Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter

Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter


Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter 

Recipe from Marcella Hazan’s, The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking


900 grams/2 pounds fresh, ripe tomatoes, prepared as described below, or 500 grams/1 pound 2 ounce tinned imported Italian plum tomatoes, cut up with their juice (We used fresh)

75 grams/2½ ounces butter

1 medium onion, peeled and cut in half


freshly grated parmigiana-reggiano cheese for the table


Preparing fresh tomatoes for the sauce

Slice a tiny “X” on the bottle of each tomato and remove the top of the core using a small knife.  Plunge the tomatoes in boiling water for about 30 seconds or until the skin starts to spilt.  Remove and plunge into ice water to cool.  Remove the tomatoes, peel the skin and discard the skin.  Chop the tomatoes into coarse pieces.


Put either the prepared fresh tomatoes or the tinned ones into a saucepan, add the butter, onion and salt, and cook uncovered at a very slow but steady simmer for 45 minutes*, or until the fat floats free from the tomatoes.  Stir from time to time, mashing any large piece of tomato in the pan with the back of a wooden spoon.  Taste and correct for salt.  Discard the onion before tossing the sauce with pasta.


Marcella calls for 1–1½ pounds of pasta to serve with this recipe.


*Chef Michelle’s Note: We cooked the sauce a little longer than Marcella called for, an extra 20-30 minutes.  The sauce should be slightly reduced and thickened the tomatoes should easily break apart with a spoon.