Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for NYCWFF.
Just as Julia Child changed the way Americans felt about French cooking, Marcella Hazan changed the way they felt about Italian cooking. And though she's not a household name the way Child is, you've probably seen a copy of Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking in a kitchen or two.
One of her most famous recipes is also the simplest. Her pasta sauce only requires three ingredients and less than an hour, as Delish alerts us.
First, the ingredients. You'll need a 28-ounce can of whole, peeled tomatoes; one peeled, halved onion; and 5 tablespoons of butter. (Yes, 5 whole tablespoons of butter.) You'll also want a pinch or two of salt.
Put everything together in a single pot and set it to simmer over medium heat on the stove for 45 minutes, uncovered. Give it the occasional stir.
And that's it. After the 45 minutes is up, toss out the onion halves, and pour the sauce over your favorite pasta. Easy.
Even now, the sauce's simplicity makes it a little radical. The raw onion and unmelted butter look flat-out weird just sitting there in a pot of tomatoes. But banish the skepticism, please.
Hazan died in 2013. Her husband and translator (she wrote in Italian), Victor Hazan, explained how the sauce came to be in an interview with Epicurious in 2016:
Marcella was a genius when it came to taste. She had an immediate understanding about how flavor affects a dish. She asked herself, 'Why chop an onion? Why saute? I'm going to put the onion, tomato, and butter together and forget about it.'
This recipe is just proof that great cooking doesn't always have to be complicated. If Hazan's style piques your interest, check out some of her other cooking tips gathered by Epicurious here, and buy her acclaimed cookbooks on Amazon.