Feb 28 10
by cara
at 9:09 AM
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Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter

I thought that I had homemade red sauce all figured out.  After all, I’ve been making my own for a couple of years now, always following the same recipe.  It wasn’t a difficult recipe.  A few cans of tomato, add spices, garlic, cheese.  Then I happened across this recipe for Tomato Sauce on Smitten Kitchen.   Apparently it is a recipe that many a famous food blogger has swooned over.  As such, I figured it had to be complicated.  Imagine my surprise when I saw a mere FOUR ingredients listed!  Tomatoes (duh!).  Butter (always a good addition!).  Onion (that gets removed later, perfect!).  Salt.  That’s it.  I’ll be honest.  I was more than a little skeptical.  Where were all the spices and secret ingredients?  Don’t you need to add some oregano or basil to have a good red sauce?  Apparently not.  I simmered up a pot of this sauce this week to go along with spaghetti and meatballs, and it was DELICIOUS!  This sauce tastes amazing on its own, no meatballs necessary.  It can be served up with spaghetti, plain and simple.  Next time you need red sauce, please try this recipe instead of reaching for a jar of sauce, won’t you?  I had trouble getting a decent photo of the plain sauce, but here it is simmering with the meatballs:

Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter

Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter

from Smitten Kitchen, adapted from Marcela Hazan’s Essentials of Italian Cooking


  • 28 ounces whole peeled tomatoes from a can (San Marzano, if you can find them)
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium-sized yellow onion, peeled and halved
  • Salt to taste

Put the tomatoes, onion and butter in a heavy saucepan (it fit just right in a 3-quart) over medium heat. Bring the sauce to a simmer then lower the heat to keep the sauce at a slow, steady simmer for about 45 minutes, or until droplets of fat float free of the tomatoes. Stir occasionally, crushing the tomatoes against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat, discard the onion, add salt to taste and keep warm while you prepare your pasta.

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  1. I’m skeptical too — so few ingredients! I’m going to try this though, for sure, because lots of times the simplest things are the most delicious!

  2. I am so curious. I will have to try this soon. Thanks for sharing.

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