Spaghetti sauce à la Marilou

Spaghetti sauce à la Marilou
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There are as many spaghetti sauce recipes as there are people, and as many “world’s best recipes” as there are grandmothers. 

What I like about my sauce is that it’s packed with vegetables, but you’d never know it. By running them through the food processor, I not only save time, but extract all the flavours without taking away from the meatiness.

My recipe is very traditional, but that’s because this is the kind of classic that shouldn’t be meddled too much with. The secret to a great, delicious sauce is in how you cook the meat (so it’s nicely browned) and in the freshness of the ingredients.

Enjoy the comfort food! 🙂

  • ServesServes 12
  • Prep time30 min
  • Cook time4 hours
  • Timeout-
  • FreezingNe se congèle pas.



  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 carrots, peeled
  • 1/2 lb white mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 hot Italian sausages, without the casings
  • 1 lb extra lean ground beef
  • 1 lb extra lean ground lamb
  • 1/2 cup veal stock (typically found in the refrigerated meat section of the grocery store)
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 5 oz (1 can, 156 ml) tomato paste
  • 2 3/4 cups store-bought tomato sauce
  • 2 cans (800g each) whole peeled tomatoes (see tip)
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon pickling spices, crushed in a mortar or ground
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Process the onion, carrots, and mushrooms in a food processor. Place in a large bowl and set aside.
  2. Finely chop the peppers and add to the bowl. 
  3. In a pan, heat the oil and butter over high heat and brown the meat. The secret to browning is to not stir the meat (stirring releases the juices and the meat boils rather than browns). Season and add the veal stock. Scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon and pour into a large pot. Set aside.
  4. Add the vegetables to the empty pan and soften. Season generously. Add the garlic. Cook for 2 more minutes and add to the meat.
  5. Add the tomato paste. Stir well, then add the remaining ingredients. 
  6. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 3–4 hours. 
  7. Adjust the seasoning. Add maple syrup, as desired. Enjoy! 

Tips & tricks

I highly recommend using San Marzano canned tomatoes. They’re slightly more expensive, but make all the difference. Look for them in the canned tomato section of the supermarket. 

To cook the pasta, generously salt the water and refrain from adding oil. A thin layer of oil will coat the pasta and prevent the sauce from sticking. 

Recipe published on August 19, 2018