Homemade Italian Pasta Sauce

I grew up in a stereotypical Jersey Italian family complete with loud relatives, large holiday meals and delicious food! Recipes in our family aren’t necessarily passed down on paper, it’s more of a “Just come here and do it with me.” and so we learn. Now, I do have to mention that if I were to truly make this from scratch, I would start with roasting my own tomatoes instead of using canned, but as a busy momma I do take some shortcuts. This pasta sauce may not be exactly how my grandmother or my father made it, but each generation makes their own tweaks based on what they learned. Now, I’ll share it with you!

My Own Homemade Italian Pasta Sauce

This chunky meat-filled sauce will take a while to put together, but I can tell you that the time is worth it. This is not just for a single meal, because I was never taught how to make it for any less than 10-15 people! When I’m making Italian food, I’m prepared to feed an army. The best part about that though? This sauce can be enjoyed hot or cold and only gets better as it sits in the fridge. In fact, if you put it in the right airtight container, it can freeze well for future meals. In fact, I also use it in my 5 Cheese Lasagna which doubles as a freezer friendly meal!

How Long Can Sauce Stay In The Freezer?

This is a topic that generates a wide range of answers. The general rule of thumb is that if the sauce is kept in an airtight container, it can last 4 to 6 months for the best quality. However, I’ve had my sauce in heavy duty freezer bags with the air vacuumed out and can be used safely indefinitely.

Check out my other blog, Sassy Cooking, to learn how you can make a healthy tomato sauce and can it for shelf-stable storage!

What Meats Do You Put Into Pasta Sauce?

This is where the recipes tend to differ in our family. I remember my father always using whole sausage links, meatballs and pork neck bones in his sauce. I have found pork neck bones to be a rarity when I’m grocery shopping, so I tend to exclude them when I’m cooking. However, they do add a great flavor to the sauce should you be able to find them. Depending on your level of spice preference, choose the Italian sausage you prefer. I like using ground sausage personally as I find it infuses better in the sauce.

What Products Do You Recommend To Make Your Own Pasta Sauce?

I’m pretty brand loyal when it comes to the things that I use to make my sauce. If the season is right and I know I’ll have time to prepare it in advance, I’ll order from our local SWFL Produce for tomatoes and roast them myself. If it’s a busy night, I tend to favor Tuttorosso and Hunts for my crushed tomatoes and diced tomatoes. I order my groceries through Walmart and they deliver it right to my door to save time as well! You can get $10 off your first order over $50 by going to VeniceFoodies.com/Walmart. If you enter the promo code “Delivery”, you’ll get free delivery as well!

How Do You Make Your Own Pasta Sauce?

Feel free to print the recipe from below, share it with a friend or pin it to your Pinterest for later!

Homemade Pasta Sauce

Cook Time 3 hrs
Course Main Course, Sauce
Cuisine Italian


  • 1 lb Ground Italian Sausage mild or hot, your choice
  • 2 28 oz cans Tuttorosso Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1 14.5 oz can Hunt's Diced Tomatoes w/ Oregano, Basil and Garlic
  • 1 6 oz can Hunt's Tomato Paste
  • 3 cloves Fresh Garlic minced or grated
  • 1 tbsp Sugar
  • ¼ cup Red Wine
  • 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan Cheese If you can get the rind, great, but do what works for you.
  • Oregano
  • Basil


  • In a large pot, drizzle the olive oil and heat it on medium high heat. When the oil is shiny, easily moves around the bottom of the pot, reduce the heat to medium.
  • Add in the garlic and let it roast for a minute before adding the ground sausage. Stir often to avoid it sticking too much to the bottom.
  • Once the sausage has been completely cooked and broken into crumbles, remove to a separate bowl and set aside.
  • Pour in the wine and scrape up the bits of sausage left behind before adding the crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Stir to combine.
  • In your palm, measure a palm full of oregano, rub your hands together over the pot to add in the oregano. The warmth of your hands will wake up the dried spice. Repeat with basil.
  • If you have the parmesan rind, now is the time to drop it in. If not, just stir in the grated parmesan cheese.
  • Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and let it sit. Stir every 20-30 minutes. It should cook for at least an hour, but the longer it simmers, the better the flavor. Enjoy!
Keyword Pasta, Sauce

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2 thoughts on “Homemade Italian Pasta Sauce

  1. I have found pork neck bones to be a rarity when I’m grocery shopping, so I tend to exclude them when I’m cooking.

    1. Alyssa Reinbolt says:

      I find if I specifically request them at Winn Dixie, I can get them. But using the sausage makes up for the meaty flavor I’m craving in a pinch 🙂

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