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Hazan's tomato sauce with onion and butter

I love this sauce and was wondering if anyone has doubled or tripled it before. Not sure if I should double or triple the onion in it (or the butter for that matter!)

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  1. Never doubled or tripled it but we love it. I use a full stick of better than 6 Tbs,

    1. I've never doubled or tripled it, but I have tried with much less butter, and it really detracts from the rich lushness of this sauce. Would stick to, or stay near the recommended tomato-butter ratio.

      1. Made this the other night, on Candy's rec, to go in a grilled eggplant Parm -- it was delicious! I used a large shallot, having no onion on hand. I liked the subtle flavor of the shallot (you could really taste the buttery richness of the sauce), and if doubling would use 2 large shallots. Double the butter, too.

        2 Replies
        1. re: pikawicca

          Salted or Unsalted butter please???

        2. I have doubled it. I just doubled everything, maybe tripled the onion. Works just as well. (salted butter)

          1. Can you post recipe or a link to it?

            19 Replies
            1. re: bakerboyz

              Here's my version of it (which is pretty accurate) - Put one can of San Marzano tomatoes in a pan, add 6 Ts of butter, and one yellow onion, cut in half (peeled). I smush up the tomatoes with a potato masher (I think that is what the tool is - inherited from my husband's bachelor kitchen and this is the only thing I use it for). Bring to a boil, and then simmer on very low heat for about 40 minutes. Absolutely delicious.

              You could chop up the tomatoes first, but I always end up with a mess when I do that on the cutting board (lots of juice), so I prefer my method. I also think, for reasons unknown, that the whole ones taste better than the ones already chopped in the can.

                1. re: bakerboyz

                  Just so as not to lead you too far astray - I pulled out the book:

                  2 cups canned imported Italian tomatoes, cut up ,with their juices
                  5T butter (he he - I always thought it was 6)
                  1 Med. onion - peeled and cut in half

                  I forgot to mention the salt, and she says nothing about how much to put in - I 'd guess a teaspoon, maybe. This is for 1 to 1.5 pounds of pasta, she recommends gnocchi, and spaghetti, penne or rigatoni. Cook for 45 minutes. Serve with parmesan. You throw out the onion, by the way, but sometimes I can't help but nibble on pieces of it.

                  1. re: MMRuth

                    Not to sound dumb -- do you leave theonion whole or dice it?

                    1. re: Difromphilly

                      She tells you to just cut it in half (or in quarters, I can't remember), and put it in, and then remove it when you serve.

                      1. re: JasmineG

                        Yes - in half. She has another recipe for a tomato sauce with sliced onions.

                    2. re: MMRuth

                      i always use a whole stick of butter when manking it. hate little dabs of leftovers

                      1. re: Candy

                        I've also made it with a combination of olive oil and butter, but the result is not nearly as nice as all butter.

                      2. re: MMRuth

                        Although the original recipe I saw some time ago called for putting in the onion and then removing it when the sauce is done, I actually like to saute it for a bit first and leave it in. I've doubled before but have doubled everything, not scimping on the butter certainly!

                    3. re: MMRuth

                      I assume this can of tomatoes is the one about 28 oz in size?

                      1. re: Janet from Richmond

                        Yes. And even though the recipe calls for two cups, I always just use the whole can, after having thrown away too many "can leftovers". I suppose you could throw in a little more butter to compensate!

                      2. re: MMRuth

                        I usually mush them up in the pan, and then use my immersion blender at the end (after removing the onion) to make it a little smoother. Amazing.

                        1. re: JasmineG

                          Great idea - hadn't thought of that.

                        2. re: MMRuth

                          You mean you just put in 2 halves of an onion? No smaller pieces? No pre-sauteeing? Tres, tres radical! But since it's Marcella, you gotta trust her.

                          1. re: oakjoan

                            Correct - and do trust her - it is magnifique - for lack of another word out of my limited Italian vocabulary.

                            1. re: oakjoan

                              You just use it for flavor and pull it out when it's done. It is a beautiful beautiful thing. MOLTO MAGNIFICO!

                              1. re: oakjoan

                                It's really the easiest sauce imaginable, and it's so so so good. It takes about three minutes to start, and then it just simmers for an hour or so.

                              2. re: MMRuth

                                For that cutting of canns toms thrick-open the toms and just take a good sharp knife and insert into the can with the toms inside and slash away-no muss, no fuss.

                                1. re: LJS

                                  I do actually do that sometimes!

                            2. i have double it too and i use a stick of butter...usually salted. very very tasty and easy.

                              1. If you have not made this with fresh summer tomatoes, you are really missing something. I have never made her sauce (there are actually three different versions she gives in her book, each with slight variations in cooking time and ingredients) from canned tomatoes. I wait until I get a good batch of right-from-the-garden tomatoes and make at least two or three pots of sauce. Even my kids eagerly anticipate the arrival of the tomatoes, they love the sauce so much (all three variations). I strongly encourage you to give it a go this summer. You will need a food mill, but the effort is so well worth it!!!

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: k_d

                                  Good point - and it is something I've never done. Have been so disappointed w/ tomatoes in the NYC area in the last couple of years, and the price that I've paid for the wonderful ones is stratospheric.

                                  1. re: k_d

                                    That's a great idea -- do you just put the tomatoes through the mill before cooking? If all of my tomato plants are successful, I'll definitely get to do this! And I'll have to buy a food mill, but I've been wanting one for a while, so.

                                    1. re: JasmineG

                                      You need to follow Marcella's direction. Basically, you halve the whole, unpeeled fresh tomatoes. You steam cook them with only their own juices for something like 10 min. Then you run them through the mill to remove seeds and skins. The texture is really beautiful.

                                  2. Which Hazen cookbook is this from? Been meaning to get one of hers and this sounds like a good place to start. Can't wait to try this!

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: mohotta

                                      Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking - mine is in several pieces after 15 years of cooking!

                                      1. re: MMRuth

                                        LOL, MMR! I just took mine out to make pesto, and the pages where the tomato sauces are are all wrinkly from being splashed with fresh tomato juices.

                                      2. re: mohotta

                                        I have three of her books and use many of her recipes. I love her cookbooks; never tried this particular sauce, but I can imagine from the flavours they are quite mild. I too would use this for a layered grilled eggplant or zucchini parm. I will add fresh basil leaves in the layers.
                                        I was planning to make eggplant and zucchini rolls stuffed with cheeses and was going to use this to top it off, but will stick to a chunky, more zesty sauce to balance out the mildness of the veg rolls.

                                        1. re: mohotta

                                          I love this sauce. The one we make is from her son's book (Guiliano, I think). We serve it on stuffed pasta with flat leaf parsley and parmasan sprinkled on top. The other one from that book is Arrabiata. We used to eat one or the other at least once a week (then we got fat...).

                                        2. Sorry to be a detractor but I made this recipe this week and hated it. Based on the reviews I expected something much better.

                                          14 Replies
                                          1. re: paulgardner

                                            Nothing wrong with being a detractor - what did you hate about it? I do agree we really raved about it (smile)!

                                            1. re: MMRuth

                                              Other than a touch too much salt, I just thought it really lacked flavor and substance, basically just tomatoes mashed up with butter.

                                              1. re: paulgardner

                                                I'm so glad I'm not the only one! I followed the recipe to a T....butter and tomatoes...and thought it tasted just like...butter and tomatoes! I didn't use San Marzanos though so thought that might be why. But I think a can of Del Monte Stewed tomatoes is tastier! I had made a double batch because it sounded so good...but I doctored it up the next day with some ground veal, garlic and spices.

                                                1. re: crosby_p

                                                  Me too! Underwhelmed.
                                                  But the Bean and Vegetable Soup, also from "Essentials..." is way better than seems possible for soup to be..

                                                  1. re: crosby_p

                                                    I do usually add fresh basil and parmesan cheese when I serve this sauce. Think the quality of the tomatoes will make a difference, but if you are using ones that that you are happy with generally, not using San Marzanos shouldn't be a problem.

                                                    1. re: MMRuth

                                                      I made this last weekend also and I'm glad you're discussing the flavor here. I found also that at no stage did the flavor become more enhanced. I have a recipe of my own (for salsa) that changes with the addition of only 2 other ingredients so I was not skeptical that it would not be delicious. However, as someone else noted, it was bland and tomato sauce flavored like butter. My husband came by tasted it not knowing it was something new, and wondered when I was going to add the seasonings...So It is not to our liking, however after adding the spices, it turned out very nice, and the butter did contribute to it.

                                                      1. re: chef chicklet

                                                        I have to add my two cents to this, and agree with these other people, that I tried it, and did not like it. Way too bland for me, I like sauces spicier, even with a "kick" sometimes of pepper flakes, etc. In fact, after we tried this, we actually (gasp) threw the recipe away --

                                                    2. re: crosby_p

                                                      Adding my voice to the dissent. Paul had it right: "Tomatoes mashed up with butter". I actually thought it tasted like tinned tomato sauce! I tried the old put-it-in-the-fridge-to-marinate-and-reheat-it-tomorrow trick and that didn't enhance the flavour, either. And I served it with such lovely, home-made chicken tortellini...

                                                      I'm sticking to the real Italian-style tomato sauce - celery, onion, garlic, dried and fresh herbs, tinned tomatoes.

                                                      1. re: Gooseberry

                                                        Fourtunately, it wasn't that expensive to make so I won't feel too bad about chucking it all.

                                                        1. re: Gooseberry

                                                          I'm not trying to be contrarian to the dissenting point of view, which I respect, but I wonder if the "tinned" flavor came from the canned tomatoes, which maybe gets masked from the addition of other ingredients. I'm not saying this is the be all and end all of pasta sauces - and am trying to tread lightly here - but when it's good, as others have said, I can eat it by the spoonful.

                                                          1. re: MMRuth

                                                            Mine did not have a "tinny" flavor just a lack of flavor and this after buying some nice parmiggano-reggiano and shaving numerous spoonfuls on top to add flavor to no avail.

                                                            1. re: paulgardner

                                                              Understood - the beauty of chowhound is that we share, and we can agree or disagree. At least now you know that this is a recipe that you can pass on in the future.

                                                              1. re: paulgardner

                                                                It can also be that your canned tomatoes were simply bland. Tomato quality varies, even within brands and seasons. Just like tomatoes from the garden: I can pick wonderful tomatoes one week and the next week they are blander.

                                                                That said, this tomato sauce is intended to be subtle, and not overshadow the pasta. The pasta is intended to be the star, the sauce is intended to be the chorus.

                                                    3. re: paulgardner

                                                      I didn't get all the hoopla at first either. I found it to be bland; however, it's quick, and DH loves it so after making a few times it grew on me. It's not meant to be one of those robust or garden fresh sauces, it is just meant to be comfort food. Most canned tomatoes work great but I think the trick is sticking close Marcella's instructions of cooking time, amount of heat and the fat liberating itself from the tomato. I think once I started to stick to her instructions the sauce became richer and less like tomatoes and butter. BTW the leftover onions are great on sandwiches.

                                                    4. All of those who didn't like it -- I'm wondering if you cooked it long enough? I found that you need to cook it at a slightly higher temperature than Marcella says, and for about 20 or so minutes longer. When I tasted it at her temp and time amount, I thought it kind of boring too, and those extra few minutes and higher temp made a huge change (and made me want to lick the pot that it cooked in). Also, I like to puree this sauce after it finishes cooking, it makes the texture better for me.

                                                      7 Replies
                                                      1. re: JasmineG

                                                        I just think I like my sauces a little sharper and spicier, with more "stuff" (herbs, etc.) in it - more of a "tang".

                                                        1. re: JasmineG

                                                          I'll have to try that - and the other thing I wonder about is the salt - she doesn't say how much to add, and I can see the quantity used making a big difference in the recipe.

                                                          1. re: MMRuth

                                                            I really think that you're right about the salt -- I'm pretty liberal with salt, and I think that you need to be in this recipe. If you skimp on the salt, that would really make it pretty flavorless.

                                                          2. re: JasmineG

                                                            Yep I did. I thought something was suppose to happen to the sauce, so I did, I let it simmer for a lot longer than 45 minutes. I just imagine it's about preferred tastes is all. To us (my house) it tasted unfinished because we are used to an Italian marinara sauce that has basil, oregano, sugar, wine, minced onion, lots of garlic, salt & pepper a grated carrot, and red chili flakes. And then simmered on the stove for a few hours if not all morning. Then we add meat to it at times, like chicken wings for flavor, or meats. I don't know what I was expecting but, I think would be unfair that I try to compare the two, they are two different sauces.

                                                            1. re: chef chicklet

                                                              I think you've hit the nail on the head. My grandfather's "spaghetti sauce" was laden with herbs (dried) etc., and it was always heralded in our family as the sine qua non of spaghetti sauces, albeit at a time in my life when I had *no* idea that other pasta sauces existed. And his recipe is still delicious.

                                                              1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                I'm glad chef chicklet mentioned grated carrots. I've now been completely won over by Mario Bat's basic tomato sauce (in Molto Italiano) - just olive oil, diced onions, sliced garlic, fresh time, grated carrots and 2 large cans whole tomatoes. For some reason I loved this sauce so much (the subtle difference was pronounced - if that's possible) that I make it every time. It's spectac with sauteed Italian sausages. I think it's the grated carrots that make the difference, adding sugar as well as their other, carroty, taste.

                                                                1. re: oakjoan

                                                                  My yes Exactly! I do agree, the Italian sausages really can knock it out of the park. I haven't seen Martio Bat's recipe, the carrot and chicken wings were from the Frugal Gourmet. I his vary his recipe a bit so I can now claim it as my own. Chicken wings ( I freeze the tips also to use) do something to the flavor of the sauce (take them out before serving) and enrich it beautifully, the carrot also is hard to explain, I just know that it will not be the same if I don't have it in there. A tad bit of sugar, (I learned from my New York Mother) and the wine.... because I can. Whole canned tomatoes cored and squished, and a little tomato paste. Sounds very similar!

                                                            2. Maybe the differences of opinion are based on what the sauce is served with. It may be bland on plain pasta and perfect on gnocchi, tortellini, or ravioli.

                                                              17 Replies
                                                              1. re: yayadave

                                                                I think the issue is that it *is* a subtle sauce. And many American palates are used to big flavors - very fruity, very salty, very peppery, very spicy, or whatever.

                                                                1. re: Karl S

                                                                  In her defense, she does call it a "Tomato Sauce" not marinara. I noticed that she has a non-fat version also.

                                                                  1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                    A NONFAT version? So, boil an onion in a can of tomatoes and throw in some salt? I'll use my paycheck as toilet paper before I buy a cookbook with stuff like that passing for a recipe! My fault, I should have looked for the (IMO) on point criticisms of this disappointing recipe before buying the Emperor's New Clothes raves. I followed the original recipe with the 5T butter - what I got wouldn't even pass muster as tomato soup, much less sauce. I removed the onion, ground it up, and returned it to the pot. Thinking I'd do a faux chicken parmesan, I added garlic, basil, and a bnls/sknls chicken breast cut into cubes. Then I thought better of that, adding garam masala, curry powder, hing, chicken base, and cream cheese, for an ersatz chicken tikka masala. As a further afterthought, I added frozen mixed vegetables. 45 minutes later, I had something that actually tasted good. Should have stuck with my initial thought that Hazan's recipe would be a nonstarter for me, but she is so universally deified that I didn't trust my instincts.

                                                                    1. re: greygarious

                                                                      Look at the date of your post.

                                                                      There's your problem.

                                                                      I did this in August with some killer tomatoes and a great butter. Then I did it three more times until the good tomatoes ran out because it was fantastic. And it's not because Marcella wrote some brilliant recipe. It's simply because she knows that if you have fantastic ingredients, you leave them the f**k alone.

                                                                      If you start with incredible tomatoes, this is one of the best possible ways to treat them. If you start with crap, it's going to taste like crap. End of story.

                                                                      1. re: greygarious

                                                                        And P.S., since I'm (inexplicably) still thinking about this half an hour later.

                                                                        If you're going to chide an Italian cookbook writer for recipes that are too simple, all you're doing is demonstrating how little you know about Italian cuisine. The soul of the country's food is in simple preparations of pristine ingredients. Pick an Italian city, eat at 100 restaurants and see how many of them make tomato-based pasta sauces with more than five ingredients. Then come back and try this discussion again.

                                                                        1. re: Dmnkly

                                                                          The recipe (as linked to on CH) called for a can of quality plum tomatoes, and that is what I used. Surely, making a nonfat version of a recipe in which fat is the main flavoring agent is a fool's errand. I also acknowledged in my post that my initial reaction to the recipe was that it would not be that appealing to me - and clearly I am not the only one for whom this recipe is not a keeper. And yes, I have eaten at Italian restaurants in Italy, with fond memories of all.

                                                                          1. re: greygarious

                                                                            I have no idea where this notion of a non-fat version of the recipe comes from; it's not in any book I've seen. It's like having a recipe for a hamburger consisting of a bun, condiments, cheese and lettuce and tomato, but no beef.

                                                                            The recipe is sublime when made with fresh San Marzano plum tomatoes, which have very little juice; other types of fresh tomatoes are not meaty enough and tend to result in blandness. As for non-fresh tomatoes, I would skipped canned tomatoes and go right for the POMI strained tomatoes (a product that did not exist, I suspect, when Marcella was adapting her recipe to Americans who want recipes using more canned than fresh tomatoes).

                                                                            1. re: Karl S

                                                                              I was responding to Chef Chicklet's mention, upthread, that Hazan has a nonfat version of this sauce. Looks like the other people who shared my disappointment with this recipe were also using canned tomatoes and apparently that is what Hazan called for in the recipe. I have only seen the recipe online; it is not presented as an alternative or adapted version. Assuming that those who assert that this dish demands peak-season fresh tomatoes are correct, I would fault Ms. Hazan for creating a recipe that is doomed to an inferior result.

                                                                              1. re: greygarious

                                                                                Hazan calls for fresh, but permits canned. When she wrote this, POMI was not available in the US. I suspect she would update the recipe to refer to POMI strained tomatoes, which are undoctored and about the closest thing to fresh you can get without being fresh: they still have more of the bright floral/fruity notes of fresh tomatoes than canned tomatoes do. This recipe is all about those notes, as accented by the juice of the onion and the subtlety of the butter. Again, as I wrote 2 years ago, this is not a recipe for people who expect boldness from tomato sauces.

                                                                                I make this every summer with fresh San Marzanos and freeze it. In the midwinter, even after a few months of freezing, it has an incomparable whiff of summer that other tomato sauces do not. I've served this to myriad friends and acquaintances at potluck pasta dinners in midwinter at friends' homes, and the stuff is greedily loved - people are disappointed when I run out of my supply.

                                                                                1. re: Karl S

                                                                                  Indeed, I make this sauce with Pomi. When i lived in italy, my italian friends made this sauce with passato, which is pureed strained tomatoes like Pomi.

                                                                                  This thread reminded me to make this sauce with some leftover pomi i had in the fridge tonight. It is incomparably delicious! Tossed with some perfectly al dente penne, it really is more than the sum of it's parts.

                                                                                  Those who don't care for it may have grown up with a more italian-american tradition of tomato sauces, which are based on long-cooked and boldly flavored sauces from the south. This certainly isn't that, so if that's what you are looking for, you will be disappointed.

                                                                                2. re: greygarious

                                                                                  Unless I'm missing it, I don't see any links upthread. Where's the online recipe you're talking about?

                                                                                  In her book, the recipe does NOT call for canned tomatoes. It's a fresh tomato recipe for which Hazan says you could use good canned tomatoes. I'm of the opinion that it's a poor substitute that will, nonetheless, produce an edible if unexciting (and completely different) result. Provided, again, that you're using very good canned tomatoes.

                                                                                  What tomatoes did you use?

                                                                                  1. re: Dmnkly

                                                                                    I've pretty much only ever made this recipe with canned DOC San Marzano tomatoes, and it has never once failed me. I could eat the sauce with a spoon.

                                                                                    1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                      I have made this with fresh and canned. I have tried a variety of Italian and American canned tomatoes. Some with better results than others. I often use a brand called LaValle which I manage to find quite cheap near my office.
                                                                                      The times I have made it with fresh tomatoes, it ended up being a very expensive recipe because of the cost of tomatoes can be quite high, especially this past summer where a tomato virus killed so many plants in the area.
                                                                                      My friends love this sauce ( 99% of the time with canned tomatoes) and are always asking for it. I often triple the recipe so there is some in the freezer.

                                                                                      1. re: cassoulady

                                                                                        Whereas it's dirt cheap if you grow your own San Marzanos. I won't grow them next year (need to give at least a year's rest due to the awful blight issues we had in the Northeast this season), so I will simply use POMI as a next-best choice, which is cost effective.

                                                                                        1. re: Karl S

                                                                                          I will try Pomis next time. I was tempted to try to grow tomatoes next year in a potted plant on the deck (no yard).

                                                                                      2. re: MMRuth

                                                                                        MM, I *have* eaten the sauce with a spoon! One winter Sunday, I made myself a very indulgent dinner of a delicious grilled cheese sandwich and a big bowl of tomato soup, which was just this sauce simmered down a little longer, and pureed well. Wonderful.

                                                                                      3. re: Dmnkly

                                                                                        I did not say that there was a link upthreaad - I referred to the upthread mention that Hazan has a nonfat version of her recipe. I found the same recipe on multiple sites - canned plum tomatoes, butter, onion, salt - when I searched "hazan tomato sauce with butter". I used canned San Marzano; the can is gone with the recycling so I don't know the brand.

                                                                      2. For those of you who don't like this sauce: Many of you seem to have only one tomato sauce in your quiver, i.e. marinara w/herbs, etc. I make 4 or 5 different Italian tomato sauces, depending on what I'm serving it with. The Hazan butter/tomato sauce is wonderful with delicate fishes and veggies. If you find the recipe too blah as written, try dropping a stick of butter into your favorite marinara -- you might like it.

                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                        1. re: pikawicca

                                                                          You know what? It's really funny, but I like butter melted into my pasta BEFORE I mix it with any kind of sauce - makes it richer - but I don't like butter IN my sauce!
                                                                          Just personal taste --

                                                                          1. re: pikawicca

                                                                            no mam, I do have a few. Fresh tomato sauce being one of them. And another that includes sesame oil. Was only talking about the one we use most for everyday spaghetti. Like I mentioned. I did try it, but it was just tomato sauce with butter in it. And I had read earlier posts that recommended a stick of butter. I did that too, and I normally would not add butter to a tomato sauce. I was very hopeful. Guess I just didn't do something right if you think it should of been more flavorful..

                                                                            1. re: pikawicca

                                                                              I tend to change my sauce depending on its purpose, too - and what's in my fridge! I like to add a tablespoon of butter to the pasta before adding it to the tomato sauce (when doing a simple, smooth tomato sauce), and that's why I thought I'd like the Marcella version - more butter is good, right??? But I suppose the butter only enhances what is there, and for me, her version just doesn't have enough flavour.

                                                                              I should also clarify - for me, the tinny taste is sharp, almost sour. And this is with imported Italian tinned tomatoes, which are delicious in all other preparations.

                                                                            2. I'm going to jump back in here and reiterate my earlier post. Use fresh tomatoes! Out of a garden (not the grocery store). I've never made this with canned tomatoes; I can't figure out why you would, given that that's what it will taste like. With garden fresh tomatoes, however, you get a whole new flavor - fresh, sunny, and wonderful. This is, of course, assuming you LIKE garden fresh tomatoes, which my family does.

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                              1. re: k_d

                                                                                Exactly - this dish is all about the tomatoes. If you love tomatoes and use high quality tomatoes, this simple dish will be divine. I always used fresh ones and have excellent results every time.

                                                                                1. re: k_d

                                                                                  True, but Marcella recommends good-quality canned San Marzano tomatoes as a worthy substitute. If you live somewhere where fresh tomatoes from the store taste like crap in the winter (we don't buy them, but I know that people do) and/or you've used up your frozen/canned homemade sauce from the summer, I don't see why you can't use good canned ones.

                                                                                  I figure she knows what she's doing, and if it's good enough for her, it's good enough for me!

                                                                                2. It's also worth nothing that this recipe will be affected not only by how much you salt, but WHEN. Salt draws out the water in the tomatoes so that it cooks off faster and intensifies the flavor more. So if you don't salt it much or if you barely salt it when you start cooking, figuring you'll add the rest when you adjust later, the tomatoes will retain more of their water and the flavor won't be as intense.

                                                                                  Just a thought. I've been meaning to try this one for a while and just picked up a couple pounds of Speckled Romas at the farmers market this afternoon. Will report back :-)

                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: Dmnkly

                                                                                    The amount of waters in the tomatoes also varies by season, even in commercial crops.

                                                                                    My San Marzanos this year (hello, the Northeast) have more water than the beauties of last year. So, when I made this sauce 2 days ago, I let the liquid pool in the simmering center and scooped out a half cup of liquid (moving the separated butter to the outer ring surface was pretty easy) to get the right consistency. You need some liquid to get the right acid notes. So you must use your senses to adjust this recipe to the tomatoes you actually have.

                                                                                    1. re: Karl S

                                                                                      My puree after running them through the food mill, too, was exceptionally watery. I just cooked it down a little longer -- perhaps an hour instead of 45.

                                                                                      In any case, this clearly lives or dies on the quality of the tomatoes. And I can't see doing it with canned. I both love and support good canned tomatoes, but not for this sauce.

                                                                                      Put me in the "this is freaking amazing" camp. One of the best tomato sauces I've made.

                                                                                      1. re: Dmnkly

                                                                                        I've roasted fresh tomatoes first, when they seem runny. It gives them an intense flavor. I also roast onions at the same time and puree the whole thing.

                                                                                  2. Wow. Just made this sauce (although not as a sauce, but as a soup) last night. Had read mentions of it on chowhound for awhile- including recs that it could be converted to a soup. Well, got a craving for grilled cheese and tomato soup. I usually just make Campbells with milk, but remembered this and decided to give it a try since it sounded so easy (making the basic recipe then adding milk to it to make the right consistency). Unfortunately, I forgot the canned tomatoes at the grocery! I went back out to the drugstore (closer) thinking I'd just give in and get campbells and then forgo the Hazan recipe for the night. As luck would have it, they didn't have Campbells tomato, but they did have stewed tomatoes, so I attempted the recipe after all. Have to confess I reduced the amount of butter the 4 Tbsp, but other than that, I pretty much followed the recipe as described here. Let it simmer for about 40 min to an hour, then added about one half cup milk and pureed the whole mix with a hand blender. After the mix was pretty smooth, I added it back to the pan and simmered the rest of the milk (about another cup and a half) until the whole thing was warmed through. It was honestly the most delicious tomato soup I've ever had. I could taste the richness of the butter, but it was cut nicely with the acidity of the tomatoes and evened out by the milk (I used 2%), and could even taste the sweetness of the onions as well. Simply amazing.

                                                                                    I'm a believer. Now ready to try the recipe as originally intended- with a can of San Marzanos (which I picked up today to keep as a pantry staple to make this sauce when necessary), as a pasta sauce. I do think it'd be best on a dish that calls for a simple dressing- especially with a complex ravioli. So glad I tried this, finally!

                                                                                    1. I like this recipe with canned San Marzano tomatoes. My opinion is that good canned San Marzano tomatoes have more flavor than most farmer's market tomatoes. I can't think of anything more tomato-y than the cans of San Marzano tomatoes I have in my cupboard. A lot of people are dissing the recipe for being boring. For some people, myself included, expanding your palate involves appreciation for simple flavors.

                                                                                      1. Great discussion. I've still yet to try this recipe! (and I usually grow 100 heirloom tomato plants.)

                                                                                        1. I have make this sauce every time I go to the produce stand and they have a box of overripe tomatoes[6-8# for 3 or 4 dollars]. I would never use canned and that may be why some have found it bland. The fresh tomatoes with butter and essence of onions is the best. I always triple it and like it plain or as a mother sauce for other dishes. I live in fl. and we have fresh tomatoes almost year round.

                                                                                          1. I grow my own Roma and San Marzano tomatoes. This is absolutely the best use of the canned (home made jarred) tomatoes. I am making this tonight for my mom. LOL....I am such a good son.

                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: Owtahear

                                                                                              Having recently learned of this recipe I have become a fan.

                                                                                              The first time I made this I chopped up the tomatoes but have since found that if I'm doing it right the whole tomatoes pretty much breakdown by themselves.

                                                                                              1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                                                I discovered this recipe about a year ago via smitten kitchen and I too am a fan. I leave my tomatoes while too. I recently left the onion in it and puréed the whole thing with my stick blender. To die for!!!

                                                                                                1. re: foodieX2

                                                                                                  I slice the onion up and add it back to the sauce.

                                                                                                  The person who gave me this recipe years ago, not
                                                                                                  mentioning it was Hazan's, adds the butter towards the
                                                                                                  end of the 45 minutes. I'll have to try adding it at the
                                                                                                  start and seeing how much of a difference it makes.

                                                                                                  Love this sauce - why dont I make it more often?
                                                                                                  It's so easy!

                                                                                            2. I doubled it all then froze. Still good.

                                                                                              1. Sounds like it would work well with Cabbage rolls?