The truth is that I hated tomatoes as a kid. My mother always kept them on the window sill in the summer and even had a few tomato plants. They smelled so good but I just never wanted to taste a mushy ripe tomato. However I loved ketchup. I ate it on everything. I ate it on steak and chicken and turkey. I think my mother always wondered what I’d look like as an adult with ketchup on my plate. Though I still like ketchup, now I’ve grown to like tomatoes. And that leads me to this very basic of Italian sauces. Another Marcella wonder. Rich and full of tomato goodness, this is a really simple sauce that should be in every cook’s repertoire. You will be amazed at the results and overwhelmed by the taste.
I made it the other night when I had my CASA kids over to make dinner. We had that ubiquitous kid’s meal of spaghetti and meatballs, though my meatballs were made with chicken. (Quite tasty I might add.) A Caesar salad was added to the mix, garlic bread and poundcake and strawberries. It will suffice to say my CASA kids were quite content and very proud of themselves. I have to admit it tasted mighty good to me, too. But the leftovers were even better.
Try this sauce. Notice how it is completely unadulterated with herbs or garlic. This is a tomato sauce at its best. In the case of the spaghetti and meatballs I made sure that my meatballs were full of flavor, but I left the sauce alone except for a sprinkle of fresh ground black pepper and a smattering of fresh basil. The sauce becomes sweet with the concentrated richness of tomato. And yes we did sprinkle on fresh parmesan reggiano. Yum... Yum, yum, yum.
Tomato Sauce from Marcella Hazan (I used canned San Marzano and Pomi crushed tomatoes. Do a taste test and you will understand why. And I doubled the recipe below.)
2c tomatoes and their juice
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and halved
1 peeled carrot
1 / 4 t granulated sugar
Puree tomatoes with a handheld blender while in pot. Add butter, onion, carrot, 1 1/2t salt and sugar. Cook at a slow but steady simmer, uncovered for 45 minutes. Taste and correct for salt. Discard the onion and carrot. Eat or slurp with a spoon.
This is also suitable for any pasta dish or anything else you may want a tomato sauce on. Trust me with this. Really, anything is better with butter. Except of course my hips.