authentic homemade italian gravy (spaghetti sauce)

Sarah_McCormick avatar
By Sarah McCormick
from Ft. Myers, FL

This authentic homemade Italian Sauce (or Gravy as most Italians call it) is bursting with sweet San Marzano tomato flavor, fresh basil, and is easy enough even for the beginner in the kitchen. Learn to make this sauce to WOW your family, guests, and to have on hand when time is short and you need to feed a crowd. Even the pickiest of eaters will love it - children and adults alike! It's so versatile you can use it for everything. This sauce has low acidity. Please be sure to PINCH this recipe to save it to your recipe box, share it with friends, and last but not least, Enjoy!

serves 8-12
prep time 15 Min
cook time 30 Min
method Stove Top

Ingredients For authentic homemade italian gravy (spaghetti sauce)

  • 1 sm
    onion, diced or rough chopped
  • 3 clove
    garlic, peeled and cut in half
  • 2 Tbsp
    olive oil
  • 1/4 c
    chopped fresh basil or 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp
  • 2 can
    san marzano tomatoes, 28-32 oz.
  • 1 lb
    ground beef
  • 1/2 tsp
    black pepper

How To Make authentic homemade italian gravy (spaghetti sauce)

  • 1
    Heat olive oil in a dutch oven or pot (large enough to contain all sauce ingredients) over medium heat. When hot but not smoking, add onion and garlic and saute until onion is translucent and garlic is fragrant. Be sure to stir every couple minutes so the garlic doesn't burn. If you want to leave the garlic in the sauce, you may do so, but if not, now is the time to remove garlic from the pot. I personally leave it in because my family loves garlic. If you choose to remove it, there will only be a very subtle garlic flavor present in the sauce.
  • 2
    Add ground beef to pot with onion and olive oil. Fry, breaking up until small pieces are all that's left. Drain if excess oil is present; I recommend using lean ground beef for health reasons and draining.
  • 3
    Once drained, add both cans of tomatoes, filling with 1.4 can of water afterwards to rinse the remaining sauce out and add to pot. Add chopped or broken up basil leafs if using fresh, or add dried basil at this time. Also add salt and pepper to pot. Stir well, breaking up any large chunks of tomato against the side of the pot.
  • 4
    Allow pot to come to a simmering boil, and then turn heat down to low. Place lid on the pot, stirring every 5 minutes or so. Allow to simmer for 30-45 minutes. When the proper time has passed, taste the sauce and add more salt and pepper to your liking.
  • 5
    Once this time has elapsed, your sauce is done and you are ready to use it for whatever you want - baked ziti, lasagna, spaghetti, stuffed peppers, or over polenta. You can also make a meatless version by simply omitting the ground beef, and you may use the sauce for pizza as well! It's a great, flavorful, and very versatile sauce for all occasions. Enjoy!