Marcella Hazan’s simple tomato sauce

I’ve been meaning to give Marcella Hazan’s simple tomato sauce for eons now (how long is an eon actually?)  I know I should use fresh tomatoes, especially since I live in New Jersey, but I just have Trader Joe’s brown tomatoes here, and I’m planning on using those in a Caprese salad.  Not to mention I have several cans of San Marzano tomatoes sitting here, just waiting to be used.

Here it is, from Marcella Hazan’s  Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking (my second favorite cookbook, my first being The Silver Spoon by Phaidon Press.)


2 cups canned imported Italian tomatoes, cup up (include juice) I use San Marzano; or if you’re feeling the need to not cut corners, 2 pounds of fresh ripe tomatoes, skinned **

5 TBS butter

1 medium onion, peeled and halved

Salt (to taste)

Now cook:

  1. Put either the prepared fresh tomatoes or the canned in a saucepan, add the butter, onion, and salt, and cook uncovered at a very slow, but steady simmer for about 45 minutes, or until it is thickened to your liking and the fat floats free from the tomato.
  2. Stir from time to time, mashing up any large pieces of tomato with the back of a wooden spoon.
  3. Taste and correct for salt. Discard the onion before tossing with pasta. Serve with freshly grated Parmigiano cheese for the table.

Serve over your favorite pasta.

**  (You can either blanch them by plunging into boiling water for 45 seconds…cool before skinning—or you can put them in the freezer until hard, thaw and then skin.)


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