Ridiculously-Easy-And-Totally-Worth-It Tomato Sauce

OH MY GOD, YOU GUYS! Marcella Hazan’s brilliant and well-deservedly acclaimed tomato sauce puts any other sauces I’ve ever made to shame. For reals. You can find the original recipe here, and that is what I usually follow when I am having people over for dinner for a large homemade pizza dinner for example.




However, I’ve tweaked it ever so slightly to work more conveniently within the construct of a RUNRUNRUN! make-ahead lunch session. Marcella blanches her tomatoes to peel them – I’ve found that coring them and heating them directly in the pot yields similar results, and the acidity from the skins doesn’t affect a frozen product nearly as much as it might a fresh one. In other words, totally worth the time and effort I save on a hectic cooking day.







The flavors of the sauce are amazingly delicate, and bright, and gorgeous. I add zero herbs or extra seasonings, and it knocks my socks off, way better than anything jarred I’ve ever had. I can make it when I have very little active time to spend cooking (like when I finally have a day off and really really really want to spend that time playing a board game with my kids instead of slaving over a stovetop. Or when I’m making lunches). And it practically makes itself, asking for almost no attention in return. The equivalent to the perfect foodie bootie call.

And I’m just going to interrupt this recipe to bring you a mind-blowing experience I had with a super cool little gadget I’d never ever seen before a few months ago. Check out this super nifty contraption my sweet mom got me …




The first time I saw it, I wasn’t sure what advantage it would truly confer over my own two lunch-packing hands. Turns out, I’m an idiot, because then I was able to use my two lunch-packing hands at once without having to hold the bags upright. Brilliant! The thing even has a suction cup to hold it in place, while you adjust it to support basically any size bag.




Like I said, freaking brilliant. So! Back to your regularly-scheduled recipe. I hope you enjoy!


Ridiculously-Easy-And-Totally-Worth-It Tomato Sauce
It practically makes itself, asking for almost no attention in return. The equivalent to the perfect food-blogger bootie call.
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  1. 5 lbs fresh, ripe tomatoes
  2. 1 ½ sticks of unsalted butter
  3. 2 medium onions, peeled and chopped in half
  4. Salt to taste
  1. Core the tomatoes.
  2. Dump said tomatoes, the butter, and the onions, into a large pot, and simmer over medium-low heat.
  3. After 15 or 20 minutes, the tomatoes will be good and sweated, and the skins will quite literally slip right off of them if you try to pick them off with a fork. No blanching involved.
  4. Stir the sauce every now and then, mashing the tomatoes a little against the side of the pot with your spoon when they start coming apart.
  5. Continue to simmer sauce until the tomatoes have pretty much broken down. For a smaller recipe like Marcella’s original one, it takes about 45 minutes. For this quantity of tomatoes, it takes me a little over an hour.
  6. Scoop out the onion with a fork. Don’t worry if you don’t get it all out, just get the big chunks.
  7. If you’re going to be serving this over a pasta tonight, then leave it just so. For freezing and using in lunch recipes, I like to take an immersion blender to the sauce and give it a quick go (or you can use a normal blender, but then you’ll want your sauce to be cooled beforehand in order to avoid a situation like my Great Blender Explosion of 2003. Trust me on this one. Particularly if you have a dinner party in 15 minutes, and are wearing white.)
  8. Drop me a comment to tell me how much you love me for exposing you to this sauce, which you barely had to touch, and which tastes like angels cried rainbow tears into it.
  1. Once the sauce is cooled, you can use in your recipe (we’ll be using it for our Round 2 ingredients), or you can freeze it in heavy duty quart-sized bags (again, removing all the air at the top of the bag).
  2. I lay the baggies flat on a jelly roll pan until the sauce is frozen, so I end up with skinny rectangles of sauce which I can pack easily into my freezer afterward.
  3. To thaw, leave in the fridge overnight, or plunk the whole frozen contents of the bag into a pot over medium heat and stir until melted and the fat and tomato have come together again.
Adapted from Marcella Hazan
Adapted from Marcella Hazan
Emi Ponce de Souza https://www.emiponcedesouza.com/




Posted on July 31, 2016 in Lunch Recipe

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Responses (4)

  1. Sarah
    August 3, 2016 at 1:48 pm ·

    What portion size do you freeze in those quart bags?

    • Emi Ponce de Souza
      August 3, 2016 at 2:00 pm ·

      Hi Sarah,
      Good question! I load each quart bag with 2 cups sauce. That’s the amount of sauce you’re going to need per recipe for our next project, and it seems to be the right amount for a couple of homemade pizzas or a pasta dish, if you end up using it for that. If you freeze mor ethan two cups at a time in a small bag, remember to leave extra space at the top for the sauce to expand as it freezes. Hope that helps!

  2. Linda
    September 14, 2016 at 12:34 pm ·

    Have you tried making this in the Instant Pot? Do you remove the tomato skin after cooking (before pureeing)?

    • Emi Ponce de Souza
      September 14, 2016 at 1:22 pm ·

      Hi Linda,

      Great question! Despite the absolute I have for my Instant Pot, I haven’t made this sauce in it for a few reasons: the skins, as you point out, are supposed to be “sweated off,” which occurs after the tomatoes have cooked down for awhile (they’re super easy to peel at that point, I take a couple of forks and literally lift the skins right out of the pot). I don’t know at what point in the instant pot process the tomatoes would be ready for that, sweaty and loose with their skins, but not yet disintegrated. I’m sure you could find a way to make it work, but the recipe is so low-maintenance that I haven’t felt the need – the hour or so of cooking is easily absorbed into my other activities because it doesn’t require my active attention. And though you could manually pressure cook, then release and peel, then simmer with sauté function with the butter for awhile, and probably achieve the same results, between pressurizing and releasing I’m not sure you would be saving yourself much time/clean-up. Let me know, though, if you play with it and find the peered settings, will definitely add in!

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