Eat Hard / Recipes

Recipe: Not-His-Grandmother’s Tomato Sauce

I don’t have an Italian grandmother.  The Boy does.  My family’s idea of Italian food is Ragu pasta sauce, or our local pasta chain.  The Boy “poo-poos” institutions whose idea of Italian food is “More Melted Cheese” and ate his grandmother’s spaghetti and meat sauce by the pound.  It’s our anniversary today and there are no real plans.  We may go to Kenosha on Valentine’s day, but we only threw that idea out there yesterday.  We’re pretty laissez faire so today, it’s quiet and full of simple things.

Turns out, I did it wrong.  It is not his grandmother’s tomato sauce.  I will never be Italian.

He says it’s fine.  He says that my ability to make Yorkshire Puddings smothered in Brown Sauce is more than enough to garner culinary respect and adoration from the kitchen.  I’m still a little miffed.

But overall, I don’t care.  I’m blindingly happy with how it turned out, and hope that the food-based vacuum cleaner of a human that I live with ignores the big jar of tomato sauce that I’ll pick away at over the next week.  If I’m feeling really festive, I might even pull out the pasta machine tomorrow and see where that takes me

This recipe has been floating around the internet in my social media stream. I remembered it this morning when The Boy returned from The Store with four pounds of These Tomatoes.  I know he intended to make his own, better tomato sauce.

“They’re both very good! I just like mine better,” he shouts (I’m pretending to stomp out of the room after offering him the final taste). “It’s not a bad thing, but Italians just don’t use butter in their sauce!”

Well too bad, I say.  Those tomatoes have been transformed.

Now, I only have to think of what to do with the leftover onion.

Not-His-Grandmother’s Tomato Sauce
Adapted from Marcella Hazan’s Tomato Sauce

  • 4 lbs fresh tomatoes, blanched and peeled. Or canned. Whatever floats your boat.
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, halved
  • Salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, whole
  • dusting Italian seasoning

1) Let tomatoes, butter, olive oil, and onions rest together in a pot over medium high heat.

2) Stir occasionally, gradually adding salt over the course of 1/2 an hour, and breaking the tomatoes apart until everything becomes velvety soft.

3) Add garlic cloves, and Italian seasoning.

4) Squish the tomatoes with the back of your favourite wooden spoon.  The one you wouldn’t let your partner throw away when you got new ones.  Keep letting it simmer for another 1/2 hour

5) Take out the biggest chunks of onion.  Save them for onion jam.  Or eat them and be glad.

6) Toss with pasta.  (The Boy likes linguine.)

Pasta Row


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