Marcella Hazan’s CRAZY Tomato Sauce

[For a better post about this sauce with actual pictures, click here!]

My Secret Cookbook Santa (and paternal grandfather on my mother’s side) Brain W. purchased for me a humongous, beautiful Marcella Hazan cookbook that I’ve been flipping through since I received it. Finally, tonight, I put it to use by making her basic tomato sauce.

Well first I was at a coffee shop and it turned freezing and I wanted to go home and never leave my apartment again. On the way I walked past a grocer with onions and garlic sitting outside. So I grabbed one of each and the total came to $1.02. The cheapest dinner ever.

(I already had tomatoes and pasta at home.)

So anyway, that’s a tangent. The point is that I didn’t know I was going to make Marcella Hazan sauce until I got home with the onion and garlic. I flipped open the book and the recipe SHOCKED me. Here is what shocked me about it:

(1) You don’t chop the onion. You cut it in half and throw it into the pot.

(2) You don’t use olive oil, you use butter.

(3) You don’t use garlic.

I decided to disregard (3) since she doesn’t explicitly say “don’t use garlic”—it’s just not in the recipe. And besides, I had bought garlic so I wanted to use it. I decided to halve the recipe since I was only cooking for one. Here is what went into the pot pre-tomatoes:


(Half an onion, 2.5 Tbs butter, and two garlic cloves cut in half–my own touch.)

Then I added 1 lb of canned tomatoes:


I cut them up in the pot with two knives. Then I turned the heat on, got it to a simmer, and simmered for 45 minutes. It was honestly that easy. I ended up with this:


What a brilliant sauce! Seriously–who knew using butter instead of olive oil would make such a difference. It had a creamy richness that may make this my signature tomato sauce for tomato sauces future. The lack of chopped onion had no impact on the flavor–meaning, cutting the onion in half and throwing it in is an excellent alternative. I’m not sure how the garlic affected it–all I can say is that the end result was top notch.

And that, my friends, is Marcella Hazan’s CRAZY Tomato Sauce. (Oh, and don’t forget to add salt when you add the tomatoes. I didn’t forget–but just in case you follow this recipe, I don’t want your sauce to be not salty enough. I care about you, people.)

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