Marcella Hazan is the Godmother of Italian cooking. That's Godmother with a capital "G" because she deserves some respect. I neglected to mention that after I returned from living in Italy, it was Marcella's book "The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking" that became my bible for many years to follow. If you do not own this book and want to improve your Italian skills in the kitchen, click in the image below and buy it now. Everyone should have this on their shelf. In fact, you should run through it an prepare every recipe once.
I don't even need to open the book to give you the Tomato sauce recipe. It's so straightforward and easy that even the worst cook can get this right. I memorized it after my first try. And......this sauce is one of those revelatory moments in the culinary arts where you discover the simplicity in balance flavors to create something unique. What happens here is that the sweetness and earthiness of the tomatoes gets infused by the richness of the butter. All the while, the onion imparts it's own mojo without overpowering. Salt provides a kick at the end that brings everything to their fullest potential.
Here's how it's done: For every can of San Marzano (DOP only) Roma tomatoes, use a half a stick of unsalted, high-quality butter (I prefer Plugra or other European style) and a half of an onion, peeled but kept in tact. Put the whole thing together in a large pot and simmer for about an hour until the fat bubbles to the top. Mash up the tomato frequently until it gets smooth. Remove the onion before serving. Add salt to taste - I like to use a nice sea salt with this sauce. It can handle it.
This sauce is not for all pasta. That's the trick for a good pasta maker - pairing is critical. What works for this sauce is: gnocchi, fresh pasta (not dried) - thick like papardelle and cheese-stuffed pastas such as ravioli (probably the best marriage because the creaminess of the cheese goes oh so perfectly). Also, I find this sauce works great on top of a frittata or polenta.
I'm expecting a lot of feedback on this one. I remember the day I discovered it myself and how I stood dumbfounded in the kitchen that I stumbled on something miraculous. Now get out there and cook!