Grandma’s Spaghetti Sauce


Grandma’s Spaghetti Sauce is a family recipe that was most likely passed along to my Grandma from my Grandpa’s sister (who married into the Italian side.)  Grandma Solbakken (Nordic translation “sunny hill”) would make this delicious “spaghetti sauce” and serve it over Rigatoni.  She would make it in a big stainless steel pot (the same one she would make cioppino in) and we would scoop the sauce over the rigatoni or it would be mixed in with the sauce. We then would sprinkle canned Parmesan cheese over the top. Yummy!  To this day I am still not sure why it is called “spaghetti sauce” because I have NEVER had it with spaghetti.
But no matter – it’s damn good.

Grandma’s Spaghetti Sauce is still a family favorite and a real crowd pleaser.  The longer it sits the better it gets and it also freezes well.  Today, I serve it sprinkled with fresh grated Parmesan cheese with a side of my Herbed Garlic Bread (recipe coming soon).

It’s a simple dish that’s sure to please.  Buon appetito.


You will need canned stewed or diced tomatoes, I am using the stewed Italian variety, tomato sauce, a large onion, a whole head of garlic (yep, you heard right!) and rigatoni pasta.


My addition – fresh parsley


The meats: 1 lb beef stew meat, and 2-3 boneless pork chops.


My other addition salami.  “Where’s the pepperoni”, you ask? I forgot to get the pepperoni and had to run to the store.  The original recipe only uses pepperoni but I thought salami would also be a great addition.


Trim the meat and cut into bite size chunks – I also cut the beef chunks into smaller bite size pieces.

They should all be a nice, uniform size.


In a large saucepan, brown the meat in a little olive oil.


Then add tons and I mean tons of minced fresh garlic – to clear out any vampires in the room.


Sprinkle some sugar on the top of the garlic.  I have also found that blue nail polish helps clear out any remaining vampires.


A touch of sugar helps balance the sauce; bringing out the sweetness of the garlic against the acidity of the tomatoes.


Now chop up that onion


toss ‘em in the pot


and give it a good stir.


Let it simmer for 1/2 hour over med/low heat.


Now its time to add the Italian stewed tomatoes


lots of yummy tomatoes – my tummy is rumbling.


Toss the tomatoes around and add


the tomato sauce.


Stir it all together and go paint your nails blue & watch the football game with the dudes.

Simmer 2-3 hours.


Keep it at a nice simmer -Stir occasionally.

After the 2-3 hours simmering on the stove


add some Italian seasoning,


chopped pepperoni, salami and parsley.


Just dump it all in the sauce


and give a good stir.


Let simmer for another 2 more hours.


After the 2 hour mark – it’s time to get the rigatoni pasta cooked!

Boil the H2O


and cook until al dente.  I usually cook mine about 11 min.


Grandma’s Spaghetti Sauce is looking good and ready to eat! Just some salt and pepper to taste.


lonely rigatoni


sitting next to it’s saucy neighbor


Scoop the sauce on and combine.


A big bowl of Grandma’s Spaghetti Sauce w/ Rigatoni


I love how the sauce clings to the noodles – oh what goodness.


Load it into your bowl and sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on top


and serve it with some garlic bread.


Buon appetito.

Printable Recipe Printable Recipe

Grandma’s Spaghetti Sauce

This is a delicious and simple sauce – just allow extra time for it to simmer.

Cut the following into bite size chunks:
1 lb. Beef stew
2-3 boneless pork chops
In a large saucepan/stockpot, brown the meat in a little olive oil.

Then add:
1 whole head of garlic, (at least 6 – 8 cloves) pressed or minced
Sprinkle a bit of sugar on top of the garlic.

Chop 1 large onion. Add to saucepan and stir.
Stir and simmer on med/low heat for ½ hour.

Then add: 4 cans 12.5 oz Italian stewed tomatos (any stewed will do)
~or~ 2 cans 28 oz. Italian diced peeled tomatoes
I have made it both ways; sometimes with a mixture of each. I usually use whatever canned tomatoes I have in my cupboard, just keep the proportions about right.
Add: 2 cans 15 oz tomato sauce.
Mix it all together and simmer 2-3 hours. Stir occasionally.

Cut into bite size slices/wedges:
1 whole Pepperoni
1 whole Salami, optional
1-2 tabelspoons of Italian seasoning
¼ – ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
Add to sauce. Stir in. Let simmer 2 more hours.
Now add salt and pepper to taste.
You can always add or subtract the above meat additions. My mom’s cousin Johnny would vary the recipe each time sometimes adding Italian sausage. Variety is the spice of life!

Rigatoni Pasta: Half the sauce for 1 16 oz. package rigatoni pasta or 2 packages for the entire batch.
Cook pasta until al dente. Drain rigatoni and put in serving bowl. Spoon the sauce on top of the rigatoni in individual bowls or put the drained rigatoni into a large serving bowl and scoop the sauce over, combine and serve. I use half of the sauce for one 16 oz. box cooked Rigatoni. I then freeze the other half.

Unlike some things in life, the longer it sits the better it gets. I love this as a leftover the next day – if you have any left.  I also like to make it a day ahead of time, just to eat the next day!  Serve with a sprinkling of your favorite Parmesan cheese.

Zesty love,