Tomato Sauce with Butter and Onions

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Recipe: Marcela Hazan’s Essentials of Italian Cooking and "Tomato Sauce with Butter and Onions" from Smitten Kitchen.
Rating: Great. The recipe can be doubled if you want more sauce.
Status: Made several times.

This recipe was extremely quick and easy to prepare. The sauce is simple, and fulfilling. If you use San Marzano tomatoes, then the sauce will taste sweet. Real, certified San Marzano tomatoes are marked with D.O.P. on the label and are grown in Italy; however it is okay to use whichever canned tomatoes taste best to you, even if they are not true San Marzanos (though I think these producers should be more transparent about what their products actually are). San Marzano tomatoes are great tomatoes, but the sauce also works with any other good quality whole peeled tomatoes.

All you need to do is peel and cut an onion in half, and add it to a pan with the contents of the tomato jar and some butter, simmer the sauce, and then salt the sauce. Even though the recipe says that it only needs to be simmered for 45 minutes, my sauce usually needs to simmer for an hour to an hour and half before the butterfat separates from the tomatoes.

This recipe is especially great with meatballs, for example in a meatball sandwich. If you cook meatballs or sausage (or both) in the sauce, then the sauce will become richer from the flavorings and fat that it absorbs. Very tasty.

The pictures below show a double batch (made for a large batch of meatballs). The tomato cans may have salt in them so you should salt to taste. A guideline is, I usually use about 1 to 1.5 tsp of Diamond Crystal kosher salt per can of tomatoes.

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