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Easy Tomato Sauce Recipe

Make Marcella Hazan's Iconic Tomato Sauce Tonight

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.

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.

Marcella Hazan's Tomato Sauce

Marcella Hazan's Tomato Sauce


While perhaps best in its most elemental state, glossed over strands of spaghetti, it could be slathered on pizza, layered in lasagna, or employed as a poaching liquid for eggs.

Marcella Hazan's Tomato Sauce


  1. 1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, or 2 pounds fresh tomatoes, peeled and cored
  2. 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  3. 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and halved
  4. Salt, to taste
  5. Chiffonade 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. Remove the onions and reserve for another use.
  3. Using an immersion blender, pulse a few times to break up large chunks of tomato. Alternatively, run the sauce through a food mill, on the coarsest setting. Season to taste if necessary.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Nicole Perry
Debbie15152622 Debbie15152622 3 years
First of all, if you consider this a true "recipe", don't tell anyone....pretty pathetic. Second, I will never buy tomatoes in a can again....even organic tomatoes (Nature's Pride for one) has BPAs in the can....AND they come from China! WHAT???
Marko14760004 Marko14760004 4 years
Ok, I was sceptical, 3 ingredients? This was absolutly wonderful. I used fresh peeled chopped roma tomatos, a little over 2 pounds, the onion, a generous dash of salt, and the recommended amount of butter, I used unsalted. Simmered as prescribed and served over angel hair. I had chilli flake, regiano, the pepper grinder, and salt on the table for additional flavoring. Next time, and there will be many many next times, I will double the tomatos, and I will have a few fresh chopped herbs on the table. This is a perfect go to for any beginner.
madison63 madison63 5 years
This sauce has changed my life! I have been buying Trader Joes' Arrabiata Sauce for years (which is very good by the way) but I love the freshness of this sauce. I will never buy jarred spaghetti sauce again!
kurniakasih kurniakasih 5 years
I found this recipe in smitten kitchen (link below) since last year and have been making it. It is really that good.   Even without the basil, it's very very good.
Sara-Yoo Sara-Yoo 5 years
This may be cliché, but I want to bathe in this sauce. I really do.
designfixation designfixation 5 years
This sounds really delicious, I'll have to try it! I'll have to finish off the big batch of this that I just made first though:
Segat1 Segat1 8 years
I don't get why this is called Marinara when there's no seafood in it? Surely it's more of a Napoli sauce?
snarkypants snarkypants 8 years
i love homemade sauce! nasty picture though. looks like baby poop.
Spectra Spectra 8 years
Hmmm...sounds really delicious, but I'm wondering if you could also just use fresh tomatoes in place of the canned ones? At the end of the summer, I always have a ton of ripe garden tomatoes left over and I'd love to make a huge batch of tomato sauce with them. I'll probably leave out the carrot and the celery, though.
DCRoamer DCRoamer 8 years
I agree with happsmjc. A true marinara sauce should not have carrots, celery, or a bay leaf. This sauce may be tasty, but please do not call it a marinara!
PeachyKeen19 PeachyKeen19 8 years
Oh, I just love this new basics series. Great work Yum, as always excelente! :)
Happsmjc Happsmjc 8 years
I love you Yum, but this is not how we make sauce (or I guess I should say I love you Giada). I am Italian and come from a large Italian family and have never i my life seen carrots or celery in a marina. We keep things basic. In my own sauce I don't even use onions (although most of my family does). We get most of our flavor from tomato, garlic, basil, parm. cheese, etc. And when usually meatballs, ribs, etc that are in the sauce (not in mine though!) You are right though ilanac, making sauce is one of the easiest things you could do!
kevinstyle kevinstyle 8 years
puttanesca - delicious
fuzzles fuzzles 8 years
So easy, and so much better than store bought. I think that I am going to need to whip up a batch of my homemade lasagna over the weekend! :feedme:
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
i don't know why but years ago i thought making a sauce was really complicated but it's really not hard at all. i've done it so many times and i've learned that you can really make a sauce of your own without having to invest too much of yourself, your time or your money. thanks for sharing this - more people should realize what they can do.
suziryder suziryder 8 years
Yumm, I love homemade pasta sauce! Sooo worth the extra effort!
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
1 dried bay leaf. not leaves.
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
You're making me hungry!
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