A companion to Marcella Hazan’s famous Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter, this sauce is heartier and more flavorful than its celebrity friend, though nearly as simple to prepare. You can chop the carrot, celery, and onion roughly or fine, depending on whether you prefer your sauce to be more rustic or more refined.
Marcella says: The carrot and celery in this sauce are put in *a crudo*, which means without the usual separate and preliminary sautéeing procedure, along with the tomatoes. The sweetness of carrot and the fragrance of celery contribute depth to the fresh tomato flavor of the sauce. This is an all-purpose sauce for most cuts of factory-made pasta, particularly spaghettini and penne.
Recipe adapted ever so slightly from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan. —Sarah Whitman-Salkin
fresh, ripe tomatoes, prepared as described below, or 2 cups canned tomatoes, cut up or whole, with their juice
Put the tomatoes in a saucepan, add the carrot, celery, onion, and salt, and cook uncovered at a slow, steady simmer for 30 minutes. Stir from time to time, occasionally mashing the tomatoes with a wooden spoon to break them down.
Add the olive oil and raise the heat slightly to bring the sauce to a somewhat stronger simmer. Stir occasionally, reducing the tomato to as much of a pulp as you can with the back of a spoon. Cook for 15 minutes, then taste and add more salt if you’d like.
To make fresh tomatoes ready for the sauce, there are two methods: the blanching method and the food mill method.
The blanching method: Plunge the tomatoes into boiling water for a minute or less. Drain them and, as soon as they are cool enough to handle, skin them, and cut them up into coarse pieces.
The food mill method: Wash the tomatoes in cold water, cut them lengthwise in half, and put them in a covered saucepan. Turn on the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes. Set a food mill fitted with the disk with the largest holes over a bowl. Transfer the tomatoes with any of their juices to the mill and purée.