Family-Favorite Pasta Sauce Recipe
Family-Favorite Pasta Sauce Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Next Recipe

Family-Favorite Pasta Sauce Recipe

Read Reviews
5 26 32
Publisher Photo
This hearty Italian-style meat sauce has a sweetness that I really love. It’s the recipe I use for spaghetti, lasagna and gnocci, which I bake with mozzarella and Parmesan on top.—Jody L Bober, St Clairsville, Ohio
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. Cook: 1-3/4 hours
MAKES:8 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. Cook: 1-3/4 hours
MAKES: 8 servings


  • 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

Nutritional Facts

169 calories: 3/4 cup (calculated without pasta), 9g fat (3g saturated fat), 23mg cholesterol, 884mg sodium, 13g carbohydrate (7g sugars, 3g fiber), 8g protein .


  1. In a large saucepan, cook the sausage, onion and garlic in oil over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain.
  2. 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.
Originally published as Family-Favorite Pasta Sauce in Taste of Home August/September 2011, p21

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

5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star
Please Log In or Join to add a rating and review.
Click stars to rate
Any changes to your rating or review will appear where you originally posted your review
Loading Image
Sort By :
Reviewed Feb. 28, 2015

"Very good, versatile. Especially liked the addition of balsamic vinegar."

Reviewed Dec. 25, 2014

"I love the flavor of this pasta sauce! I use it in my lasagna."

Reviewed Sep. 12, 2014 Edited Sep. 2, 2015

"Very good flavor! I used crushed tomatoes instead of diced because I am not a tomato chunk person. I did not have Italian tomato paste so I just used regular and added more Italian seasoning. In place of water, I used half beef stock and half red wine. I had a mix of Italian sausage and pork sausage (just what I had on hand). I did not need to use any oil to brown the sausage - it wasn't necessary for the type of sausage. I also added an 8oz can of tomato sauce since I like it saucy. I did not have any parsley so I just added a little more Italian seasoning and coarse ground pepper. I had some fresh mushrooms so I sliced and threw them in with the onion and garlic. This will probably replace my previous favorite as my sauce of choice. The brown sugar and balsamic vinegar make it very flavorful."

Reviewed Sep. 11, 2014

"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."

Reviewed Sep. 7, 2014

"Substitute for turkey Italian sausage. Company worthy."

Reviewed Jul. 15, 2014

"This was a really good sauce. I substituted turkey Italian sausage like several other reviewers did."

Reviewed Jul. 13, 2014

"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."

Reviewed Mar. 11, 2014

"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!!!"

Reviewed Jun. 23, 2013

"totally and awesome recipe , a must make , the flavors are great , i severed over buttered noodles"

Pings pot
Reviewed Mar. 18, 2013

"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."

Loading Image