Slow cooker smoky tomato sauce

SmartPoints® value per serving
Total Time
6 hr 20 min
20 min
6 hr
An effortless version of an all-day sauce, this scratch-made tomato sauce gets a smoky richness from a ham hock. When you shop, find a meaty one because you will be using that hock meat to finish the sauce, adding more flavor and meaty texture. The fennel gives the sauce a slight sweetness and a hint of earthy-goodness while the crushed pepper flakes add a touch of heat, bringing out the authentic Italian flavor profile. Serve this for dinner or freeze the sauce for later. Having your own tomato sauce on hand is such a treat and provides easy dinner options for busy weeknights or last minute gatherings. Toast up some crusty bread to sop up all the sauce on the plate.


Fresh tomato(es)

13 medium, Globe variety, chopped

Uncooked onion(s)

1 medium, yellow, chopped

Raw Cubanelle pepper

2 small, stemmed, seeded and chopped

Uncooked fennel bulb(s)

1 item(s), trimmed and chopped

Dried basil

1 Tbsp

Dried oregano

1 Tbsp

Minced garlic

2 tsp

Crushed red pepper flakes

½ tsp

Table salt

½ tsp

Smoked ham hock(s)

5 oz

Canned tomato paste

3 Tbsp, reduced sodium

Uncooked whole-wheat spaghetti

12 oz, cooked and drained according to the package


  1. In a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker, place tomatoes, onion, pepper(s), fennel, basil, oregano, garlic, red pepper flakes and salt. Stir well, then add pork hock (or shank) and submerge it in the liquid. Cover and cook on high 5 hours.
  2. Uncover and transfer hock to a cutting board. Cool a few minutes; shred meat off bones. Discard bones, then stir meat and tomato paste into sauce.
  3. Cook uncovered on high for 1 hour, stirring occasionally and smashing sauce against the sides of the cooker with the back of a wooden spoon, or until thickened.
  4. Serve in bowls over cooked pasta.
  5. Serving size: 1 cup sauce and 1 cup cooked pasta.