, smashed
  •  1 pound ground beef
  •  ½ pound ground pork
  •  1 ½ to 2 (28-ounce) cans whole plum tomatoes, blended
  •  1 to 2 (6-ounce) cans tomato paste
  •  1 cup water
  •  1 tablespoon sugar
  •  1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  •  2 teaspoons dried oregano
  •  2 teaspoons dried basil
  •  ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  •  ½ bunch fresh parsley sprigs


  1. In a large Dutch Oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, cook, stirring constantly, the onion, celery, and garlic, until the onions are translucent, 5 to 7 minutes.
  2. Add the ground beef and ground pork. Stir from the bottom to incorporate the onions and celery mixture into the beef and pork mixture. This technique helps to break the beef up into clumps. Once everything is combined, after about 3 minutes, raise the heat to medium high. The beef and onion mixture will naturally release some liquid. Reduce a bit of the liquid by simmering the liquid to half its amount, about 10 minutes.
  3. Still over medium-high heat, add the tomato paste and stir to combine. Pour the blended plum tomatoes into the pot.
  4. Add the water, sugar, salt, oregano, basil, and pepper. Stir to combine.
  5. Add the fresh parsley and bring to a slow simmer. Cover and simmer for about an hour.
  6. Remove parsley sprigs prior to serving. Add more salt if needed. Serve over your favorite pasta or feel free to double the recipe to freeze for later.



Paleo/Whole30 version: There is a certain magic to doing this recipe exactly as it is, but to make a different version that is Whole30 compatible, remove the sugar and double the tomato paste. It won’t be the same, but it will still be a very good Paleo sauce.

Keywords: spaghetti sauce, italian, tomato sauce