tasty things…homemade spaghetti sauce

Once Sunday rolls around, I have grand plans for a nice home cooked family meal. Everyone helps out, and everyone eats. Sad to say, it doesn't happen often enough. I've added some quick and hearty recipes in my arsenal that taste like we've spent all day cooking.

Simple Spaghetti Sauce 

This recipe is super easy and delicious. Best of all, adults and kids will enjoy it. The original recipe is fromGiada de Laurentiis, but I'll give you my version with my "special" ingredient. I like to make this on the weekend and use half the sauce for spaghetti the same day. The other half is put in the freezer, and I use it in a lowfat lasagna dish.


  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Fennel [the special ingredient]
  • [2] 32 oz. cans of CRUSHED tomatoes 
  • 1/2 cup Olive Oil
  • Bay leaf
  • 2-4 TBS. unsalted butter
  • 1 lb. whole wheat spaghetti
  • 1/2 cup pitted olives


  • Heat olive oil in a heavy sauce pan
  • Add chopped onion and garlic and cook over medium heat until soft
  • Add remaining chopped veggies, season with salt and pepper and simmer for 10 min. or so
  • Add crushed tomatoes and simmer until thick [between 45-60 min.]
  • Test sauce. Add additional salt, pepper or other spices if needed. I add about 2 tablespoons of the unsalted butter to knock back the acidity. So much better than adding sugar.
  • Let cool. Mix in blender or food processor.

All the veggies simmering prior to adding the tomatoes


After the tomatoes are added


  • Cook spaghetti pasta
  • Add 1/4 cup olive oil to pan and heat
  • Add the pitted and halved olives and saute 
  • Add sauce and warm through
  • Add cooked and drained pasta, toss well
  • Serve with shaved paremsan



  • The original recipe calls for 1 carrot and 1 celery stalk. I add 2-3, mostly to use what's in fridge before it goes bad.The sauce is very thick, probably because of the additional veggies.
  • You can either cut back on the veggies or add another small can of tomatoes for a thinner sauce.
  • Don't underestimate the butter! It really does help with the acidity. Add a tablespoon at time until your happy with the flavors. 
  • I like to use very salty olives. I think you can use mixed green or kalamata olives, or any other with a strong flavor.