Tomato Sauce Recipe

Growing up, tomato sauce was sort of this mythical creation. My mom would make a fresh batch every Sunday, taking the whole morning and filling the house with the smell of magical goodness.

As an adult cook, I've followed this slow cook model until very recently, believing that this was the only way you could cook a sauce with a deep flavor.

But then I came across Marcella Hazan's recipe and I was blown away. Just 3 ingredients and a 45 minute cook time, and it's just amazing. A clean, bright tomato flavor which still has depth to it.

  • 2 cups tomatoes, in addition to their juices (for example, a 28-ounce can of San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes)
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, peeled and cut in half
  • Salt

Preparation

  1. Combine the tomatoes, their juices, the butter and the onion halves in a saucepan. Add a pinch or two of salt.
  2. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, for about 45 minutes. Stir occasionally, mashing any large pieces of tomato with a spoon. Add salt as needed.
  3. Discard the onion before tossing the sauce with pasta. This recipe makes enough sauce for a pound of pasta

I add some sauteed garlic and fresh basil to it, if I have some around.





I love this recipe and use the giant can of san Marzano tomatoes from costco. Sometimes I leave it in mY crockpot on low for hours instead of making it quick. I usually do ad garlic also because that's what I'm used to, but even without, it's more versatile to keep in the fridge (and freeze portions) to use for homemade pizzas, pasta, soups, and other dishes that use tomatoes/stewed tomatoes, etc.


I make this too - it's a great way to use my garden tomatoes and I freeze a lot of the sauce for later. I usually toss in some herbs from the garden too.


Just made this, thank you for the reminder. Now what are some things I can do with an onion that has been simmering in tomatoes for 45 minutes? 


I've been doing this one for years too.


How much butter and how many onions do you add? Just bought the giant can today and would like to give this a shot.

shh said:

I love this recipe and use the giant can of san Marzano tomatoes from costco. Sometimes I leave it in mY crockpot on low for hours instead of making it quick. I usually do ad garlic also because that's what I'm used to, but even without, it's more versatile to keep in the fridge (and freeze portions) to use for homemade pizzas, pasta, soups, and other dishes that use tomatoes/stewed tomatoes, etc.



@wallflower, I play around with it depending on what I have. Sometimes a stick of butter and sometimes less. I usually just do one large onion, but I've never actually discarded the onion (oops) I usually just rough chop it and throw it in there, then use my immersible blender at some point if needed to break up the tomatoes more and make in thinner or leave in chunkier, depending on what I feel like that day. 

Seasonally, i might add other veggies from my farm share, like carrots or red pepper and blend it all in together. (Some people always cook sauce with a carrot to add sweetness). 

wallflower said:

How much butter and how many onions do you add? Just bought the giant can today and would like to give this a shot.
shh said:

I love this recipe and use the giant can of san Marzano tomatoes from costco. Sometimes I leave it in mY crockpot on low for hours instead of making it quick. I usually do ad garlic also because that's what I'm used to, but even without, it's more versatile to keep in the fridge (and freeze portions) to use for homemade pizzas, pasta, soups, and other dishes that use tomatoes/stewed tomatoes, etc.



That's the great thing about this recipe - even with just the basic ingredients of tomatoes, butter and onion, it's delicious, so you can always just easily sauce it up (heh) with additional ingredients at your whim.


shh said:

@wallflower, I play around with it depending on what I have. Sometimes a stick of butter and sometimes less. I usually just do one large onion, but I've never actually discarded the onion (oops) I usually just rough chop it and throw it in there, then use my immersible blender at some point if needed to break up the tomatoes more and make in thinner or leave in chunkier, depending on what I feel like that day. 

Seasonally, i might add other veggies from my farm share, like carrots or red pepper and blend it all in together. (Some people always cook sauce with a carrot to add sweetness). 
wallflower said:

How much butter and how many onions do you add? Just bought the giant can today and would like to give this a shot.
shh said:

I love this recipe and use the giant can of san Marzano tomatoes from costco. Sometimes I leave it in mY crockpot on low for hours instead of making it quick. I usually do ad garlic also because that's what I'm used to, but even without, it's more versatile to keep in the fridge (and freeze portions) to use for homemade pizzas, pasta, soups, and other dishes that use tomatoes/stewed tomatoes, etc.



I use half a stick of butter and one onion.   I use canned whole tomatoes, the best ones I can find.


@boomie, wallflower was asking the proportions for one of those giant cans from Costco. I can't remember the brand off hand but the label is white with red tomatoes and they're from Italy. I think it's equivalent to 3 regular sized cans, but might be bigger than that. 

boomie said:

I use half a stick of butter and one onion.   I use canned whole tomatoes, the best ones I can find.



Sclafani?  Tuttorosso?   


Nina, probably. 


boomie said:

Sclafani?  Tuttorosso?   



Why the butter?  Why not olive oil?


Because everything's better with butter?


this.


Heynj said:

Because everything's better with butter?

Though I was thinking about using olive oil too.

But it tastes so good with the butter...



the butter brings out the sweetness of the onions.   Think about how we caramelize onions.  With butter. 


Actually, it's not the butter that brings out the sweetness in onions. It's heat that that does that. You can use pretty much any fat.

http://www.seriouseats.com/2011/01/the-food-lab-real-french-onion-dip-homemade-super-bowl-recipe.html


Since reading this post for the first time, I have made this three times, each a rousing success. This is a recipe with which you literally cannot go wrong. The only disappointment is that I was excited to find a use for the onions, but by the time they've sat in the heating sauce that long, they're spent! 


yeah, I've yet to re-use the onions. I've saved them a couple of times but never got around to cooking them.


Heynj said:

Since reading this post for the first time, I have made this three times, each a rousing success. This is a recipe with which you literally cannot go wrong. The only disappointment is that I was excited to find a use for the onions, but by the time they've sat in the heating sauce that long, they're spent! 



The onions more than do their job.  There is no taste to them after cooking in this sauce with the butter.


I'm gonna try Hazan's Bolognese recipe next.

It's kinda weird. I'm very interested in cooking, and read a lot about it - but I didn't know who Marcella Hazan was until I stumbled across the tomato sauce recipe. I've got her first cookbook on order - can't wait to get my hands on it.



She’d been around forever.  My grandmother used to nitpick the hell out of her recipes, though I think she was secretly curious about a few of them and quietly tried a few of her techniques when no one was looking.  Cooking things in butter and/or onions were never going to cut it however.


You may be interested in the below, from a while back:


https://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/01/dining/tell-us-your-favorite-marcella-hazan-recipe.html



great link! I'm in heaven!

sauteed cantaloupe! get outta here!

eta: looks like i need to get her second book too. They'll make for good reading while recuperating from my knee surgery.


ctrzaska said:

She’d been around forever.  My grandmother used to nitpick the hell out of her recipes, though I think she was secretly curious about a few of them and quietly tried a few of her techniques when no one was looking.  Cooking things in butter and/or onions were never going to cut it however.




You may be interested in the below, from a while back:




https://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/01/dining/tell-us-your-favorite-marcella-hazan-recipe.html



Have fun!  (And I’ve had sautéed cantaloupe, though not hers.  AMAZING.)


Made this this evening and just had my first taste. That's a d@mn fine sauce! Thanks for posting.


Glad you liked it!


BrickPig said:

Made this this evening and just had my first taste. That's a d@mn fine sauce! Thanks for posting.



I made it last night with olive oil, not butter, and threw in fresh basil at the end. Delicious! And so easy.

Thanks for sharing.  grin 



I made it. It was good. Needed more salt and I felt like something was missing. Garlic?  I also love Rao’s


The recipe is so simple  that you can easily add additional ingredients. I usually throw in some fresh basil l if i have some.


I've never tried Rao's. I will get some. Even with this easy recipe around, sometimes I just like to have some jarred soft available.

safetyfirst said:

I made it. It was good. Needed more salt and I felt like something was missing. Garlic?  I also love Rao’s




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