For those who think that some of the best recipes are also the simplest, this time-honored, classic tomato sauce is for you. It's thick, rich, sweet and is the product of just one of the many authentic Italian recipes brought to us by Marcella Hazan. Mrs. Hazan began publishing cookbooks in the 1970s, with the updated compilation, Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking , hitting the shelves in 1992. Over the last few years Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter has hit the blogosphere (see smitten kitchen and orangette to name just two).
So far we've used this sauce on homemade gnocchi, penne pasta, and as a pizza sauce and it's fabulous in a variety of situations. We doubled the recipe so that we would have leftovers to freeze and added a little less butter than the original recipe stated. You can use whatever canned tomatoes you prefer. Generally, we use organic whole tomatoes that we pour directly into the stockpot and crush with our hands to get the desired level of chunkiness. Some family members prefer a smoother sauce so we've also been known to use one can of whole tomatoes and one can of pure tomato sauce.
On a final note, the original recipe calls for "discarding" the onions before serving and you definitely should remove them before serving over pasta or storing the sauce. However, the onions are delicious on their own and would be a slightly crunchy and flavorful accompaniment to grilled sausage or other meat. If you have any other ideas on how to use these onions please let us know in your comments.2 28oz cans of whole peeled tomatoes with juice
8 tablespoons of butter
2 medium onions, peeled and cut in half
2 teaspoons salt
1. Place the tomatoes in a large saucepan. Crush the whole tomatoes in your hands until they reach your desired state of chunkiness, while removing any hard or stringy stems.
2. Add butter, onions and salt to pot and cook uncovered over medium heat until sauce just comes to a boil. Turn down the heat and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour at steady simmer, or until the fat floats free from the tomato and the sauce is thick. Stir occasionally, mashing large chunks of tomato with the back of a spoon.
3. Taste the sauce and add more salt if necessary. Remove the onion before serving or freezing the sauce.Makes 4 cups
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes to 1 hour
Total Time: 50 minutes to 1 hour, 5 minutes