Easy Spaghetti Sauce

[Photograph: @sstiavetti]

About the author: Stephanie Stiavetti is a writer and cookbook author in San Francisco. Stephanie's cookbook, Melt: the Art of Macaroni and Cheese, celebrates America's favorite dish by recreating it with small production, specialty cheeses. Her food blog, The Culinary Life, is a repository for all things comfort food related, from savory dinners to transcendental desserts.

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Easy Spaghetti Sauce

About This Recipe

Yield:Serves 4
Active time:15 minutes
Total time:2 hours
Special equipment:One large heavy-bottomed saucepan
This recipe appears in: Comfort Me with: Easy Spaghetti Sauce


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 medium clove garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoons)
  • 1 pound ground beef chuck
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed
  • 2 sprigs fresh marjoram leaves, chopped
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand or in a food mill
  • 1 (3 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons capers
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons juice from 1 lemon
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 pound pasta
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese


  1. 1

    In a large, heavy-bottomed pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook until gently browned, about 5 minutes, then add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1. Add the ground chuck and break up into chunks. Cook until no pink color remains, about 8 minutes.

  2. 2

    Add the chopped rosemary, thyme, and marjoram, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, capers, red wine vinegar, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.

  3. 3

    Add the bay leaf, bring to a simmer, and lower the heat to very low. Cook, uncovered, for 2 hours, stirring occasionally to keep the bottom from burning. If the liquid from your sauce evaporates too quickly, add a little hot water to keep it from burning.

  4. 4

    When ready to serve, cook pasta in a large pot of salted water according to box instructions. Toss pasta with sauce and serve with grated parmesan.


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