I recently came across this recipe again in Marcella Hazan's book, "Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking." For years, I have been a big fan of Marcella's. I received this wonderful book as a gift when it first hit the shelves almost 20 years ago. In those days, newly married and to a Roman, I was just discovering the joys of the Italian kitchen.
Over the years, it's been a great reference book for all things in the Italian kitchen, from herbs to making pasta. I must admit, that I had never made this pasta sauce before. Was it the idea of butter and onion merging in the sauce? Perhaps it was because my mother always used carrot, celery and onion as a basis for her tomato sauces.
It was not until Marcella's recent, untimely death, that made me re think this method. I came across a video of Marcella, in what would be one of her final video's of her cooking in her kitchen with Mark Bittman (NY Times), and her husband Victor, making this very sauce.
I began to rethink my logic as I pondered upon every step she took in her kitchen, although very frail. All her enthusiasm and still talking about simple, fresh, ingredients. It gave her life and so much joy. Today, it gave us all joy.
Rest in Peace Marcella Hazan.
One pound of pasta (I used penne)
5 tablespoons of butter (just cut from the stick of butter)
One whole onion (I used Italian sweet red onion. Marcella suggests yellow)
Salt (2 teaspoons for your sauce, one plus 1/2 tablespoon for your pasta water.
2 cups of canned diced tomato's.
1/2 cup red wine (my addition, as it cuts the acidity of the tomato's)
Method: Into a pan large enough to accommodate your sauce, pour in your tomato's.
Add your butter and your split onion ( Onion will be discarded later)
When your sauce comes to a boil, add your wine.
Let it all reduce. After about 45 minutes you will see the fat begin to separate from the pan and your sauce thicken.
Cook your pasta and toss with your sauce and plenty of Parmigiano cheese.
It will be creamy and your sauce will stick to your pasta. I must admit, I will be making it again and again.