In the know? Buttered onion tomato sauce

I try to keep up on current trends, listen to music on Spotify, know who Ilana and Abbi are, watch the news (well, right there I’ve committed myself to the geriatric group), and read Buzzfeed but I fear that I’m falling behind. For instance:

  • Houston recently hosted the NCAA Men’s Final Four: traffic ratcheted up another notch, police increased their presence, and local news reporters, with eyes aglow, reported on every event and special interest story. The event most heavily gushed about was the free, three-day March Madness Music Fest featuring performances by Twenty One Pilots, Maroon 5, Pitbull, Flo Rida, Panic at the Disco, and Fall Out Boy—I knew Maroon 5. Videos of thousands of jumping, screaming, emotionally distraught fans, unable to see Twenty One Pilots due to over-capacity, prompted me to summon Mr. Google to see what I was missing. I had never heard of Twenty One Pilots. There have been over 200,000,000 views of the above video, Twenty One Pilots performed at Bonnaroo, MTV Awards shows, Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, and Conan O’Brien—how could I not know?
  • A few weeks ago The Sweetie and I took a l drive to La Grange, Texas to see quilts selected from Karey Bresenham’s book, “500 Traditional Quilts.” I looked forward to seeing a few quilts, taking a few pictures, and enjoying a long lunch. In the midst of our quick tour, a perky woman who seemed to be in charge, herded us into a lecture room to hear comments from the author of the book. During her introductory remarks, Miss Perky asked for a show of hands of those who knew who the speaker was—a majority of hands proudly flew up. “And who doesn’t know the speaker?” I didn’t know but decided to pass. Two other souls tentatively raised their hands.  “And what planet are you from! How could you not know Karey, everyone knows Karey!”  
Quilt.jpg  image  

  • In a Gilt Taste newsletter, Ruth Reichl raved about Marcella Hazan’s Buttered Onion Tomato Sauce, describing it as “the most famous, most written about pasta sauce recipe.” I knew a bit about Marcella Hazan—she was a friend of the LA City Restaurant/Border Grill Feniger/Milliken duo—and lunched at City when she was in town. Service would come to a halt as we “whipped up something special for Marcella.” So I feel I know her, but had never heard of her world-famous tomato sauce. Once again, I’m the last to know. 

Anyways, here it is—it’s a beauty. 

Buttered Onion Tomato Sauce, serves 4 as a main course, 6 as a starter

  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, peeled, cut in half along the equator
  • 1 28-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes with juice or 3 ½ cups peeled, chopped Romas
  • 1 pound dried pasta
  • Salt, to taste

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium low heat and add the onion halves, cut-side down. Let onion simmer in butter for 5 minutes.

Crush canned tomatoes by hand in a mixing bowl. Scatter the crushed tomatoes around the onion, and pour in the tomato juice.

Turn the heat up, bringing the liquid up to simmer, then turn it down so that it cooks slowly, uncovered, with gentle bubbles. Season lightly with salt and simmer 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

As the sauce cooks, the butter will emulsify in, turning the red into more of a deep pink. After 45 minutes, the sauce should have reduced by about half, the butter will be visible on top. The flavor will round out and deepen; and it should be sweet, tart, and buttery.

Remove onion and reserve for another time.

Cook 1 pound pasta in salted water until done to your preference, drain , but don’t rinse. Toss the cooked pasta in the sauce and serve with shredded basil, parmesan, black pepper, etc.

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1 Response to In the know? Buttered onion tomato sauce

  1. Ginny says:

    I still need to wake up and make money! They are so young, their “good old days” are our “late middle age days”

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