Quick and Easy From Scratch Spaghetti Sauce


This post was to have been a recipe for a beautiful green bean salad.  I had all the pictures ready to go, and when I sat down to work on my post, I realized I had inadvertently packed up the cookbook containing the recipe.  It is sealed up in a box somewhere upstairs – one of about ten simply marked “Books. Lift from the Bottom.”

For dishes like a green bean salad, I don’t typically use a recipe, I just pour a bit of this and a bit of that, tasting as I go.  I could give you a list of what to pour and taste, but chances are you may not enjoy cooking like that so I will post the green bean recipe  later when we’ve moved and the boxes have been unpacked.

Here instead is a recipe for spaghetti sauce in keeping with what has turned out to be a tomato theme for the past few weeks.  Tomatoes are about the only thing that is growing right now due to the horrible heat, and even they are starting to show some signs of strain.

This is a very rustic recipe.  I don’t peel or seed the tomatoes.  You can if you’d like, but if you do so rename this “From Scratch Spaghetti Sauce” as peeling and seeding will take you some time.

First off: turn on some very happy cooking music.  Ella Fitzgerald is my personal choice but Judy Garland or Edith Piaf work just as well.  Put on a pretty apron, pour yourself a glass of something nice, and think about how lovely it is to make your own sauce.

Next start cooking your onions and garlic in a saucepan over medium high heat.  Then coarsely chop about 3 1/2 pounds of tomatoes of any variety.  I like to use my food processor to speed the process.

1. Combination of Cherokee Purple, Roma, and Austin’s Pear
2. Load into bowl of food processor and…
3. Voila. Isn’t a food processor great?

Set the chopped tomatoes aside, and sprinkle about 1/2 t of thyme over your onions, pour enough vermouth over them to cover, and cook a bit to allow the onions to absorb the liquid.  Then add your tomatoes, your seasonings, and adjust to taste.

1. Start your onions and garlic slow while your preparing the tomatoes
2. Add enough vermouth (or other dry white) to cover
3. Sprinkle with thyme and allow them to cook down a bit

That’s all there is to it.

Now, because of the fresh tomatoes, this makes for a bit of a “liquidy” sauce.  It can be cooked down to reduce the liquid, and/or you can add a bit of tomato paste to give it more body.  If you’d like  you can finish it off with a drizzle of olive oil before serving. This recipe will freeze well, and you can put some aside so you’ll have tomatoes from your garden in the middle of winter.


Quick and  Easy From Scratch Spaghetti Sauce

4 T EVOO, divided

1 chopped yellow onion

about 1 T crushed garlic

½ t thyme

¼ c vermouth

3 ½ # fresh tomatoes coarsely chopped

1 t basil

½ t oregano

1 t kosher salt

pepper to taste

pinch of sugar

1 T  tomato paste, plus more if needed

Heat 2 T of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion, and garlic.  Cook, stirring frequently until the onion starts to turn soft and translucent, about 4-6 minutes.  Sprinkle the thyme over the onion and add the vermouth.  Allow the onions to cook and absorb some of the liquid.  Add the tomatoes, the basil, the oregano.  Add the salt and pepper to taste.  Increase the heat to high and cook until the tomatoes have softened.  Season with a pinch of sugar and add tomato paste if desired.  Finish with remaining 2 T of olive oil.

Makes about 2 1/2 cups.

This recipe was inspired by one found in this favorite cookbook.

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Quick and Easy From Scratch Spaghetti Sauce — 14 Comments

  1. Hi Jenny what a lovely blog you have here! Nice looking tomato sauce too:) Hope the heat subsides a bit for you…

  2. I make a quick passata just like the for the freezer every year. Though I never thought about putting vermouth in it – will have to try that. We have a lonely bottle of vermouth in the cupboard somewhere. I often use leftover wine in mine, or sometimes balsamic vinegar.

    • I use vermouth in a lot of things ~ lovely stuff and it adds so much flavor. I also like to use balsamic vinegar sometimes. I sometimes use it in this sauce, the original recipe calls for it, if I’m not going to cook it down.

  3. I have made more spaghetti sauce then I care to think about. It was such a mess cooking and spattering all over the stove. Finally I tried cooking it in a slow oven in a roasting pan. Worked beautifully. Never burned, never spattered.

  4. Looks super yummy. I made 13 quarts of spaghetti sauce yesterday – thanks to a friend gifting us more tomatoes. I use an immersion blender to chop up all my veggies. After I cut my tomatoes I put them in a colandar and let them drain out a bit. This helps with being too liquidy. I can the drained liquid as tomato broth to use in soups and rice.

    • I never thought to drain them in a colander and keep the liquid! That is a great idea Angi.

  5. Any suggestions for substitutions for the vermouth for those of us who don’t keep that around. (I think I have some peppermint schnapps in my freezer that’s been there about 4 years, but I doubt that would be a very good flavor combo, LOL)

    • Hi Becky! You could just simply eliminate it. All it does is deepen the flavor somewhat. Red cooking wine would work (decrease the salt perhaps), or broth, or just don’t use anything in its place. The recipe is very forgiving so whatever you choose to do that would suit your taste is just fine.

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