Friday, July 15, 2011

Homemade Tomato Basil Spaghetti Sauce...for the Freezer!

I was so lucky to grow up in a town where there were so many Italian families.  I have terrific memories of knocking on a friend's door to play and entering into the incredible aroma of homemade spaghetti sauce simmering away on the stove top. Talk about comfort food!

Though we have no Italian heritage in our family, I still want to cook the homemade goodness of my childhood memories!  With much experimentation, I've come up with this simple, yet tasty recipe for Spaghetti, you can make a big pot full and freeze it for later!

Ingredients (add in this order):
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1/4 Cup Minced Garlic
2 Large Onions, Minced
1 Cup Red Wine
3 Tablespoons Italian Seasoning
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup White Sugar
3 Large (29 oz) Cans Tomato Sauce
3 Large (29 oz) Cans Petite Diced Tomatoes
1 Cup Chopped Fresh Basil

In a large pot, saute the garlic and onions in the olive oil for about a minute.  Then add the wine and let it simmer for about 2 minutes to cook off a good amount of the alcohol.  Add the remaining ingredients and set to low heat.  Simmer for 2 hours, uncovered, stirring occasionally.

The red wine I used was a gift from some dear friends who have been making their own wine at home.  It's so delicious and cheap to make that I think I'll be dabbling in the home-wine-making business myself soon!

I have a bumper crop of fresh basil this year, so I was happy to put in a whole bunch straight from the garden.

Here's what you want the sauce to look like as it's simmering...small bubbles only:

After 2 hours, take it off the heat and let it cool for about another hour.

Now you can bag it up in double lined freezer bags (I always use two freezer bags when dealing with a liquid) and keep it in the freezer for up to 6 months.  When you're ready to use it, simply defrost in your microwave.

This recipe makes about 25 Cups of Spaghetti Sauce, the equivalent of 8 Jars (24-25 oz each) of high-quality store-bought pasta sauce.  (Have you noticed that the size of the spaghetti sauce jars is getting smaller?)  I separated mine into 5 servings - 4 freezer bags and 1 for dinner with my homemade "Just Like Italy Meatballs."

Fake-It Yourself Breakdown:

25 Cups Homemade Chunky Tomato Basil Spaghetti Sauce (Canned Tomatoes/Sauce $0.75 each, Basil $0.00, Wine $0.00, Pantry Items $1.00)

Total Fake-It Cost:  $5.50

Compare to 25 Cups High Quality Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce, like Victoria Pasta Sauce ($6.19, 25 oz jar)
Total Fake-It Yourself Savings: $44.02 


  1. I'm doing it! Got basil and sale tomatoes at the grocery today. Need wine and garlic. Thanks for the awesome post!


  2. Enjoy! We feasted last night! :)

  3. Thanks for the great tip! I am going to try making and freezing my sauce! Thanks for stopping by my blog today! Returning the follow!

  4. I have been looking for a recipe like this since we use a lot of pasta sauce in our dishes. Thanks! Am I paying too much for my diced tomatoes/tomato sauce because I pay more that what you have down in your cost break down. I don't pay as much for pasta sauce as the comparison sauce either. So my "Fake it yourself" savings would be much less, about $12. Still pretty good though:)

  5. Sounding pretty delicious!!! You've given inspiration to get things done!!! Love the recipe!

  6. Hi Jackie! I picked up those diced tomatoes/sauce on sale, but I think the Aldi's (if you have one nearby) price on tomatoes is pretty cheap, too. Still, $12 is still great savings! Cheers!

  7. Ooo! Yummy! We would love for you to come share this at our "Strut Your Stuff Saturday" link party!

    The Sisters @

  8. I will be making this recipe for sure! I love good tomato sauce and often find myself "doctoring" up the jar stuff anyway. So this is perfect!

    Boy am I glad you stopped by my blog! First of all I love your blog title, but most of all I love the contents! I'll be a regular for sure!

    Stacey @

  9. Sounds like a great recipe - never thought to put red wine or sugar in the sauce.

    I love that you break down the cost, too. It is cheaper to make stuff from scratch, and some recipes are cheaper than others. I have a page on my blog where I do a cost break down of recipes. I need to get back into doing that again!

  10. Thnx for sharing :) .. here is reciepe to make Pasta Soup
    Hope you like it :)

  11. Can't you can this too? I would think so:-)

  12. Thanks for this recipe and the many others that have helped me. I am currently living in Asia and cannot buy many items common in America such as wine or canned tomato sauce. Is there something I could substitute for the wine or would it still be tasty without it? Could I substitute tomato paste diluted with water for the tomato sauce?

    1. Hi! So glad you've found these recipes helpful! Yes, you can skip the wine altogether. The sauce will still be yummy! Also, you could absolutely dilute tomato paste to make tomato sauce (that's probably all it is anyway) - I would add the water slowly to be aware of the consistency so that the sauce isn't too thin. All the best to you!

  13. How long would you keep the sauce in the freezer? I'm worried it would get freezer-burned before I got to it.

  14. Is it possible to make this without the red wine?

  15. SO GOOD. I do have to admit though, that I did alter it while cooking. I added about 1 Tbsp of Balsamic vinegar, & salt & pepper to taste. I was afraid it wouldn't be as sweet as I normally like it, so I added 1 jar of Private Selection (Kroger brand) marinara sauce. This made so much sauce & it was so SUPER GOOD!! Thanks for the recipe!


Compliments and Frugal Tips Only, Please!

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