Garden tomatoes in a harvest basket

The Art of Simplicity: Marcella Hazan's Butter, Tomato, and Onion Sauce

Growing up on a farm, tomatoes were a cherished part of life. Our garden was big, so big that our Dad would till it each spring with the same disc he used in our corn fields. After we finished morning farm chores, we headed to the garden to plant, weed, water and harvest. While our garden has changed over the years, the produce still remains a treasure, especially our favorite heirloom tomatoes like Japanese Black Trifele and Black Krim.

Garden tomatoes in a harvest basket

As autumn deepens in Wisconsin, a few light frosts have come and we've been able to protect our garden by covering the plants at night. But with several upcoming nights in the 30s, it's clear that our tomato season is drawing to a close. 

The realization that tomato season is winding down got me on a quest for a recipe that could capture the essence of these final tomatoes. I came across this pasta sauce recipe that's so fantastic, I had to share it with you.

Crafting a Culinary Wonder

If you're an Italian cuisine enthusiast, you've probably heard of Marcella Hazan, the renowned cookbook author who transformed how Americans cook Italian. Her Tomato and Butter Sauce recipe is a masterpiece of simplicity, made even more extraordinary with the use of high-quality artisan butter – Royal Guernsey, of course!

This iconic recipe demands only four essential components:

Premium tomatoes: You can use two pounds of fresh, ripe tomatoes or 28 ounces of canned whole San Marzano tomatoes with their juices.

Artisan butter: Five tablespoons of top-notch artisan butter.

Onion: One medium sweet yellow onion, peeled and halved through the root.

Seasoning: A teaspoon of salt for flavor.

Tomatoes are the star of this dish so using the highest quality will make a difference in sauce. You may use fresh or canned tomatoes. When using fresh tomatoes, blanch them to remove the skins. Remove the cores and give them a rough chop. If using canned tomatoes keep the liquid and using your hands, break them apart into rough pieces.

Blanched tomatoes with their skins removed

Creating the sauce is a breeze. Begin by simmering the tomatoes, artisan butter, onion, and salt over low heat. The artisan butter adds a rich, creamy dimension to the sauce, while the onion infuses a delicate aroma. As the sauce simmers, the flavors meld together, creating a luscious and deeply satisfying result. You want the water from the tomatoes to cook out, you'll know it has when the butter floats on top.

Serving Up the Magic

Once your sauce is ready, remove the onion, and you are left with a velvety, silky tomato sauce perfect for various pasta dishes. Toss it over your favorite pasta, freshly grated Parmesian-Reggiano and fresh basil, and you'll understand why this recipe has become legendary.

Marcella Hazan Butter,  Tomato, and Onion Sauce

Don't forget the importance of preparing the pasta correctly. Properly salt the water and combine the pasta with the sauce in the saucepan. With the heat on low, add a ladle of spaghetti water to help it adhere, let it come to a simmer, and finish the pasta in the sauce for the last two minutes of cook time.

The Elegance of Quality 

Marcella Hazan's Butter, Tomato and Onion Sauce exemplifies the beauty of simplicity and the significance of using top-notch ingredients. It's a dish for everyone to enjoy. In the world of fine cuisine, it's often the simple things that make the most lasting impressions. When you're striving for excellence, there's no better choice than using premium artisan butter, like Royal Guernsey.

Marcella Hazan's Butter,  Tomato, and Onion Sauce
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