simple is best

tomato sauce with onion and butter

Marcella Hazan, who introduced Americans to “real” Italian cooking passed away this past Sunday. She was to Italian cuisine what Julia Childs was to French cooking. Her cookbook, “Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking” brings to light the simple yet delicious recipes for cooking Italian food.

the essentials

One of her most famous recipes is a four ingredient tomato sauce: tomatoes, onion, butter, and salt. And yet, somehow, the sum of the parts is greater than the whole. Simmered low and slow uncovered on the stove, these four simple ingredients form the most perfect pasta sauce. So easy, yet so good.

4 ingredients

I like to serve this with a long noodle shape (spaghetti or linguine, usually) and add some turkey meatballs to go on the side. But really, it doesn’t need much. The sauce and pasta alone are perfection. Rest in peace, Marcella Hazan. Thank you for making this world a tastier place.

cooked down

marcella hazan’s tomato sauce with onion and butter
printer-friendly recipe
from Essentials of Italian Cooking (page 152)
serves: 2-4

28 ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium-sized yellow onion, peeled and halved
Salt to taste

Combine the tomatoes and their juices, in a saucepan and squeeze the tomatoes to break them up a bit. Add the butter and the onion halves and a pinch or two of salt and stir gently to combine. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat and simmer uncovered, for about 45 minutes, or until droplets of fat float free of the tomatoes.  Stir occasionally, mashing any large pieces of tomato with a spoon. Taste for seasoning and add salt as needed. Discard the onion before tossing the sauce with pasta. This recipe makes enough sauce for a pound of pasta.

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2 Responses to simple is best

  1. Aunt Chris says:

    I’ll try this one if you try this. Replace the onion with minced garlic, as much as you like, sauteed in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the tomatoes, salt and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Simmer 20 minutes. Add fresh basil or dried. Simmer another 5 minutes. Serve over pasta or use as a pizza sauce.

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