Simply Delicious: Onion Scented Tomato Sauce
February 01, 2007
When we’re in the mood to make Italian food at home, we usually look to Marcella Hazan for guidance. This lusciously simple sauce from her 1992 cookbook Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking (Alfred A Knopp) is one of my all time favorites. It couldn’t be easier (put 4 things in a saucepan and stir it every so often) and the results are always good. The sweetness of tomato and onion slowly cooked to melting and rounded out with butter makes this a delicious, comforting sauce for gnocchi or pasta. In summer it’s delicious made with fresh tomatoes, but this time of year use good canned tomatoes – like the ItalFoods San Marzanos we have at the shop. (They’re the real thing, not San Marzano-style tomatoes that you find some places.) Top it with a little parmigiano-reggiano and enjoy!
Onion Scented Tomato Sauce
2 pounds fresh, ripe tomatoes (see preparation notes*) or 2 cups canned imported San Marzano tomatoes, cut up with their juice
5 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, peeled and cut in half
Put either the prepared, fresh tomatoes or the San Marzanos in a saucepan with the butter, onion halves, and some salt. Cook uncovered at a very slow but steady simmer for 45 minutes, or until the fat floats free from the tomato. Stir occasionally and smash any larger chunks of tomato with a wooden spoon. Taste and correct for salt. Discard the onion.
You can freeze any leftover sauce you might have. (We rarely have leftovers of this sauce because I will eat it by the spoonful, unencumbered by pasta or gnocchi, until it is gone. I can’t help myself.)
* For fresh tomatoes: Blanch them for a minute or less in boiling water. Drain them and, as soon as they are cool enough to handle, skin them and chop into coarse pieces.
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