Thanksgiving Therapy: Marcella Hazan’s Tomato Sauce


This Thanksgiving, we pushed the limits of this glorious holiday. We opted for a Thanksgiving that made the Woodard boys feel at home, and made the equivalent amount of rolls, cranberry salad, yams, green bean casserole, and peppermint ice cream that Jake’s mom usually makes for an army of 10. We had four. Then we made 7 pies. 7.

Thanksgiving dinner was incredible, and the following meals were even better. Turkey layered with cranberries and gravy piled atop a fresh roll is one of my favorite things to eat, and puts all other leftovers to shame. After day three of Thanksgiving food though, we decided to take a small break and get Mellow Mushroom pizza. A little alarmingly, it tasted healthy compared to our previous meals.

Sunday rolled around and Jake, Alice, and I rolled ourselves into the car for the 8 hour car trip home. We packed lightly in the food department, munching on apples, turkey sandwiches, and Goldfish crackers (pronounced so adorably by Alice as fee-yeah-ff!) as we drove.


As we neared Chicago, I thought about was how ridiculous it was that I was suddenly hungry. I ate so much these past few days, I thought my stomach would be in favor of lighter fare for a day. With the realization that I would really need to eat some kind of dinner when we got home, I was struck with a craving that decided our meal: Marcella Hazan’s Tomato sauce with Onion and Butter.

It isn’t exactly a help-you-lose-the-five-pounds-you-may-have-gained health food. However, it’s the most marvelous sauce you could ever wish for. If you, like us, are feeling slightly queasy from all the traditional comfort food you inhaled over the past few days, this tomato sauce comes to the rescue in a bright and delicious way.

This recipe has been celebrated and reposted so many times I feel repetitive gushing about it. The sauce produces such passionate feelings though that I just have to add my voice to the hundreds of others praising it.   It’s perfect. It’s easy. It requires no chopping and takes 45 minutes of hands-off simmering. I admit I eat with straight from the pot while the pasta is cooking because I can’t help myself. It tastes pure and clean and you will never again need another tomato sauce recipe.


Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter
The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking.
Use it on pasta. Use it on stuffed peppers. Use it in lasagna, pizza, and anything you can think of because it is so amazing.

2 cups whole peeled plum tomatoes with their juice
5 tbsp butter
1 medium onion, peeled and cut in half

To serve, 1 pound pasta

Put the tomatoes in a saucepan, add the butter onion, a pinch of salt, and cook uncovered at a very slow, but steady simmer for 45 minutes. Stir from time to time, mashing the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon if you like it less chunky. Taste and correct for salt. Discard the onion before tossing the sauce with pasta.

To serve, cook pasta according to package directions, pile in a bowl, and slather this sauce on top.


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