This is perhaps the most famous recipe created by Marcella Hazan, the cookbook author who changed how Americans cook Italian food. It also may be her easiest. Use fresh, peeled, or your favorite canned tomatoes for this and don’t be scared off by the butter. It gives the sauce an unparalleled velvety richness. From her book, Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking.

 Tomato s 1


1kg fresh, ripe tomatoes (peeled and chopped) or 2 cups canned imported Italian plum tomatoes

5T  butter

1 medium onion, peeled and cut in half

Salt and sugar to taste

500g pasta (spaghetti, penne, rigatoni)

Freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese


  1. Combine the tomatoes, their juices, the butter and the onion halves in a pot. Add a pinch or two of salt and sugar.
  2. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, for about 45 minutes. Stir occasionally, mashing any large pieces of tomato with a spoon. Add salt and sugar as needed.
  3. Discard the onion before tossing the sauce with pasta. This recipe makes enough sauce for a 500g of pasta.

Serves 6-8 as a starter, 4 as a main


For more delicious recipes from Marcella Hazan click here, and from Wickedfood click here.