Serves a Crowd

Grandma's Pepperoni Spaghetti Sauce

December 10, 2014
1 Ratings
  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Cook time 2 hours
  • Makes 4 quarts (freezes well)
Author Notes

My mother-in-law makes a killer spaghetti sauce. I can eat it by the bowlful. When I need to make something for a crowd (especially when kids are involved), this is my go-to. It's meaty, tangy, familiar and satisfying. It's love on a plate. —Laurie

What You'll Need
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound bulk Italian sausage (sweet or hot)
  • 6 ounces sliced pepperoni
  • 1 large white onion, chopped medium
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 46 ounces can tomato juice
  • 2 cans tomato sauce (30 oz. total)
  • 2 cans tomato paste (12 oz. total)
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  1. Put a little olive oil in a large pot and saute onions until soft. Remove to bowl. Put ground beef and sausage into pot and brown, breaking up into small pieces (I use a potato masher). Drain excess fat and add onions back in. Put all spices, garlic, pepperoni, tomato sauce and tomato paste into pot and stir until combined. Add half of tomato juice (reserve the remaining juice to thin sauce out, if needed, after simmering). Simmer partially covered for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Pour over hot spaghetti, adding freshly grated parmesan cheese and chopped parsley or basil, if you like.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Sandy Pause
    Sandy Pause
  • Laurie
  • Saffron3

3 Reviews

Sandy P. April 19, 2019
Haven't tried it..but my family is not digging the tomato juice ingredient. I was wondering if I could use tomato sauce or tomato puree (thinned with water if necessary) place of the tomato juice??
Laurie April 19, 2019
I totally get where you're coming from. I thought the same thing when my MIL shared the recipe. It's weird. Ditto the cumin. And yet. It simmers away and produces a thick, really delicious sauce that's not too tomatoey but still bright and fresh. I have made "cheater" versions of this with jarred marinara when I don't have 2+ hours and it's pretty good so I think you could use sauce and thin with water. Let me know if you try it!
Saffron3 October 9, 2016
Thank you! This looks delicious and manageable! I never thought of the pepperoni!