Oma’s One-Hour Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

Oma’s One-Hour Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

Featured in Gourmet Live’s Weekly Roundup:  The Best of Beef

You know you want it.

It’s another installment of Oma’s cooking class.

Like all of Oma’s meals, Oma’s One-Hour Homemade Spaghetti Sauce is simple, hearty and delicious.  However, if you have seen Oma’s other recipes like Oma’s Old-Fashioned Pot RoastOma’s Cheesy Tuna Casserole & Oma’s Sour Cream Chicken, Oma isn’t fancy.  And I’ll be the first to admit that I’m sort of a foodie who likes the occasional flash of fancy in her meals.  One of my favorite sauces is Bolognese which simmers for no less than 3 hours on the stove to achieve greatness.

Trust me when I tell you that Oma’s amazingly simple sauce achieves similar greatness in just about an hour which makes Oma’s Spaghetti a great mid-week dinner option.

Oma’s One-Hour Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

Makes about 8-10 servings

Print-Friendly Recipe

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 pounds of ground beef (not too lean, about 20% fat is the best)
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 5 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tomato (optional, only use if you can find a really ripe one)
  • 3 (15 ounce) cans tomato sauce, plus more if desired
  • 2-3 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tablespoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 grinds of fresh black pepper


  • 2 pounds of spaghetti, cooked to al dente
  • freshly grated parmesan

Heat 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a large saute pan, preferably nonstick. The oil will coat the bottom of the pan thickly. Break up the meat into small pieces and place in the hot oil.

Cook breaking up the pieces further with a spoon.  You want to get the meat very brown, even a little crispy. Occasionally, scrape up the bottom and turn it over then let it sit for another minute or two before repeating. Oma says that this is the key to her fantastic sauce, really brown meat is flavorful. Oma cooked the meat like this for 18-20 minutes.

When the meat is quite brown (see photo above), turn the heat down to medium and add the onion, garlic and tomato (if using).

Continue to cook, scraping up the bottom occasionally until the onions are translucent, about another 7-8 minutes.

Add the tomato sauce to the meat mixture and stir to combine.

Turn the heat down to a very low simmer and cover. Cook like this for 20 minutes then stir in 3 tablespoons of tomato paste. Cover again and simmer for 10 minutes more.

Now this is the really unusual part. Oma doesn’t add any spices at all until the end. When the sauce was almost ready to serve, she tasted it and then added about 1 tablespoon of Italian Seasoning, 2-3 grinds of black pepper, 1/2 tablespoon of oregano, and 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt. Go easy with the salt, you can always add more later and the parmesan cheese will be salty as well.

Serve the sauce over spaghetti cooked till al dente and sprinkled with grated parmesan.

TASTING NOTES:  Let me put it this way. After I licked my plate clean, I found myself eating leftover sauce out of the pan before I packaged up the leftovers. And even after, I stood at the stove and ate the crusty leftover sauce from the sides of the pan with a spoon. Does that sum it up for you?

STORAGE:  This recipe makes a whole lotta sauce.  Leftovers of which can be stored in the fridge for up to three days or stored in the freezer for up to three months for a future meal.

If you like this recipe, check out my #1 most popular Oma recipe of all time, Oma’s Sour Cream Chicken which is an even faster, easier mid-week meal.

Other Oma Classics include: