My Mother’s Butter, Tomato, and Onion Sauce

Preparation info

  • Makes enough for

    1 pound

    dried pasta
    • Difficulty

      Medium

    • Ready in

      50 min

Appears in

Hazan Family Favorites

Hazan Family Favorites

By Giuliano Hazan

Published 2012

  • About

If I had to pick one dish that exemplifies “Hazan family favorites,” it would be this sauce. It is ridiculously simple. You put four ingredients into a pot and place it on the stove. The onion is just peeled and cut in half, no chopping or slicing required. And if you are using canned tomatoes, all you do is open the can, pour it in the pot, and break up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon. But its not because of how easy it is that its a favorite; its because the flavor is addictively delicious. At our cooking school in Italy we offer a “level-two” course for those who want to return for more. I always ask what dish from the first course is their favorite. Out of a week of classes and restaurant meals, the majority say it is this sauce that they remember best. As an added bonus, it can be frozen and will taste just as good when thawed and reheated months later. If you do make a larger batch, be aware that the cooking time will increase.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ripe tomatoes, or 3 cups canned whole peeled tomatoes with their juice
  • 1 medium sweet yellow onion
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • teaspoons salt

Method

  1. If using fresh tomatoes, peel them. Coarsely chop the fresh or canned tomatoes. Trim both ends of the onion; peel it and cut it in half lengthwise.
  2. Put the tomatoes, onion, butter, and salt in a 4- to 5-quart saucepan over medium heat. When the tomatoes begin to bubble, lower the heat to a slow but steady simmer. Cook, stirring every 10 to 15 minutes, until the tomatoes are no longer watery and the sauce has reduced, about 45 minutes, depending on the size and shape of the pot. The sauce is done when the butter has separated from the tomatoes and there is no remaining liquid.