Tomato sauce needn’t be complicated. Such is the philosophy of Marcela Hazan’s recipe. I can certainly vouch for this.
Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of “best” recipes. As in, “the best orange chicken” or “the best sweet potato mash in the world!” I’ve tried them, and no, they were not the best. Naturally, I was reluctant to try this tomato sauce after seeing that it was being labeled as “the best”.
Then, I saw some well-respected and trusted food bloggers raving about it. Including Deb from Smitten Kitchen. I trust her taste, as I’ve had some successes with her recipes before. And so, I tried it.
Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter (adapted from Essentials of Italian Cooking via Smitten Kitchen)
28 ounces (800 grams) whole peeled canned San Marzano tomatoes
5 tablespoons (70 grams) unsalted butter
1 medium-sized yellow onion, peeled and halved
Salt to taste
Put the tomatoes, onion and butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat.
Bring sauce to a simmer then lower the heat to keep the sauce at a slow, steady simmer for about 45 minutes, or until droplets of fat float free of the tomatoes.
Stir occasionally, gently crushing the tomatoes against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon.
Remove from heat, discard onion, add salt to taste and keep warm while you prepare pasta.
This might be one of the very few recipes I didn’t play around with. No additions, no tweaks, no substitutions. And it was marvelous. Rich and sweet (but not overly). As soon as I tasted the sauce while cooking in the pot, I just knew this was it; my newest cooking staple. I could also tell that this was going to be in heavy rotation by the constant licking of the spoon every few minutes or so. It was too good not to.
So was it “the best”? I’ll just say this: It’s easily my favorite tomato sauce.