The Hobby Spaghetti Sauce

As a kid, cooking was a big part of my life. My parents were both great in the kitchen and fast food was a rarity. Shocking as it may sound to have been raised on real food cooked in my own kitchen, it was all I really knew and to this day I remain an avid lover of home cooked food.

While my husband and I have carried on the tradition of eating predominantly home cooked meals, I wouldn’t say I’m a master of inventive new recipes. Frankly I just love to cook good food and I do that one of three ways:

  • I replicate my parents’ recipes
  • I find new ones on Pinterest (and Lujan-ify them)
  • I put my own spin on some classics

So while I may not be crafting up some super original recipes, I do feel very strongly about preserving and sharing some of the favorites that came from my childhood. Meals that made my nose perk up and my mouth water. Food that punctuated the most memorable moments of my young years. Recipes that will make me think of my mom or my dad for the rest of my life.

I don’t know that I consider any of these recipes to be “secret” in nature. What they are is special. They are foods that my kids have started to get excited about when I tell them that’s what I’m cooking. These are go-tos that win me big points whenever I entertain. And in the case of the “Hobby Spaghetti Sauce,” the first real meal I made for my husband when we started dating.

(Hobby is my maiden name, by the way, and this is my dad’s recipe, hence the name.)

As my parents did for me, I want my kids to go off into the world one day not only knowing how to cook, but knowing how to bring themselves home using food. For me, the two meals that take me home are this sauce and my mom’s fried chicken (that recipe will come one day).

While this recipe holds my whole heart in one pot, it is far from difficult to make. If you’re a beginner or you need to cook for a crowd, I hope this is something you’ll come to cherish as I do.

The reality is you only need a few basic ingredients and as I do the math in my head, it probably won’t cost you more than about $10 to pull together what you need to make the sauce. Add in the price of pasta and sausage and you’re making enough food to feed a small army for around $20.

The Hobby Spaghetti Sauce

1/2 yellow onion (diced)

1/2 green bell pepper (diced)

1/4 red bell pepper (diced)

3 garlic cloves minced

1 29oz can of tomato puree

60oz of water

1 14.5oz can of diced tomato

3 6oz cans of tomato paste

1 tbsp salt

1 tbsp basil (double that if it’s fresh)

1/2 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp oregano

2 bay leaves

1 package fresh, sliced white mushrooms

6 fresh Roma tomatoes

To make a whole meal of it, you will need a few more items as well. The sausage in fact is quite crucial to the deliciousness of the dish.

1 package of link Italian sausage

1 box of pasta (my favorite with this sauce is Rigatoni)


In a large stockpot heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat and sauté the onion, green bell pepper and garlic until the onion is soft and translucent.

Add all the canned ingredients to the sautéed vegetables. Then add the water. (I always use the large can of puree and just fill it twice with water to hit 60oz of water.)

Once all the wet ingredients are added, stir in the spices, sliced mushrooms and fresh tomatoes.

Bring this all to a boil.

As your sauce is working its way towards a boil, cook the sausages completely in a separate pan. Once cooked, dab the sausages with a paper towel to help decrease the grease coated on the outside. Add all the sausages (whole) to the sauce. This is key! Not only does the sausage make the sauce taste better, but the sauce makes the sausages tender and oh-so-much better!

Once you’ve added the sausages to your boiling sauce, turn your heat to low and allow the sauce to simmer uncovered 4 – 6 hours. The sauce should reduce by 25% or more and thicken significantly. Stir on occasion.

Not only will your house smell AMAZING, but you should have enough sauce for 12 or more servings. I usually end up freezing half of what I make and still have leftovers.

Like I said, this recipe is not complex, but it will give you all of the feels. Everyone should have a homemade spaghetti sauce recipe to fall back on and if you aren’t fortunate enough to come from an Italian family, I hope my family’s sauce fills the void!