How to make the SIMPLEST ITALIAN PASTA SAUCE at home
How to make the SIMPLEST ITALIAN PASTA SAUCE at home
Everyone should be able to make a basic tomato sauce for pasta. Luckily for us, the world's Italian grandma, the late Marcella Hazan has graced us with the simplest yet most delicious of all tomato sauce recipes her easy 3 ingredient red sauce: Tomatoes, butter and onion (okay, salt too).


  • 1 28 oz can quality whole peeled tomatoes
  • 5 tbsp of butter
  • 1 onion
  • Coarse Kosher Salt

To serve with pasta:

  • Fresh basil, chiffonade
  • Small handful of Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1/2 lb Bucatini
  • 1/4 cup reserved pasta water

Make Ahead Method:

  1. Crush the whole peeled tomatoes with a food mill or blender (optional)
  2. Add the tomatoes, butter, and onion to a large skillet over medium-low heat.
  3. Stirring occasionally, let the sauce simmer until it is reduced and thickened, about 30 minutes.
  4. The sauce can be stored in the fridge for about a week.

To serve with pasta:

  1. Bring 3 quarts / liter of water to a boil in a large pot. Add 30 grams of salt or 1.5 TBSP if using Morton's coarse kosher salt (3 large pinches for me). Once the water has boiled, add the pasta and set a timer for 1-2 minutes less than the package says. Make sure to stir the pasta a few times in the first several minutes to avoid sticking. When the pasta is done, scoop off 1 cup of the pasta water and drain the pasta.
  2. Add the red sauce to a pan over medium low heat with chiffonade basil and a small handful of parmigiano reggiano. Let cook, while stirring, for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the bucatini, and reserved pasta water. Vigorously stir until the sauce completely coats the pasta. 
  4. Plate and serve with more fresh basil and parmigiano reggiano.
Author, educator, musician, dancer and all around creative type. Founder of "The Happy Now" website and the online jewelry store "Silver and Sage".

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