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Slow-Simmering Pasta Sauce

Spaghetti with sauce is my kids' favorite dinner, so through trial and error, I came up with my own recipe. This is the winning result. I love that it's made in a slow cooker.—Samantha Vicars, Kenosha, Wisconsin
  • Total Time
    Prep: 20 min. Cook: 6 hours
  • Makes
    6 servings


  • 1 pound bulk Italian sausage
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh basil, divided
  • Hot cooked pasta


  • In a large skillet, cook sausage and onion over medium heat for 7-8 minutes or until sausage is no longer pink and onion is tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Drain. Transfer to a 3-qt. slow cooker.
  • Stir in the tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, brown sugar, bay leaves, oregano, dried basil, salt and thyme. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  • Discard bay leaves; stir in half of the fresh basil. Serve with pasta. Top with remaining basil.

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Average Rating:
  • Jarvisfamily
    May 10, 2016

    This sauce is now the only sauce I use. I mix up the meat I use in it from sweet to hot ground Italian sausage or meatballs. Love this! Never using jar sauce again. I usually simmer it on the stove instead of cooking in the slow cooker.

  • Joan2001
    Apr 23, 2015

    This sauce is excellent. I only used half the amount of oregano but other than that didn't change anything.

  • kimbarron
    Apr 11, 2015

    This is a copy-cat recipe from Iowa Girl Eats.

  • soossy
    Dec 7, 2014

    very good.

  • Sue Zappa
    Nov 23, 2014

    My family thought it was terrific. I will reduce the amount of bay leaves next time, though. Also thought it was better made a day before serving. I made 1 1/2 times the recipe because I wanted leftovers to use in mostaccioli for my husband's birthday. It was stupendous in that recipe!

  • fatoldlady
    Nov 17, 2014

    Prego is better & less expensive to make.

  • cakedeco
    Nov 16, 2014

    This is a great recipe! I leave out the brown sugar for less sweetness. It also good for lasagna sauce too.

  • SimpleFoods
    Nov 15, 2014

    This is almost exactly the recipe I've used for years - the one pasta sauce I go to anymore! The Italian sausage rather than plain ground beef does it for me. Thanks for reminding me, Samantha Vicars - it's time to make this again!

  • terrym5253
    Nov 14, 2014

    wonderful taste from Italy

  • jaime1103
    Jul 20, 2014

    I enjoyed this recipe. I did not add the brown sugar and tasted great.