This sauce is so simple, yet so completely overwhelmingly perfect. The butter rounds out and enhances the tomato perfectly.
The first night we served it over saltimbocca ravioli (veal, provolone cheese and pancetta bacon) that we bought at Costco. Splendid! I had planned to cook up some Italian sausages the next time to accompany the pasta and sauce, but in the end, I just wanted to taste the deliciousness of the sauce over simple whole wheat spaghetti topped with fresh basil and Romano cheese. The basil turned out to be completely unnecessary, but the Romano and a glass of red transcended this sauce to an epic eating odyssey.
We still have more tomatoes ripening on the vine, I wonder if I will be able to resist making a more traditional sauce again...
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Tomato Sauce with Onion and ButterAdapted from Shockingly Delicious and originally from Marcella Hazan’s “Essentials of Italian Cooking.”
2 lbs fresh, ripe, tomatoes
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
1 sugar cube (optional)
If using fresh tomatoes, they must be peeled first. The easiest way is to put them in the freezer on a cookie sheet and freeze solid. When thawed, the skin will slip right off and can be discarded.
Put tomatoes and their juices in a saucepan, break them up with a knife or spoon (they fell apart in my had so no breaking up was necessary), add the butter, onion, and salt, and simmer, uncovered, for about 45 minutes, until droplets of fat float free of the tomatoes. Stir occasionally during cooking, and use a potato masher to mash up the tomatoes. The sauce will thicken while cooking.
Serve with cooked pasta. Offer Pecorino Romano to grate over the pasta.
Close your eyes and savour this with ooohs and ahhhs rather than groans of ecstacy. Or try anyway.
Makes 2 cups of sauce, enough for 4 servings.