Have you made this tomato sauce? People swear by it. People LOVE it. People think it’s genius. I am completely undecided.
The sauce has only four ingredients. One of them is butter. The sauce was so fine-textured that it clung delicately and evenly to each individual noodle. Its flavor was the summer flavor of the good tomatoes I used, enriched with butter and salt.
With very little effort, this recipe produced a refined and tasty dish. Which made me notice that refined and tasty aren’t necessarily enough for me. I think I prefer a heartier olive-oil based sauce, spicy with chiles and garlic, enlivened with a big handful of fresh basil at the end.
So why am I sharing this recipe? Well, you might love it. Everyone else does. And I kind of want you to make it and tell me what you think. Or tell me that you’ve made it and adore it. Or tell me that you’d never make in in a million years, because who in her right mind adds that much butter to summer tomatoes? Or tell me, please, about the tomato sauce that is your favorite at this time of year.
Marcella Hazan’s Tomato Sauce (adapted from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking): In a pot, combine 2 lbs. good tomatoes, peeled and seeded* (or 2 c. jarred tomatoes with their juice) with 5 Tbsp. butter and an onion, peeled and cut in half through the root end. Add salt to taste. Simmer 45 minutes, or until sauce thickens and oil separates from the tomatoes, crushing any tomato pieces against the side of the pot as the sauce cooks. Taste again for salt, and remove onion before serving. Serve over pasta with a chunk of Parmesan cheese and a Microplane grater.
*To avoid the hassle of peeling and seeding my tomatoes (several of which were small), I cut them in half across the equator and cooked them over medium heat for ten minutes, covered, to soften them up. Then I sent my tomatoes through my food mill before continuing with the recipe.