Thursday, April 1, 2010
Marcella Hazan's Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter
The fact that so many bloggers have both cooked and written extensively about this recipe didn’t dissuade me one bit from doing the same. I’m just embarrassed that it took me so long.
Marcella Hazan’s Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter is what I’m talking about. For years it has caused quite a stir, which isn’t surprising considering its delectable flavor. But the real draw is its simplicity. It requires only three ingredients: a can of tomatoes, one onion and some butter. After 45 magical minutes of simmering, these basic pantry ingredients are transformed into something absurdly luscious. When I asked Tristan how he would describe it, he said it’s like that amazing sauce you can only get from a really good home-style Italian restaurant, the kind you can’t replicate at home. Well folks, now you can.
In my opinion, there are two rules to making this sauce: 1) use San Marzano plum tomatoes and 2) don’t, I repeat don’t, replace the butter with olive oil. Like a fabulous Tikka Masala, the butter is what makes it.
Marcella Hazan’s Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter
I’m a sauce person so in my opinion, this recipe only makes enough for 2 people to douse their pasta liberally. But if you prefer yours lightly coated, then by all means use this to serve 4. Keep in mind that you may not need to add any salt, depending on the tomatoes used. Adapted from Marcella Hazan’s The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking.
1-28 ounce can whole peeled plum tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and halved
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
Place the tomatoes, onion halves and butter into a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Lower the heat and cook for 45 minutes at a very gentle simmer, stirring occasionally and breaking up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon. The sauce is done when droplets of fat float free from the tomato. Remove from heat, fish out the onion halves (save them for another use) and check for salt (you may find that it’s salty enough, depending on the brand of canned tomatoes). Serve warm over freshly cooked pasta.