Thursday, September 27, 2012

Something From Nothing #2: Marcella Hazan's Tomato Sauce

This has been a very busy blogging month for me.  As you probably know, I am smack dab in the  middle of a series of three posts for the Muy Bueno Cookbook Spotlight.  In addition to Muy Bueno, I have also been trying to work in a second post for my own "Something From Nothing" series which I just started last month; so I hope you don't mind switching gears for just a little bit so I can work in one great little recipe.

A couple of month's ago I was over at a friend's house flipping through her cookbooks when I came across an Italian family style cookbook by author Marcella Hazan.  Recognized as being a foremost authority on Italian cookery by chefs and fellow food writers, Hazan has authored numerous award winning books over the years.

Out of all of the beautiful recipes in this book I just kept coming back to one that I loved because of its simple genius; just 4 ingredients and one pot.  The promise of canned tomatoes, butter, onion and salt slowly simmered making the perfect tomato sauce had me hooked.

The next day I assembled the ingredients and threw them in a pan.  I mean this recipe is so simple that you just cut the onion in half pole to pole and throw it in the pot, no chopping or dicing.  It was super hard for me but I totally resisted the temptation to put anything else in the pot.  No garlic, no basil, no nothing.  Oh sure, this is a great base to add anything you want, but try it plain first and then decide what else you want to throw in.

I have since made it several times and it comes out the same each and every time . . . just delicious.  I have since extolled the virtues of this recipe to everyone who will listen.  Upon Googling it I found that this recipe has already swept through the blogging world to raves (where the hell was I?) and normally this might just put me off as being an overused recipe, but not this time.

So, next time you find yourself hungry with nothing but a can of tomatoes, half a stick of butter, an onion, some salt and a maybe some dried pasta, you can now assemble a beautiful supper.   This sauce is now my go to sauce for homemade pizzas and chicken Parmesan too.  It is spectacular.  I can't encourage you enough to give it a try.

Marcella Hazan's Tomato Sauce

2 pounds fresh tomatoes (skinned) or 2 cups ( I use 1 - 28 ounce can chopped tomatoes which is really about 3 cups, but that way I have lots of leftovers)
5 tablespoons butter (you can reduce the butter just a bit or increase the tomatoes like I do if you want to cut the fat some)
1 small onion, cut in half pole to pole
Salt to taste

Place ingredients in a medium size sauce pan set uncovered over medium heat.  Bring to a simmer, reduce to medium low and cook slow and steady until the butter pools on top and marbles the sauce, approximately 45 minutes.  During cooking stir occasionally, mashing tomato pieces with the back of a spoon.

Before serving remove onion and salt to taste. 

Even though Marcella's recipe calls to discard the onion, I just can't bring myself to do that.  I love to slice it and eat it.  Serve immediately.

*Depending on the tomatoes that you use and your own personal preference, you can puree or blend the tomatoes for a smooth texture.

Easily serves 4



Barbara | Creative Culinary said...

You already know I just love this sauce; I actually loved it before I ever knew it was a Marcella Hazan creation. It's perfect in it's simplicity and the flavor is simply the best. I think I tried adding something once...don't. It's far too good just the way it is.

PS. I don't pitch those onions either; I could say they are great as a garnish but let's be real. They get put into a bowl and I just eat them as is. So good! Great idea for your series; the epitome of something amazing from almost nothing!

Holly @ said...

I am convinced-- I have to try this. It looks simple and basic yet comes together as a flavorful sauce. This is my kind of recipe, thanks!

Lea Ann (Cooking On The Ranch) said...

Well, where the hell was I? Have to try this.

Deb said...

I too have heard about Marcella Hazan's tomato sauce but have not yet tried it either! Why? I'm not sure. I suppose I just don't want to add the butter; but why not? You've convinced me to give it a try! It couldn't sound more spectacular!

Holly @ said...

Why it took me so long I don't know...but I finally made this for dinner tonight. It dressed up some frozen ravioli and made a great weeknight dinner for me. Thanks!

Haley @ Cheap Recipe Blog said...

Wow, I'm intrigued. I'm going to do a series of super (duper) cheap recipes and might have to add this one to the list. Again, love your blog!

Karen Harris said...

Oh Haley, you must include this one. You're gonna be hooked the first time you make it.