In our house, we call Marcella Hazan's Tomato Sauce with Onion & Butter, "the sauce." With a fifteen month old who currently eats just about everything, introducing bright spring and summer food to him is one of my greatest joys. Buttery eggplant, briny pantry staples, and fresh oregano add depth and flavor while "the sauce" itself still shines. —April Lilly
medium eggplant, large dice
garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, squished with your hands, with their juices
unsalted butter (or one stick)
medium onion, peeled and cut in half
Castelvetrano olives, rough chop
fresh oregano (plus more for serving)
Melt the butter in a large saucepan, and add the eggplant. Cook on medium low for 12 minutes, until soft and starting to fall apart. Add garlic and red pepper (if you want), and cook for another 3 minutes.
Add the canned tomatoes to saucepan (quickly squishing the tomatoes with your fingers before they get too warm). Then, add the onion and anchovies and cook uncovered at a very low simmer for 20 minutes, stirring periodically.
Add capers, olives, and oregano, and cook for another 25 minutes, continuing to stir periodically.
Taste and add salt as needed. Remove onion. Chop half and add to the sauce. Serve with extra oregano and freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese (if desired).