Marcella Hazan’s Tomato Sauce

Marcella Hazan’s Tomato Sauce


This sauce has been on my mind since a long time to share on the website, but almost all cooking and eating gets done at night, a time not so good for photographs. This time I planned an evening dinner, forcing everyone to eat as early as possible in order to get this right! So here is the most basic, simplest tomato sauce you will ever make from the legendary Marcella Hazan – I’ve shared an extra step on how to make it with fresh tomatoes, because no house in India I know keeps tomato paste or canned tomatoes!

This is a sauce that envelopes each spaghetti in the perfect proportion and the hints of butter through it does wonders to the flavour. Trust me when I say, you will not miss the garlic, extra herbs and all that jazz.

The Recipe
Serves 4


  • 2 cups of tomatoes – blanched, de-skinned and roughly chopped (approx. 8 big tomato)
  • 1 big onion, peeled and halved
  • 70g butter
  • 1 tsp salt


  • Make a cross incision at the bottom of each tomato
  • Place into boiling water for 3 minutes
  • Drain and let cool
  • Gently peel off the skin and roughly chop and put into a deep bottom pan, including all the juices of the tomato
  • Add the halved onions, face down
  • Add butter
  • Place on low heat and cook for 40 minutes, occasionally stirring, and crushing the tomatoes down with a wooden spoon. (do not cover the pot)
  • When the sauce is ready is when the tomatoes are easily mashed up. Remove the onion and stir the sauce
  • Add the pasta and some pasta water
  • Serve hot with parmesan cheese

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The recipes are tried and tested, some are adapted from various places, and a few are passed down; but every one of them comes straight from the heart.