08 June 2008

The Best Tomato Sauce

This isn't just hyperbole- this really is the best tomato sauce ever. It has only 3 ingredients (which is a lot of reason I think I'm drawn to Italian cooking, it's simplicity): tomatoes, onion and butter and could not be easier to make. The sauce is not very thick but has such a bright flavor, not too acidic or too sweet, that you won't miss the thick texture of store bought sauces. It's perfect for spaghetti, pizza or pretty much another other use or you could be like me, and just eat it with a spoon.

I found the original recipe
in the Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan and have modified it over time to use only canned tomatoes and to decrease the amount of butter. Try this recipe and I think once you realize that homemade tomato sauce doesn't have to take all day, you'll be converted. One note though- I do find that the sauce has a much better acid balance and flavor if you use Italian plum tomatoes. If you feel like splurging go for a can of the San Marzano's from Italy, but I have had really good success with Cento brand whole Italian style peeled tomatoes (they have a little picture of a plum tomato on the can). If you end up using regular tomatoes, you might need to add a spoonful of sugar towards the end of the cooking process to help balance out the acid.

The Best Tomato Sauce
Adapted from The Essentials of Italian Cooking
Yields approx. 2.5 cups

1 28oz. can whole peeled italian (plum) tomatoes, with or without basil
1 white onion, skin removed and split in half
3 T. butter

- Pour the contents of the tomato into a saucepan and use your hands to squish the tomatoes into piece. Add the onions and the butter, bring to a simmer.

- Continue to simmer for 1 hour, using a wooden spoon to mash the tomato pieces against the side of the pan every 15 minutes or so. (If you used regular tomatoes, give it a taste now. If the sauce is too acidic, add some sugar, a small spoonful at a time until you like the taste)

- Remove and discard onion.  Serve the sauce with your favorite pasta, use in a recipe or freeze for later.


zlamushka said...

lovely sauce, thick enough for meat ball pasta, I would imagine. I just wanted to let you know that the round-up for T&T May is up now. Hope you re ready for the June challenge.

kat said...

wow, how simple. this is truly the best kind of recipe