Our new addition does not make cooking easy but this recipe looked just simple enough to attempt between dealing with the two kids in the fuzzy haze of sleep deprivation.
The only change I made was to substitute the last tomatoes from our garden and the ones we received in our CSA pick-up this week for the canned San Marzano's that Marcella's recipe calls for. Fresh is almost always a million times tastier than canned or bottled.
Since I was using fresh tomatoes, I blanched them, cooled them in ice water and peeled them. However, if I am in a hurry, I sometimes skip this step - what's a few tomato skins among friends, right?
Then peeled and halved the onion, sliced the butter and combined it all in the pot. Simmered for 45 minutes, stirring regularly and crushing the tomatoes against the side of the pot.
Removed the onion, gave it a few licks with the old immersion blender and salted it to taste.
I admit it went against the grain to use butter instead of olive oil but it makes the sauce so rich and smooth and well, buttery, that I have no regrets at all. And I also questioned the removal of the onion but decided just to follow the recipe and was pleased with the end result - a delicate, rich, fresh tasting sauce.
Simple, delicious, comfort food. And a perfect way to use up some end-of-the-season tomatoes, too. Directions below are for the canned tomatoes - but just blanch and peel if you're using fresh ones.
Tomato Sauce With Onion & Butter
Adapted from Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking
Serves 4 as a main course
* 28 ounces (800 grams) whole peeled tomatoes
* 5 Tbsps (70 grams) unsalted butter
* 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and halved
* Sea salt to taste
1. Place all the ingredients in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Bring the sauce to a simmer then lower the heat to keep the sauce at a slow, steady simmer for about 45 minutes. Stir occasionally, crushing the tomatoes against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon.
2. Remove from heat, discard the onion, blend to desire consistency (or not at all if you like your sauce really chunky), and salt to taste.
3. Serve warm over good pasta with grated Parmesan.
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