Red Pasta Sauce

This red pasta sauce recipe from Tim’s parents is still one of Tim’s favorite meals. Warning: quantities are approximate!


  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5-6 medium fresh tomatoes, diced
  • 1lb carrots (or zucchini or squash), grated
  • 2-3lb lean ground beef (ground turkey works OK too; also you can replace some beef with a mix of sweet and spicy sausage)
  • 28oz can crushed tomato
  • 6oz can tomato paste
  • around 1 cup liquid (water, stock, and wine all work)
  • oregano (lots)
  • thyme (lots)
  • parsley or other herbs that you feel like
  • salt and pepper to taste

Sautée the onions and garlic in the bottom of a large pot. Add the meat and brown. Then add all other integredients except for the carrots. Bring to a boil, and then simmer for several hours (on very low; you could also use a slow cooker on high) until you’ve reduced the liquid substantially. In the last half hour, add the “secret ingredient” – the grated carrot or other vegetables – this gives the sauce a nice body.

Serve with pasta; we’ve been particularly enjoying the Delallo’s whole wheat pasta (because it is whole wheat but tastes like normal pasta). Makes enough for around 6-8 hearty meals. The sauce is generally even better as leftovers, since that gives more time for the solids to absord by the liquids.

We’ve found our food processor’s grater attachment to be an effective method for efficiently grating the carrots. Do not try to grate baby carrots with a cheese grater – you’ll cut yourself before you get through 1lb.

Our recipe is slightly modified from the version Tim’s parents make – primarily in that we use fresh tomatoes; if you’re in a hurry, you can just use canned stuff (they use a ratio of 1 large can whole tomatoes, 1 medium can tomato sauce, 1 small can tomato paste).