Marcella Hazan’s Tomato Sauce

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Having studied with Marcella Hazan on several occasions when she was teaching  in Bologna, I am very fortunate to be able to call her, my mentor in Italian food culture. Since many tour participants ask about my favorite simple tomato sauce – here it is…and don’t leave out the butter! It’s very basic with a pure sweet tomato taste. If you prefer a more velvet and less chunky sauce, purée the tomatoes in a food mill into the pot.


Serves 6, enough to sauce 1 to 1 1/12 pounds pasta

  • 1 - 28 ounce can of San Marzano DOP whole peeled tomatoes with their juice
  • 1/4 pound butter
  • 1 onion, peeled and cut in half
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon whole peeled Salt
  • pinch of granulated sugar


Combine the tomatoes, their juices, the butter and onion halves in a saucepan. Add a pinch of salt and sugar.

Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, for about 45 minutes. Stir occasionally, mashing any large pieces of tomato with a spoon.  Taste and correct for salt. Discard the onion.