Grandma DiLaura's Tomato and Meat Sauce

February 9, 2011

Author Notes: My grandmother made this sauce for every pasta dish she ever prepared. People are often surprised by how simple the recipe is. No garlic, no olive oil, you don't even chop the onion. It's all about the tomato sauce and flavoring it with a few simple additions -- exactly how good northern Italian cooking is done.cdilaura

Serves: 12-14


  • 28 ounces canned tomato sauce
  • 36 ounces tomato paste
  • 8 cups water {each can filled once}
  • 1 pound ground beef, browned
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 whole medium yellow onion, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
In This Recipe


  1. In a large heavy bottomed pot add the tomato sauce and paste. Fill each can used with water and add to the sauce with basil and salt & pepper and stir. If you are adjusting the quantity of this recipe, adjust the water by the number of cans you use.
  2. Brown the ground beef, drain off the fat and set aside to add after sauce cooks 1 hour.
  3. Bring the pot to a boil on medium-high heat and then turn down to a slow simmer {caution: do not let the sauce boil too long or it will burn}. Sauce will cook 2-3 hours total until thick. Stir occasionally.
  4. After 1 hour, add browned ground beef and whole peeled onion to the sauce.
  5. In the last hour of cooking add 1 teaspoon of baking soda to eliminate some acidity and stir.
  6. When ready to serve, remove whole onion and cut in half or quarters to share. The onion will be extremely tender and sweet and was often fought over at our dinner table!

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