Oct 2, 2013 8:33 PM

Marcella Hazan's Tomato Sauce

The front page of the New York Times is a special location for an obituary, space reserved for global leaders, royalty, icons and legends. Marcella Hazan was a culinary legend who died this week in her Florida home at the age of 89. Marcella was the "acknowledged godmother of Italian cooking in America". She authored several iconic, best-selling Italian cookbooks including "The Classic Italian Cookbook."

One of the most important lessons that Marcella taught us was the lesson of delicious simplicity. She was an exacting chef and no recipe could showcase the importance of this quality more than a four ingredient tomato sauce recipe where there is no room for a careless gesture to hide. Kim Severson, the New York Times food writer, penned Marcella's obituary. Severson was also a friend who shared the her personal relationship with Marcella in her best selling book "Spoon Fed," which I suggest as a must read. Severson, a Facebook friend wondered which recipe would best express the Marcella lesson. I joined the chorus of Marcella's devoted followers who voted for the legendary Tomato Sauce recipe which ultimately appeared in the New York Times yesterday and which I proudly demonstrate and share today.

This delicious, simple recipe is a cornerstone for so many things that it seemed a natural to share today. I hope that this will become your favorite tomato sauce.

I suspect that once you try this recipe, you will hunt for a copy of one of Marcella's books and discover for yourself why this amazing woman is credited with developing our own national love affair with Italian food.

Marcella Hazan's Tomato Sauce

• 2 cups tomatoes, with their juices (for example, a 28-ounce can of San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes)
• 5 tablespoons butter
• 1 onion, peeled and cut in half
• salt

1. Combine the tomatoes, their juices, the butter and the onion halves in a saucepan. Add a pinch or two of salt.
2. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, for about 45 minutes. Stir occasionally, mashing any large pieces of tomato with a spoon. Add salt as needed.
3. Discard the onion before tossing the sauce with pasta. This recipe makes enough sauce for a pound of pasta.


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