I have often spoken of my deep love for Julia Child, and my girl crush on Nigella Lawson, however there are some others that I have affection for, for example Madeleine Kamman and Marcella Hazan. Such exotic names aren’t they? Chef and teacher Ms. Kamman was someone I was also introduced to via public television, I believe as a teenager. Many years later I bought her large tome, The New Making of a Cook. Believe me, if you can lay your hands on it, buy it. It’s truly a lesson in not only French cooking, but in being a true cook. It taught me about slurry, great pastry crust, and some of the most wonderful sauces. I highly recommend it. Marcella Hazan (photo above), who sadly left us in 2013, I became aware of due to the New York Times. She has a long history of bringing simple traditional Italian food to the American public.
The recipe I am offering today is one of Marcella Hazan’s. It’s comforting in these days of turmoil. It’s so simple, it’s almost not a recipe, but wow, the end product is seriously delicious! Yes, there is a great deal of butter and no olive oil or garlic, and some onion you don’t eat with your pasta, but believe me, it will be a new favorite!
Marcella Hazan’s Tomato Sauce
- 1 28 oz can of best quality whole peeled tomatoes
- 1 stick unsalted butter (see my note below)
- 1/2 onion, peeled
- Salt (to taste)
Yup, that’s it!
Place the tomatoes, butter and half onion in a heavy bottomed saucepan. It’s up to you to salt now or at the end, try a pinch or so. Just remember even though you do not cook this for a long time, it will concentrate, so be careful with the salting.
I’ll be honest with you, even with canned tomatoes, I usually seed them. All you have to do is cut them in half, wriggle your fingers in them to release the seeds over a fine mesh strainer and bowl. Then gently press whats in the strainer with a spoon to release any liquid, and add to the pot. You’ll need the juice, but not the seeds. Of course that is personal preference, you don’t have to do it, and seeds won’t change the outcome in any way other than texture.
Bring the pot to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, occasionally stirring, and pressing the tomatoes with a spoon to break them up. Uncover the pot and cook another 15 minutes, still checking and stirring. Once 45 minutes has passed, check for seasoning, and add salt as needed. Remove the onion (eat it, cooks treat, it’s delicious), and you’re ready to dress pasta. And that’s all folks. Easy as boiling water, but much more tasty. This will keep for about a week in the fridge, much longer if you freeze it, but I am fairly certain after the first try, there won’t be much left over!
I will admit, I do sometimes puree this, just to make it smooth, with an immersion blender. Again, just my preference. If you do this though, put it back on the stove for another 10 minutes at low, pureeing will release a lot of water from the cooked tomatoes.
Butter Note: I am newly re-obsessed with Dairy Gold which is an Irish butter, from 100% grass-fed, pastured cows. I know it from when I was a kid and young adult when we went to Ireland. It’s delicious and very healthy. I don’t need to tell you how important fats are for your body, but this is a wonderful and recently more available source. I don’t know what to suggest if you are vegan, but let me know if you try it and what you used.