Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter
This is the simplest of all sauces to make, and none has a purer, more irresistibly sweet tomato taste. I have known people to skip the pasta and eat the sauce directly out of the pot with a spoon.
NotesRecommended pasta: This is an unsurpassed sauce for potato gnocchi, but it is also delicious with factory-made pasta in such shapes as spaghetti, penne, or rigatoni. Serve with grated Parmesan.May be frozen when done. Discard the onion before freezing.
Making Fresh Tomatoes Ready for Sauce: Unless the recipe indicates otherwise, fresh, ripe tomatoes must be prepared to use for sauce following one of the two methods given below. The blanching method can lead to a meatier, more rustic consistency. The food mill method produces a silkier, smoother sauce.
The Blanching Method: Plunge the tomatoes in boiling water for a minute or less. Drain them and, as soon as they are cool enough to handle, skin them, and cut them up in coarse pieces.
The Food Mill Method: Wash the tomatoes in cold water, cut them lengthwise in half, and put them in a covered saucepan. Turn on the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes. Set a food mill fitted with the disk with the largest holes over a bowl. Transfer the tomatoes with any of their juices to the mill and puree.
Total Timeunder 1 hour
Make Ahead RecipeYes
One Pot MealYes
OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together
Five Ingredients or LessYes
Taste and Texturebuttery, sweet
Type of Dishpasta sauce
- 2 pounds fresh, ripe tomatoes, prepared as described below, OR 2 cups canned imported Italian plum tomatoes, cut up, with their juice
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 1 medium onion, peeled and cut in half
- 1 to 1½ pounds pasta
- Freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese for the table
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 45 minutes, or until the fat floats free from the tomato. Stir from time to time, mashing any large piece of tomato in the pan with the back of a wooden spoon. Taste and correct for salt. Discard the onion before tossing the sauce with pasta.
1992 Marcella Hazan