Spaghetti is nothing without sauce! And while the jarred sauces are okay for a family weeknight dinner after a busy day, nothing beats a pot of homecooked spaghetti sauce simmering away on the stove.
But should the saucepan be covered or uncovered as its contents simmer?
Homemade Just Tastes Better
While people may argue that they just don’t have time to stand over a pot of sauce, there are ways around that. Try making a big potful on a Sunday afternoon and freezing it in containers for later use.
You cannot beat the richness and depth of flavor you get from real Italian, slow-cooked spaghetti sauce. Plus, it’s much healthier because it doesn’t have all those awful chemical additives and extra sugar that come with the jarred varieties.
Simmer The Spaghetti Sauce Covered Or Uncovered?
How Long Should You Simmer The Spaghetti Sauce?
If you’re going with store-bought spaghetti sauce, you will not need to simmer it at all because you are just reheating it.
Tip it into a saucepan, put it over a medium flame with the lid on, and heat until it is boiling. Stir it now and then to prevent it from catching on the bottom of the pot.
The lid is on here because the sauce is sold at the optimal thickness so you don’t want any water evaporating and thickening it further. Time-wise, you can use it as soon as it has come to a boil.
Homemade spaghetti sauce is a different story. Once all the ingredients have been added, it is simmered slowly over a low flame for several hours. The lid is left off. This process serves two purposes.
Firstly, it allows the flavors to mellow and blend as the ingredients slowly release their flavors and aromas, the vegetables and ground meat soften, and the juices caramelize. The sauce mellows and sweetens.
Secondly, it allows time for the excess water that dilutes the flavor to evaporate. The sauce becomes thick and concentrated. Perfect. This can take several hours so don’t rush the process.
You will need to stir it now and again, especially as the sauce thickens up towards the end. You’re looking at a minimum of an hour, up to six hours.
Here’s an authentic Italian spaghetti sauce recipe for you that involves long, slow simmering. Yes…with the lid off!
Authentic Italian Spaghetti Sauce Recipe
- 2 tablespoons good olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 500 g ground beef
- 250 g ground pork
- 750 g canned chopped Italian tomatoes
- Handful fresh basil leaves, chopped
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup full fat milk
- Use a large saucepan and heat the oil.
- Put in the onion, carrot, and garlic. Gently saute for a couple of minutes.
- Add the ground meat and stir-fry until the meat has browned.
- Add the tomatoes, basil, sugar, seasoning, and milk. Turn the heat down and simmer everything for at least three hours.
- It should be very gently bubbling. Yes, the lid is off. Give the sauce a stir occasionally to prevent it from sticking.
- It is ready when it has thickened and become a beautiful, glossy deep red.
- Taste and check the seasoning.