Mama Leone's Italian Tomato Sauce (Good for Many Uses)

Recipe by Leggy Peggy
READY IN: 3hrs 10mins


  • 16
    ounces tomato sauce (puree)
  • 16
    ounces tomato paste (concentrate)
  • 80
    ounces water (that's five cans of water from the tomato cans you've used)
  • 3
    teaspoons salt (the original recipe called for six, but that is way too salty these days)
  • 14
  • 14
    teaspoon cinnamon (some friends who make this insist they need to use more cinnamon. I have a very good quality cinnamo)
  • 2
    dried hot red chiles (you can substitute chilli flakes about 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 2
    lbs lean hamburger (optional)
  • 2
    medium onions, chopped (optional)


  • Put all ingredients (except the meat and onions) in a large pot.
  • Stir well and bring to a boil. Continue to stir occasionally until it boils, so the cinnamon is incorporated.
  • Reduce to a simmer and cook for three to four hours. Continue to stir occasionally. You can speed up this step, if you leave it on a boil, but I think the flavour improves if it is not rushed.
  • The sauce needs to cook until it bloops—namely until the sauce splashes out of the pot and makes a bit of a mess on the stove top (or wall in my case).
  • Remove and discard the chillies and bay leaves.
  • What to do next if you intend to serve this sauce over pasta. Saute the beef until it loses most of its pink colouring, then add the onions and saute until tender.
  • Drain off any fat.
  • Add meat mixture to cooked sauce and stir well.
  • Heat the mixture well, then ladle over pasta.