November 6, 2012

Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter

Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter

The end of October brought a fright-filled trifecta: the presidential debates, Halloween and Hurricane Sandy.  After the light drizzle that was Hurricane Irene, I was not too concerned about Sandy until the MTA shut down all public transportation.  I’ve never seen my city burdened by flooded subway stations, piles of upturned boats and cars, looting, gas shortages, week long power outages and whole blocks burned down and washed away.  My mom's neighborhood in Long Island is a mess of fallen trees, my Dad has been standing on hour-long lines everyday for gas to run his generator and my cousin unfortunately lost her house in the flooding but thankfully got out safely.  I heard one report of someone pulling a gun at a gas station in a fight for fuel and another report of Rockaways residents barricading their homes to protect themselves from looters.  I couldn’t help but think of the post-apocalyptic setting in Cormac McCarthy’s The Road.  Hard hit areas including Red Hook, the Rockaways, Staten Island and parts of New Jersey are still in need of all the help and supplies they can get.  You can find information on donating and volunteering here.  I hope you can help bring some comfort to the victims of Sandy.

 Speaking of comfort, comfort food is the centerpiece of the holiday season and there’s no better comfort food than a bowl of pasta.  Marcella Hazan’s Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter is the food blogging world’s most beloved sauce praised by Orangette, Amateur Gourmet, Food52, Sassy Radish, GiltTaste, The Kitchn, Steamy Kitchen, Smitten Kitchen, and soon, you in your kitchen.  This recipe is as easy as pie, actually it’s a hell of a lot easier than making pie.  There’s no excuse not to experience this rich, luxurious sauce.  As I took my first bites, buttery sauce coating my lips, I curled uncontrollably into a ball and didn’t know whether to close my eyes in ecstasy or widen them in awe, so I alternated between the two for the next twenty minutes.  

This week I have three requests: make this sauce, help victims of Sandy and make a smart, informed VOTE!

Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter

Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter
(Adapted from Marcella Hazan's Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking)

Makes 4 servings or enough to sauce 1 pound pasta

1 28-ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes (San Marzano or Muir Glen preferably)
5 tablespoons salted butter
1 medium onion, peeled and cut in half
Salt to taste

1.  Put tomatoes (juice and all), butter and onion in a medium or large pot.

2.  Cook uncovered at a very slow, but steady simmer for 45 minutes.  Stir from time to time, mashing up any large pieces of tomato with the back of a wooden spoon.  Add salt to your liking if you find that it needs any.  If you want a totally smooth sauce, blend it in a food processor.

3.  Transfer the onion to a plate (I’ll tell you what to do with this in a moment).  Serve sauce with hot pasta and fresh basil.

5.  Use the soft onion to spread on toasted bread or pizza, or you can discard it.  Save any extra sauce in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.

Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter

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