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crazy tasty

09May09

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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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.

Marcella Hazan’s Simplest Tomato Sauce
adapted from various sources, but originally from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking

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.

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3 Responses to “crazy tasty”  

  1. 1 pvl

    huh —

    what do you do with the halved onion? Just pull it out, or does it somehow magically melt?

    This is so weird sounding, I have to try it.

    :)

  2. 2 Junecutie

    Hiya Meleyna, Happy Mother’s Day!!! I hope you and Parker are having a fine time together. Moving is such a bummer, even though you get to live in a whole new place with hopefully more room. It always takes me forty fricken forevers to unpack all the boxes and really settle in. I always seem to have more books than anything else, so I have to get the bookshelves up which takes so long since kitchen and bedroom stuff come first. Oh well, onward and upward-I’ve got to get up and going. It’s cold and raining here in Parker, Co. (just south of Denver); and me and hubby really wanted to go to the Farmers Market.

    Oh yeah, I really like this tomato sauce recipe. I always have everything on hand to make it (so no extraordinary advance planning involved, Yay!). I like to add fresh mushrooms or dried and soaked shitakes, sweet red peppers, and more herbs plus a good tablespoon of sugar to blunt the acid edge of the tomato. A little Ume Plum vinegar is nice (gee, don’t I just seem to add this to everything?!) The best thing is this recipe doesn’t take hours and hours, but tastes like it does.

    Got to get it in gear, or I won’t be going anywhere today. I’m really feeling lazy. Have a great weekend!

    Much love and many blessings, June

  3. 3 Meleyna

    My fault! Discard the onion when the sauce is done.

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