- 1 pound bulk Italian sausage
- 1 large sweet onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 can (6 ounces) Italian tomato paste
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
- Hot cooked pasta of your choice
- In a large saucepan, cook the sausage, onion and garlic in oil over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain.
Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, water, parsley, brown sugar, vinegar and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 1-1/2 hours or until flavors are blended. Serve with pasta.
Freeze option: Freeze cooled sauce in freezer containers. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Heat through in a saucepan, stirring occasionally and adding a little water if necessary. Yield: 8 servings.
Medium-Bodied Red Wine
Enjoy this recipe with a medium-bodied red wine such as Chianti, Sangiovese, Malbec or Zinfandel.
Reviews for Family-Favorite Pasta Sauce
"Very good, versatile. Especially liked the addition of balsamic vinegar."
"I love the flavor of this pasta sauce! I use it in my lasagna."
"Very good! The brown sugar and balsamic vinegar make it very flavorful. This is a great recipe as written and is a good base for variations. I make this all the time and have settled on this variation as our favorite: I use hot Italian sausage, casings removed and browned (I do not use oil since not needed for this type of sausage). The hot Italian sausage gives it a little more kick (but only use if you like spicy). I add one finely diced carrot and one finely diced celery stalk with the onions and garlic. If I have fresh mushrooms, I slice them and add with other vegetables. In place of water, I used half beef or reduced sodium chicken broth and half red wine. I put the wine and broth in before all the tomatoes and sauce and let it reduce down in the meat and veges. Then I add the tomatoes, sauce and seasoning. I like sauce, so I use one 28oz can of crushed tomatoes, two 14.5oz cans diced tomatoes with seasonings, one 6oz can tomato paste, and one 8oz can of tomato sauce. I add more seasoning sometimes using packaged spaghetti sauce seasoning mix (usually two packets). I use dried parsley since I rarely have fresh on hand. I still add the basil and Italian seasonings even if I use the packaged seasoning mix. It just seems that more seasoning is needed for the quantity of sauce. Sometimes I double the brown sugar and balsamic since I essentially doubled the sauce with adding both crushed and diced tomatoes. This is the only sauce I make now - the brown sugar and balsamic vinegar really make a difference in the flavor (along with the red wine!). Using the crushed tomatoes in addition to the diced tomatoes makes it both chunky and saucy!"
"Very good. I'm not a huge sausage lover, but this recipe is delicious. I did rinse the meat after browning and added a couple of fresh chopped tomatoes. Will make this again."
"Substitute for turkey Italian sausage. Company worthy."
"This was a really good sauce. I substituted turkey Italian sausage like several other reviewers did."
"I used turkey Italian sausage but otherwise followed the recipe. I made this ahead and froze it to serve to the grandkids. All the kids loved it! Personally, I prefer an unsweetened sauce, so I gave it a 4-star rating. I'll certainly make it again for the grandkids, though."
"Really yummy!! Used turkey Italian sausage instead of regular and didn't use garlic (didn't have any), but I really like how chunky and hearty this was. My kids, who aren't big pasta eaters, really loved this too. We'll be making this again and again!!!"
"totally and awesome recipe , a must make , the flavors are great , i severed over buttered noodles"
"My family really likes this recipe. It was a little bit oily so next time I will probably not use any oil to cook the sausage and see how that goes."