So remember how I’m moving and life sucks ’cause I have nothing in my house? And then I ran out of butter? It was cause of this. This tomato sauce. This crazy ingenious lady, Marcella Hazan, thought to put butter in her basic tomato sauce. This’ll be short and sweet–it is so, so good and so incredibly easy, it really just makes more sense for you to make it. Wordy blog posts don’t do it justice.
Parker loves this Nigella pasta sauce that I make quite often. It has a rather high olive oil to tomato ratio. It’s simply oil, garlic, tomato, and water, simmered vigorously while your pasta boils until “lumpy and oily.” Though it barely coats your noodle, it has a great rich mouthfeel without being greasy, and the garlic really hits you. This sauce is similar–fat, aromatic, and tomato–yet completely different. You slowly simmer a halved onion in butter and tomato, until it becomes this luxurious, tomato velvet. (Yet still surprisingly fresh and bright.)
I threw this together for lunch in the midst of moving last weekend, and it was a huge hit. The best part was that I told Tom lunch wouldn’t be for 45 minutes, so while he was moving furniture, he thought I was busy in the kitchen preparing some super complicated meal for him. In reality, I threw a few things in a pot and flipped through an Anthropologie catalogue while I watched Parker color on a sheet of newspaper. But really, all he needs to know is that he absolutely loved it.
I served it over some plain ol’ cheese ravioli, and topped with some torn basil and a scoop of ricotta. Cause that’s how Tom likes it. But really, I will be using this in the future for anything that requires a simple tomato sauce.
28 oz. can whole, peeled tomatoes
one onion, halved, papery skin removed
5 tablespoons of butter (It looks like I used four in my picture, but it was all I had on hand, and it was closer to 4 1/2, anyway.)
a pinch of salt, perhaps
Dump tomatoes into a medium sized saucepan, and roughly chop with a pair of kitchen shears. Nestle the onion halves between the tomatoes; add the butter. Add a pinch of two of salt, if you like. Simmer gently, uncovered, for about 45 minutes, or until the fat begins to separate from the tomato. Discard onion. If you like, break up the tomato further with either the back of a wooden spoon or a fork, which I find to be a bit easier.
Makes enough sauce for a pound of pasta. Or quite possibly less if, like me, you find yourself eating spoonful after spoonful before the pasta’s done boiling.