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Easy Tomato Sauce / Marcella Hazan


Incredibly easy, unctous, full of flavour. Rich, round and very comforting. Great for young children and adults alike. I think, the trick is the (copious) use of butter. It turns it into a very different type of sauce from an olive oil based one. Perhaps this is the reason it hasn’t appeared in many other cook books since (to my knowledge) as butter has (regrettably) fallen out of fashion even though the latest research is suggesting it’s not bad for you.

  • 1 can, best plum tomatoes, chopped. 400g. (You can use fresh tomatoes too, best to blanche in hot water to remove skins, but we’ve forgotten too and it’s still worked out, although with a tang of tomato skin).
  • Onion, chopped in half.
  • Butter, unsalted. 70 – 100g
  • Variation: squashed garlic clove.

Serves 2 (hungry) to 4. Use 2 cans of tomatoes for 2.

Melt the butter in the pan, add the chopped tomatoes and half an onion. Simmer for around 45 minutes, until the sauce takes on the qualities of a paste with a buttery sheen. It’s quite a long time, and the tomatoes won’t look like they are doing much for quite a long time and then they will start to turn into your sauce.

It really is that simple.

Variation: We’ve added a garlic clove, and left out the onion. Both add a subtle savoury allium note to the sauce.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. 2008/11/01 9:19 pm

    I would definitely do the garlic – and maybe even some fresh meyer lemon juice. Over spaghetti – oh YUMMM !

    Hope that you are having a good weekend 🙂

    And oh my yes, by the time I get to London next April I will be 135 pounds – and take you up on your kind food offer !

    Loving Annie

  2. 2008/11/01 9:23 pm

    it always helps to get restaurant tips from those in the know !

  3. Lozenge permalink
    2009/10/09 10:29 am

    You can also do a nice quick meal with almost the same ingredients.

    Just finely chop one onion and 2 garlic cloves, then fry them very very slowly on your lowest setting in 60g of butter (you don’t want them or the butter to brown), then add around 350g of good quality cherry tomatoes, and let them cook slowly (turning them occasionally), for about 8 minutes.

    Serve over spaghetti, with some fresh parmesan, and even a bit of balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Accompanied with a fresh herb/rocket salad and some garlic bread – delicious!

    (I have added some left over bacon chopped into small bits at the start with the onions too, but it’s just as nice without!)

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