The food blogosphere has been raving about this sauce for many years, but I’m not sharing with you just because I obediently follow the recommendations of my elders. I actually expected a completely unexciting sauce–palatable enough to eat and not waste anything, but not great enough for me to want to share with you.
Obviously I was wrong. This is the tomato sauce you might especially want to eat when you’re clogged up with rich cold-weather food. It’s very simple and comforting, using just a few ingredients in one pot and a hands-off approach. The butter enriches the tomato in a smooth, subtle way, bringing forth the natural sweetness, while the slowly simmered onion encourages a gentle savoury background.
I’ve made this with own-brand chopped tomatoes, fancy imported whole Italian plum tomatoes, fancy butter and not-so fancy butter; every variation was quite delicious. I think you’ve mainly got to be patient enough to let it simmer, and don’t be afraid to taste and salt it appropriately at the end.
- . 800g canned whole plum tomatoes, chopped, or crushed with your hands
- . 75g unsalted butter
- . 1 medium white or yellow onion, peeled and cut in half
- . Salt to taste
- Put the tomatoes (with their juice), butter, and onion halves into a large saucepan.
- Bring to a moderate simmer over a medium heat.
- Turn the heat down low so the sauce only very gently but steadily bubbles.
- Simmer them slowly like this, uncovered, for 45 minutes.
- Use a wooden spoon to stir now and then, crushing large pieces of tomato against the side of the pan.
- The sauce is ready when the surface of the sauce has small pools and droplets of gold-red fat on top and the texture is velvety.
- Salt to taste.
- Serve, tossed with any pasta of your choice, with or without parmesan cheese.
- This sauce can also be cooled and stored in the fridge for a few days in advance. Reheat until piping hot before serving.