Simple tomato sauce with 3 key ingredients: tomatoes, onion, and butter. Adapted from Marcella Hazan's tomato sauce. Honestly, the only difference is reducing the amount of butter. Stay healthy, friends.
Simple Tomato Sauce
- 1 onion
- 28 oz canned tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- optional: salt, pepper, oregano, thyme, crushed red pepper, bay leaf
- Thinly slice the onion pole-to-pole
- Heat up butter in a medium-sized pot over medium heat. Add the onion. Cook for about 5 minutes until the onion starts to brown.
- Add the tomatoes. Cover the pot. Simmer for 30 minutes.
- Serve with starch, such as chickpeas, potatoes, pasta, or toast.
- Tomatoes: Required for tomato sauce. I suggest using canned tomatoes because they are already peeled. Tomato puree will give you a thinner sauce. Diced tomato will give you a chunkier sauce. If you use whole tomatoes, you will have to smash them to get a sauce.
- Onion: Required for this tomato sauce. Adds sweetness and flavor. Use a white or yellow onion.
- Butter: Adds richness. If you leave out the butter, your sauce will not be as good. Can substitute olive oil. The original recipe calls for 5 tablespoons, but I find that 1 tablespoon suffices.
- Spices: Adds flavor.
- Possible additional vegetables: Add up to 3 diced carrots. Add a few (1-4) whole cloves of garlic.
Step by Step Photos
For each onion half, cut off the two ends. Peel off the papery outer skin and the green-ish layer. I left the brown sprouty end on the onion for the picture to show in what direction you should make your cuts. Make sure to cut off this end before slicing the onion in the next step.
Thinly slice the onion from pole-to-pole. You should cut the onion in this direction so that the onion pieces will be equal in length and cook at the same rate. Alternatively, you could dice the onion, but this requires more work.
Do you cry when you cut onions? You will cry less if you cut a cold onion. The amount you cry depends on the onion and decreases as you cut more onions.
Add 1 tablespoon of butter and the sliced onion to a medium-sized pot. I cook the onion over medium heat.
As the onion cooks, get the spices to add to the pot. What spices should you add? I used approximately 1 teaspoon of salt, pepper, oregano, and thyme. See the picture above for a size estimate. If you use tomatoes with added salt or spices, you may want to add less.
I also added a bay leaf and a very small shake (about 1/8 teaspoon) of red pepper flakes. Do not add too much red pepper flakes. Every time I am not super careful about adding red pepper flakes, my food turns out way too spicy. You can leave out some of the spices I used if you do not have them.
Open the cans, and add in 28 ounces of tomatoes. I used two 14.5 ounce cans of unsalted tomatoes. Do not pour in the lid of the can. I once accidentally cooked the tomato sauce with the lid in the pot. The tomato sauce turned out fine, but cooking a metal lid seems like a bad idea.
Cover the pot. Simmer the tomato sauce for 30 minutes. You should turn the heat to low because if the heat is too high, the tomato sauce will boil and splatter tomato everywhere.
After 30 minutes, the onion will taste soft and sweet, and the tomato sauce will look jammy.
Serve the tomato sauce with carbs. I ate tomato sauce with toast. Pasta makes more sense, but requires more effort.
Have any questions on what to serve with tomato sauce? Feel free to ask below or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.