Sunday, August 8, 2010

Tomato Sauce with Butter and Onions

Do you ever hold onto recipes that you want to make and months later (or even years later) realize that you still haven't made them?  That's how this recipe was for me.  Some recipes you see and immediately know that you need to make them and you run to the grocery store and make them for dinner the very next day.  Others don't merit that degree of urgency and get pushed to the backburner while other, somehow more exciting, recipes are made.  Now the reason that this tomato sauce ever even crossed my radar was because I first stumbled across it right after eating at Scarpetta for the first time where I tried Alex's Spaghetti + Tomato & Basil.  It was mind-blowing.  So simple and yet so amazing.  It blew every other dish we ordered that night out of the water.  So I saw this recipe by Marcella Hazan and figured if Scott Conant (the chef at Scarpetta) can make something so amazing out of tomatoes and basil, I'm sure that Marcella Hazan (one of the foremost authorities on Italian cooking) can do the same.  And everytime I turned around it was almost as if another one of my favorite food blogs was giving Marcella's recipe a try.  First it was Rachel Eats, then Smitten Kitchen, then Steamy Kitchen, and most recently, Momofuku for 2.  At that point, I figured that if all of these great bloggers made (and enjoyed the recipe) I really needed to suck it up and bump it to the front of the line of recipes for the week.

So Thursday night Alex was in charge of following one of the simplest recipes to ever grace our little kitchen.  Unfortunately, I was stuck at work until 10:00 pm so I missed out on dinner entirely and had to wait until lunch Friday to give this pasta a shot.  We used bucatini as the pasta for the sauce because I really just love bucatini.  It's like spaghetti - only ten times better, with a completely different mouthfeel to it.  Anyway, what can I say about this sauce?  It is simple.  And very tasty.  It is very buttery and almost velvety in the way that it coats the pasta.  Is it mindblowing?  No.  But is it fairly stunning for all of its simplicity?  Absolutely.

Recipe after the jump!

Tomato Sauce with Butter and Onions
Adapted from Marcela Hazan’s Essentials of Italian Cooking
As found on Smitten Kitchen

28 ounces (800 grams) whole peeled tomatoes from a can (San Marzano, if you can find them)
5 tbsp (70 grams) unsalted butter
1 medium-sized yellow onion, peeled and halved
Salt to taste
1 lb. of your favorite pasta, cooked according to package instructions

Put the tomatoes, onion and butter in a heavy 3 quart saucepan (I used a Le Creuset) over medium heat.  Bring the sauce to a simmer then lower the heat to keep the sauce at a slow, steady simmer for about 45 minutes, or until droplets of fat float free of the tomatoes.  Stir occasionally, crushing the tomatoes against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon.  Remove from heat, discard the onion, add salt to taste (you might find, as I did, that your tomatoes came salted and that you didn’t need to add more) and keep warm while you prepare your pasta.

Serve with your favorite pasta, with or without grated parmesan cheese to pass.

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