The Canny Cook, lower your food bills and still eat well with food editor Eleanor Maidment: Buttery tomato sauce
There is a cookbook called Genius Recipes that was published almost ten years ago by an American food website called food52.com (still a great site for recipe inspiration).
I remember buying it and devouring each page, enthralled by the idea that there are certain recipes so clever and unique that they can change the way you cook.
One that has stuck with me is from Marcella Hazan, an Italian-American food writer who published her first cookbook in the 1970s and is credited with teaching many American and British home cooks about Italian cuisine.
This particular recipe – tomato sauce with onion and butter – is brilliant. The preparation and cooking are effortless and the finished sauce is humble but joyous.
I’ve adapted it here. I use canned chopped tomatoes whereas Hazan would suggest San Marzano or the best you can find, and I add a couple of garlic cloves as well as the onion and butter.
For ease I also put it all into a small dish to bake in the oven (Hazan cooks it on the hob for an hour), but either way the result is the best tomato sauce you will make – it’s jammy, buttery with a rich concentrated flavour.
When I am struck down by colds or flu and can’t face cooking, this is the sauce I make.
Tossed with spaghetti and showered with parmesan for a filling, heart-warming supper.
BUTTERY TOMATO SAUCE
Here’s a modest but utterly delicious sauce that you cook in one dish. You might want to double the quantities and make more – it freezes well
91p* per person
This particular recipe – tomato sauce with onion and butter – is brilliant. The preparation and cooking are effortless and the finished sauce is humble but joyous
Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Put the tomatoes in a medium baking dish (I use a 20cm round dish, about 1.5 litres in volume). If using whole tomatoes, roughly chop them up.
Stir in ½ tsp salt.
Halve the onion (no need to peel it) and place cut-side down in the tomatoes. Add the unpeeled garlic cloves and the butter, cut into 4 x 10g pieces.
Roast for 40-45 minutes, stirring halfway through.
If there are any charred bits around the edges, stir them back into the sauce.
When the sauce is ready, remove and discard the onion halves. Press the garlic cloves with a fork. Discard the skin and mash the flesh into the sauce. Also mash any larger chunks of tomato with the fork. Stir together and serve with freshly cooked pasta.
Do you have a great recipe for eating well and cutting food bills? Email [email protected]. If we print it here, we’ll send you a bottle of champagne
*THIS COST ASSUMES YOU ALREADY HAVE SOME BASIC STORE-CUPBOARD INGREDIENTS. PRICES TAKEN FROM SAINSBURY’S AND CORRECT AT TIME OF GOING TO PRESS
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