Post image for Marcella Hazan’s Butter Tomato Sauce & Onion Jam Recipe

Marcella Hazan’s Butter Tomato Sauce & Onion Jam Recipe

by Lorraine Thompson on July 10, 2014

Stay updated on my latest posts? Subscribe now for direct delivery to your RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!

Suspicion.

That’s what I felt when I read the unanimously rave reviews of Marcella Hazan’s easy three-ingredient Butter Tomato sauce. Lauded on food blogs, the sauce has, over the last few years, developed almost mythic status. Food folk turn somersaults describing its tomato-y, buttery flavor.

“…unparalleled velvety richness,” reports The New York Times. “…delicate, fresh and sweet,” purrs Smitten Kitchen. “…brilliant sauce…immortal…viral,” enthuses the Amateur Gourmet.

Uh-huh.

See, before tasting it, I didn’t believe all that mind-blowing flavor could be squeezed out of just three ingredients.

But I was wrong.

3ingredients550

hazancookcookii3752

Not your typical red sauce

Hazan’s full-flavored, savory, salty-sweet, nuanced (see, there I go) sauce is almost as notable for what it leaves out as what it puts in. Among the typical Italian red sauce ingredients not included in Hazan’s easy recipe:

  • Olive oil
  • Bacon
  • Pancetta
  • Sausage
  • Any pork at all
  • Ground beef
  • Stew meat
  • Beef bones
  • Any beef at all
  • Any meat at all
  • Wine
  • Milk
  • Capers
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Crushed red pepper
  • Any spices or herbs at all

Here’s what is included:

  • San Marzano tomatoes
  • Butter
  • Onion

That’s it.

No-sweat prep

In addition to requiring just three ingredients, the recipe is super easy to prepare. You don’t chop, mince, grind, sauté or strain. You barely have to stir.

Which makes it a great starter recipe for new cooks. Hazan’s sauce has become my college-student son’s signature dish. On a recent Saturday night, he successfully quintupled the recipe to help carb-load his Fence Club fraternity brothers and sisters.

Just how easy is it to make this sauce? Dump a can of San Marzano tomatoes into a heavy pan, add five tablespoons of butter and a peeled, halved onion. Simmer for 45 minutes. Remove onion and pour sauce over pasta.
rawingredientscookedsauce275

Easy side dish: onion jam

While most recipes tell you to toss the cooked onion after the sauce is finished, I found the onion makes a delicious—and again, easy—side dish. Just scoop the onion from the sauce, chop fine and season with salt and pepper. Pass at table—it’s heaven spread on a crusty slice of buttered Italian bread.

onions275onionjam

Marcella Hazan’s Butter Tomato Sauce & Onion Jam

1 can of San Marzano tomatoes—don’t substitute
5 tablespoons butter
1 onion, peeled and cut in half
½ can water
Salt to taste
One pound pasta, I like spaghetti, penne or rigatoni

  1. Place all ingredients—except pasta—in a large, heavy pan.
  2. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low flame.
  3. Roughly chop the tomatoes with the side of a large spoon or spatula—I use a bread dough scraper.
  4. Simmer for 45 minutes to one hour. If sauce gets too thick, add a few tablespoons of water.
  5. In the meantime, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta—identify cooking time from pasta package—timing it so that pasta is al dente when sauce is finished.
  6. When sauce is done, turn off heat and remove onion.
  7. Cut off the onion top. Mince the onion until it’s the consistency of jam. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Drain the pasta. Pour the sauce over it and toss. Serve immediately with grated Parmesan cheese and onion jam to pass at table.

Serves six

Spaghetti image courtesy of Interno2.

Be the first to comment

Moist Zucchini Tea Bread Recipe

Thumbnail image for Moist Zucchini Tea Bread Recipe

Blogger’s Confession: This recipe has languished in my file since August. I finally found time to post when Hurricane Sandy hit and I got a day off work. Sorry. I know your summer zucchini is long gone. But not to worry: With seasonal additions, this recipe easily transforms into Moist Apple, Pumpkin or Carrot Tea [...]

Read more →

Copywriters’ Kitchen Weekly Menu: October 28, 2012

Thumbnail image for Copywriters’ Kitchen Weekly Menu: October 28, 2012

Need dinner ideas this week?
We did another cook-athon over the weekend so we could enjoy the following meals during the week:
Monday
Smitten Kitchen Meatball Subs with Caramelized Onions, chopped romaine and fennel salad with Mustard and Herb Vinaigrette

Tuesday
Chunky Tomato Soup with Arborio Rice, naan from Indian grocery store

Wednesday
Provence Pan-fried Grassfed Chicken, Rapido Mushroom Risotto, broccoli pan [...]

Read more →

Copywriters’ Kitchen Weekly Menu: September 23, 2012

Thumbnail image for Copywriters’ Kitchen Weekly Menu: September 23, 2012

Need dinner ideas this week?
We did another cook-athon over the weekend so we could enjoy the following meals during the week:
Monday
Easy Shepherd’s Pie, Brussels Sprouts with Buttered Bread Crumbs

Tuesday
Bucatini all’Amatriciana, sautéed broccoli, Italian bread

Wednesday
Chunky Tomato Soup with Arborio Rice, grilled Monterey Jack cheese sandwiches

Thursday
Five Layer Chili Cheese Casserole, romaine and tomato salad with Copywriters’ Kitchen [...]

Read more →

Copywriters’ Kitchen Weekly Menu: September 16, 2012

Thumbnail image for Copywriters’ Kitchen Weekly Menu: September 16, 2012

Need dinner ideas this week?
I did another cook-athon over the weekend so we could enjoy the following meals during the week:
Monday
Mediterranean Poached Eggs in Chunky Spiced Tomato Sauce, romaine and tomato salad with Lemony Sesame Tahini Dressing, toasted rustic Italian bread

Thursday
Smitten Kitchen’s Meatball Subs with Caramelized Onions, Easy Oven-Roasted Green Beans tossed with balsamic [...]

Read more →

Copywriters’ Kitchen Weekly Menu: September 8, 2012

Thumbnail image for Copywriters’ Kitchen Weekly Menu: September 8, 2012

Need dinner ideas this week?
This weekend I did a marathon cooking session. Here’s what we’ll eating weeknights at Copywriters’ Kitchen:
Monday
Spicy Homemade Falafel, pita bread, romaine salad with tomatoes and Lemony Sesame Tahini Dressing

Tuesday
Thursday Night Herb-Roasted Chicken and Roasted Potatoes, broccoli sautéed with olive oil and garlic

Wednesday
Red and Yellow Dal with Cumin Potatoes, steamed basmati rice, [...]

Read more →

Zucchini Quiche Recipe

Thumbnail image for Zucchini Quiche Recipe

Things have shifted around a bit here at Copywriters’ Kitchen.
And by “things,” I don’t mean the summer fruit in the fridge or cumin in the cupboard. I mean my schedule—and therefore my menus at Copywriters’ Kitchen.
After 20+ years working from a home office, I’m now working full-time onsite. My job requires a substantial commute. While [...]

Read more →

Copywriters’ Kitchen Weekly Menu: July 15, 2012

Thumbnail image for Copywriters’ Kitchen Weekly Menu: July 15, 2012

Need dinner ideas this week?
Here’s what we’re cooking at Copywriters’ Kitchen:
Monday
Anything Goes Gazpacho, sandwiches made with Mom’s Meatloaf

Tuesday
No-Cook Summer Tomato Pasta, cold steamed broccoli with Pinch My Salt’s Homemade Mayonnaise

Wednesday
Burritos made with Healthy Homemade Refried Beans, sour cream and grated Monterey Jack cheese, romaine salad with Crunchy Oven-Toasted Croutons and From-Scratch Caesar Salad Dressing

Thursday
Zucchini Quiche, [...]

Read more →

Copywriters’ Kitchen Weekly Menu: May 6, 2012

Thumbnail image for Copywriters’ Kitchen Weekly Menu: May 6, 2012

Need dinner ideas this week?
Here’s what we’re cooking at Copywriters’ Kitchen:
Monday
Chunky Tomato Soup with Arborio Rice, grilled gruyere sandwiches, romaine salad with Crunchy Oven-Toasted Croutons and From-Scratch Caesar Salad Dressing

Tuesday
Easy Shepherd’s Pie, watercress salad with chopped walnuts, cheddar cheese and Copywriters’ Kitchen Secret Ingredient Salad Dressing

Wednesday
Orecchiette with Rapini and Goat Cheese, rustic Italian bread

Thursday
Smitten Kitchen’s [...]

Read more →

Copywriters’ Kitchen Weekly Menu: April 29, 2012

Thumbnail image for Copywriters’ Kitchen Weekly Menu: April 29, 2012

Need dinner ideas this week?
Here’s what we’re cooking at Copywriters’ Kitchen:
Monday
Five Layer Chili Cheese Casserole, Old-Fashioned Coleslaw

Tuesday
Spaghetti al Limone, pan-fried broccoli, rustic Italian bread

Wednesday
How Sweet Eats Toasted Sesame Ginger Salmon, Steamed Rice, Easy Oven-Roasted Green Beans

Thursday
The Spice Spoon’s Aromatic Scrambled Eggs, The Spice Spoon’s Cumin-Spiced Potatoes, toasted ciabatta

Friday
Bucatini all’Amatriciana, watercress salad with walnuts, Parmesan [...]

Read more →