Spaghetti Sauce with Italian Sausage

Spaghetti is one of the most requested meals in my house. If I had to guess, I’d say we probably have it once a week! There’s just something about meaty red sauce dripping off of long, twirly noodles that makes my boys drool!
By a show of hands, how many of you make your spaghetti this way: brown some ground beef, dump in a jar of pasta sauce, and pile it on top of noodles? Don’t feel bad, I do too! It’s quick, easy, and only takes 3 ingredients.
But sometimes I crave something more…ย 
I want the perfect balance between chunky tomatoes and thick, smooth sauce. I want big bites of flavorful, savory meat. I want a blend of spices so good, you think you’re in a fancy restaurant in Italy.
This recipe my friends, is just that! My spaghetti sauce is easy to put together, tastes WAY better than sauce out of a jar, and even though there are a lot of ingredients, most of them are already in your pantry! The ground beef is replaced with flavorful Italian sausage, and red wine with just a hint of brown sugar and red pepper flakes makes the sauce absolutely drool-worthy! You’ll never buy a jar of spaghetti sauce ever again!
*Printable recipe and storage tips below!
Spaghetti Sauce with Italian Sausage
Original recipe from
2 pounds ground Italian sausage (mild or hot)
1 small onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
One 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
Two 15 ounce cans tomato sauce
Two 6 ounce cans tomato paste
2 cups water
3 teaspoons basil
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup red wine
1 pound thin spaghetti noodles
Parmesan cheese (for garnish)
In a large, heavy stockpot, brown Italian sausage, breaking up as you stir. Add onions and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened. Add garlic, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, and water. Add basil, parsley, brown sugar, salt, crushed red pepper, and black pepper. Stir well and barley bring to a boil. Stir in red wine. Simmer on low, stirring occasionally, for at least an hour. Cook spaghetti noodles according to package directions. Spoon sauce over drained spaghetti noodles and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

*This recipe makes A LOT of sauce! I had enough for dinner that night and put two more containers of sauce in the freezer! You can certainly cut this recipe in half, but I figured if I’m making it anyway, I might as well get a few extra dinners out of it! I love having meals ready to go in the freezer!

{ Here’s a great storage tip! } Spoon cooled sauce into gallon freezer bags and freeze laying flat on a baking sheet. The frozen bags can be stacked and take up very little space! Much better than big plastic containers cluttering up your freezer!


  1. Oh my!! I love Italian food and have always wanted to make some homemade sauce. This looks so yummy! Thanks for sharing and I’m pinning this to try out at home!

  2. I just stumbled upon your blog from Roadkill Rescue and I’m in loooove with it! Your pictures and content are so INCREDIBLE that I just had to start following along!

    Hope you can stop by my blog when you get a chance. I like to do DIY stuff, too, and I just submitted my coffee bar post to Roadkill Rescue. I pretty much craft non-stop.


  3. Sounds delicious. We love spaghetti in our house too. I think we have used every meat but italian sausage…I am going to have to give it a try.

  4. This sauce sounds awesome!

  5. I love a good pasta sauce and this one looks really yummy! I am a new follower! I found your link on Flamingo Toes. I would love for you to link up to my weekly linky party Fluster Muster on Wednesdayโ€™s @

  6. Your pasta sauce sounds incredible! Way better than my open a jar and toss in some noodles method ๐Ÿ™‚ I have yours pinned for a change up of the way we do pasta around here. I can’t wait. Your bite has me drooling!!!

  7. Can’t wait to try this! I think I was on the Italian sausage committee somewhere in heaven, so this is right up my alley. Thanks so much for sharing!

  8. This looks great. I love a good spaghetti! My favorite is this one.=)

  9. Anonymous says:

    Looks delish!!!!! What can i substitute red wine? Any suggestions?

  10. Can you tell me what the brown sugar does for the sauce? I would have never thought of adding it.
    Tks. Pauly

    • Liz Fourez says:

      Great question, Pauly! I like to add a bit of sugar any time I’m using tomato products to counteract the acidity of the tomatoes. Using brown sugar instead of granulated white sugar adds an extra depth of flavor that I just love in this sauce. I hope you enjoy in the recipe!

      • L, tks so much for your note,very nice of you. Plan to have friends for Sunday dinner and will use your complete recipe. Great!

  11. This recipe is delicious. It is far better than my standard sauce which I won’t be going back to. I’ll be sharing it around St. Louis, MO. I’m going to make a batch for my father who is also from Northern Illinois (Rural Township, Rock Island County, Illinois). Cheers

    • Liz Fourez says:

      I’m so happy to hear that, Rob! I agree, this sauce is much tastier than any of the others I’ve tried before. How sweet of you to share with your father! Thanks for stopping by to share your feedback!

  12. Melissa Bradshaw says:

    What kind/brand of red wine do you use?

    • Liz Fourez says:

      Whatever is on sale. Ha! ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m not a big wine snob, so anything that is on the drier side works well with this recipe. It doesn’t have to be fancy!

  13. Do you use fresh or dried basil for the sauce?

    • Liz Fourez says:

      Hi Sandra! For this recipe, I used dried basil, but if I have some fresh, I’ll definitely throw that into the sauce!

  14. Shannon says:

    I made your spaghetti Sauce tonight and it was amazing. I wouldn’t change a thing . We are going to use the leftovers tomorrow for baked spaghetti. I’ve made homeade sauce for years but decided to try your recipe and I will put it with my favorites. Thank you for sharing, Shannon

  15. SoCalGal619 says:

    I made this tonight so it would be ready for dinner tomorrow. It made four Mason jars full! How economical is that??! A definite plus. And yes, it is DELICIOUS! I haven’t had it over the pasta yet but after I let it simmer for a good hour and a half, I snuck a taste and OMG, like you said, I will NEVER buy another jar of spaghetti sauce again! So flavorful! Also, you were right about having most of the ingredients in your pantry. Only things I had to buy were the tomato paste and crushed tomatoes. Thank you so much! This recipe’s a keeper!

  16. Cindy Brown says:

    How weird, I found this EXACT recipe word for word, on another web site, and they call it “Jo Mama’s Famous Spaghetti”. By Sharlene W. Hmmmm

    • Thank you for helping me source this recipe, Cindy! I wrote it down in my recipe book years and years ago and could never remember it came from. I’m very diligent about that now! Thanks again finding the original. ๐Ÿ™‚

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