Marcella Hazan's Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter

This is perhaps the most famous recipe created by Italian cookbook author Marcella Hazan. Food bloggers have been obsessing over this sauce for years – and for good reason. You can make it blind folded, the ingredients are ridiculously humble, and the end result is deliciously rich. I make this regularly for our family of 5 and it’s always a crowd pleaser. And, the whole meal comes in at under $10 for organic ingredients at the Co-op.


The original recipe calls for removing the onion at the end, which suits my five-year-old just fine, but my wife and I are of the opinion that it’s even more flavorful when you leave it in.


Marcella Hazan's Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter

Adapted from Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking

28-oz. can of Muir Glen whole peeled tomatoes
5 T. local Kalona SuperNatural Organic Butter
1 organic onion, peeled and cut in half
1 lb. Field Day Organic Spaghetti
optional: New Pi Pain Puttanesca or Ciabatta Bread
or Italian Baguette
1 local organic garlic clove
Parmesan cheese, grated
mixed salad greens on the side

Combine the tomatoes, their juices, the butter, and the onion halves in a saucepan. Add a pinch or two of salt. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, at a slow simmer for about 45 minutes, or until it reaches a consistency you like. Stir occasionally, mashing any large pieces of tomato with a wooden spoon.

Boil pasta in generously salted water until al dente; drain.

The recipe calls for discarding the onion, but I like to scoop out the halves into a small serving bowl before tossing the sauce with pasta. That way everyone can have their choice of whether to add the onion to their portion. I think the large chunks of tomato-poached onion make the dish more attractive and add a nice texture.

Toss sauce with pasta and serve with or without grated Parmesan cheese and a loaf of New Pi bread (cut it into thin slices, toast them under the broiler until slightly golden, and rub the crusty sides with a clove of garlic).

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