This sauce, on account of its easy preparation and rich, sweet flavor, is an irresistible favorite. If it’s summer and you have access to great, fresh, farmers’ market tomatoes, use the sweetest, least watery varieties you can find (like plum). Otherwise, high quality canned tomatoes are the way to go. Seek out San Marzano canned tomatoes, often imported from Italy.
Adapted from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan.
2 lbs fresh tomatoes (see note* below on preparation), or 2 cups canned tomatoes, cut up, with their juice
5 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, peeled, its root removed, and cut in half
Rind from a piece of parmigiano-reggiano (if you have it)
1 to 1 ½ lbs pasta
Freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano for the table
*Note: if using fresh tomatoes, you must first blanch them. Plunge the tomatoes in boiling water for a minute or less. Drain them, and as soon as you can handle them, skin them, and cut into coarse pieces.
- Put the tomatoes, butter, onion, parmigiano rind (if using), and a big pinch of salt in a saucepan.
- Bring to a very slow simmer, and cook uncovered for 45 minutes, or until the fat floats free from the tomato.
- Stir occasionally, smashing any large pieces of tomato with the back of a wooden spoon.
- Discard onion (and rind) and correct for salt before tossing with pasta of your choice.
Pair it with: