How to Make a Killer Red-Sauce

Fair warning.  You may want to eat all of this sauce yourself.  You may find yourself snacking on this with a little pasta or spaghetti squash, or dipping it in a good French bread.  I have always been a pasta girl, but in more recent years, I have found that I end up feeling a bit too full on most occasions.  That didn’t stop me from making this red-sauce a regular part of my meal planning.  I spent years adding ingredients and testing different spices to this sauce.  I am always willing to change or adapt, but here is a step-by-step to how I usually tackle my homemade “killer” red-sauce.

Ingredients you need:

Take a couple cans of organic tomato sauce and a can of diced tomatoes. If you can get your hands on a large can of Nina tomatoes/sauce, use half of that. It is fantastic!

This picture shows everything except the oil and bay leaves. I will go through the list later, since there are some options for substitutions.

First, melt some coconut oil in a large cast iron pot. Mine is enamel-coated and it is amazing!

Next, dice up half an onion and cook in the oil until browned. Add 3-4 gloves of crushed garlic and sautée.


While you are cooking the onions and garlic, brown 1-2 lbs of ground beef in a separate cast-iron skillet.  Salt and pepper the meat.  

On Spices: 

I do not measure my spices, I just take pinches and taste my sauce as it cooks.  Here is a list of ones I like.  Remember, know your spices!  Taste them before you put them in so you start to know how much you would like in your sauce.

  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Parsley
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Old Bay Seasoning (just a few shakes)\
  • Pasta Sprinkle (this is a mix you can use of some of the spices above!)
  • Herbes de Provence (Adds fun flavor)
  • Salt and Pepper 


Stir up the spices with the onions and garlic and open your sauce cans into the Vitamix:

Add ground beef and sauce to the pot!


Now here comes another kitchen essential: red wine!  Add a few splashes to give depth to your sauce.


At this point, taste your sauce.  Too spicy?  Too bland?  Not enough kick?  Add spice accordingly.  I find that in almost every sauce, I need a bit of a warming balance.  This is a tradition from my side of the family…a small spoonful of brown sugar.


Add bay leaves to the mix and let this sauce simmer for as long as you can handle it :). Mine usually simmers for 30 minutes.


Remove the bay leaves or use for garnish and serve!  I made a delicious spaghetti squash for my “noodle” base.  Split in half, scoop out insides.  Salt, pepper and Kerrygold butter in the middle.  Cook in the oven at 400 degrees F for 45 mins.


And here is a look at the final product.  


Remember, you can be creative in your kitchen and take something ordinary like a “spaghetti sauce” and make a killer red-sauce that warms the hearts and bellies of all who come to your table.  Serve with a glass of wine from the same bottle in the sauce.  Now that’s a perfect pairing. 🙂

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