POPSUGAR Celebrity

Make Marcella Hazan's Iconic Tomato Sauce Tonight

Sep 30 2013 - 11:25am

In case you aren't yet acquainted with Marcella Hazan's iconic three-ingredient tomato sauce, it is that good. If you're already a convert, carry on supping on this incredibly rich, well-balanced sauce; if you aren't, please (please!) simmer up a batch tonight. (It'll serve as a fitting tribute to the famed cookbook author's passing [1].)

Sure, the tomatoes (at least the canned ones) aren't going anywhere, but just think, each day you wait is one more day without a drop of this velvety sauce passing your lips. This sauce is not only stupid simple to prepare (three ingredients: that's it), it'll also blow any and all competition out of the water.

Keep reading for the superlative recipe.

Real talk: I ate half the batch straight from the pot, spoon to mouth. Seriously.

Marcella Hazan's Tomato Sauce

Marcella Hazan's Tomato Sauce

Marcella Hazan's Tomato Sauce Recipe


1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, or 2 pounds fresh tomatoes, peeled [4] and cored
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and halved
Salt, to taste
Chiffonade [5] of basil (optional)


  1. Place the tomatoes, butter, and halved onion in a medium saucepan (3 quarts or larger).
  2. Bring the sauce to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer, and cook for 45 minutes, or until the butter droplets separate from the tomato juices. Discard the onions.
  3. Using an immersion blender, pulse a few times to break up large chunks of tomato. Alternatively, run the sauce through a food mill [6], on the coarsest setting. Season to taste if necessary.

Serves 4-6; makes enough sauce to dress 1 pound pasta.


  • Save the tomato-braised onion halves to serve finely chopped as an accompaniment to sausage.
  • While perhaps best in its most elemental state, glossed over strands of spaghetti, it could be slathered on pizza [7], layered in lasagna, or employed as a poaching liquid for eggs [8].

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