Homemade Spaghetti Sauce- A Spera-Crassweller Family Recipe

My Favorite part of the finish product....TASTING!

For as long as I can remember, my mom has always made her own sauce for pasta. As with anything homemade, it is always better than store bought and you know exactly what is in it. This recipe is passed down from my great grandmother to grandmother to my mom and now my brother and I. My Grandmother was one of ten children and each one had their own way of making the sauce. Some members like to use chicken instead of sausage, others didn't use any meat at all but more herbs. No two sauces will ever be alike. I am sure that as I get older I will be adding different items to make the sauce my own.

While the recipe is super easy; it takes A LOT of time. However the most labor intensive is the first 1-2 hours depending on if you do any prep work the day before. The recipe below is for a 16 qt. pot, I do not expect most to have access to anything larger than a 4-5 qt. stock pot, so keep this in mind when you are making yours.

Ingredients (For a 16 quart stock pot)
  • 6-12 uncooked sausage links (can use chicken/pork/beef depending on your preference.)
  • White or Sweet onions diced 
    •  *For any sized pot you want the onions to cover the bottom by 2 inches. That is about the length of your index finger from tip to first knuckle. Do not do this in the pan as the oil will be VERY hot.
  • 1 head of garlic minced
  • 3 cans of Tomato Paste
  • 3 cans of Crushed Tomatoes
  • 6 cans of cold water
  • Salt to taste (try not to over salt, start with 1 tbls and see how it goes)
  • Pepper
  •  1tbls Basil
  • 1 tbls Oregano
  • 1 tbls Thyme


  1. Place the pot over medium heat on the stove. wait a few min until the bottom gets hot. Add the sausage links to the pan (do not over crowd!). Brown the sausage for approx. five min a side.
We like to use Hot Italian Sausage as it adds a nice flavor and bite to the sauce
Leave fat for the flavor!
  1. Remove the sausage and set aside in a paper towel lined bowl or plate for later. If there is a lot of fat at the bottom drain about a tablespoon or so. Don't drain all of it as you want it to barely cover the bottom of the pan. 
  2. Add your onions to the bottom of the pan and reduce the heat to medium low. Cover and sweat the onions 20-40 min until translucent; stir occasionally.  
  3. Your onions should look pretty close to this.
  4. Add Salt, Pepper, and Garlic and Stir for 1 min.
  5. Add in your Tomato Paste, Crushed Tomatoes and 6 cans of cold water (For every 1 can of tomato paste use 2 cans of cold water.) 
    1. Set heat to medium-high and stir.
    2. Bring to a SIMMER. Cover and let sit for 4-5 hours.
      1. Add the meat back in to cook the whole way through
      2. Do Not Boil. Tomatoes have sugar and can easily burn
    3. Add Basil, Oregano, Thyme; stir and let cook for another 10 min. 
    4. Remove the sauce from heat and let cool.

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