NOTE: This sauce recipe is an adaption from Marcella Hazan's Tomato Sauce With Onion & Butter. Working with the original recipe, I was excited to see that I had a lot of room to add my own flares. I added the roasted garlic to give the sauce deeper undertones and the bird's eye chili to balance the slight heaviness and one-noted creaminess that comes with so much butter. The ground cumin is an ingredient I use in much of my cooking and I always love adding some sort of green to my tomato sauce (this being said, feel free to substitute the arugula with spinach, kale, etc. I used the arugula because it has a strong peppery bite that I love so much). If using fresh tomatoes does not give you enough of the authentic tomato taste, feel free to add a little tomato paste to help (this should also help thicken up the sauce a bit). Enjoy! —Jordan Benzaken
Fresh, ripe tomatoes, prepared as described below
Small onions, peeled and cut in half
Medium bird's eye chilis, chopped
Handfuls of arugula
Salt and pepper to taste
In This Recipe
1. Wrap the garlic cloves in aluminum foil and put them in the oven to roast at 345ºF. Take them out once they are soft and slightly golden (about 15-25 minutes).
2. Blanch the fresh, ripe tomatoes in salted boiling water for 30 seconds to 1 minute (as Samin Nosrat says, the water should be salty like the sea!). Drain them, and as soon as they are cool enough to handle, skin them. Cut the tomatoes into coarse pieces.
3. Put the prepared fresh tomatoes in a saucepan, add the butter, onion, peeled garlic cloves, chilis, cumin, black pepper, and salt. Cook uncovered at a steady simmer for 35-45 minutes, or until it is thickened to your liking.
4. Stir from time to time and use the back of a wooden spoon to mash up the large pieces of tomatoes.
5. Taste and correct for salt. Once the onions are soft and the sauce consistency is to your liking, add the arugula. Cook and stir until well combined.
6. Before using the sauce, you may remove the onion, but many opt to leave it in.