This is the first homemade marinara sauce recipe I ever made from scratch, and it is the only one that I will ever make. I may occasionally literally lick the plate clean to consume all of this pasta sauce. This behavior was probably more acceptable when I lived alone.
This is an incredibly easy weeknight dinner, and the leftovers are delicious for lunch the next few days as well. Just make sure you don’t put your sauce on the stove, pour yourself a glass of wine, and take a long bath because then your pasta sauce will burn from neglect (true story).
Serves 4 as a main course
Makes enough sauce to lightly coat most of a pound of spaghetti
28 ounces (800 grams) whole peeled tomatoes from a can (San Marzano, if you can find them)
5 tablespoons (70 grams) unsalted butter [I often use less and it tastes just fine]
1 medium-sized yellow onion, peeled and halved
Salt to taste
Put the tomatoes, onion and butter in a heavy saucepan (it fit just right in a 3-quart) over medium heat.
Bring the sauce to a simmer then lower the heat to keep the sauce at a slow, steady simmer for about 45 minutes, or until droplets of fat float free of the tomatoes. Stir occasionally, crushing the tomatoes against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat, discard the onion, add salt to taste (you might find, as I did, that your tomatoes came salted and that you didn’t need to add more) and keep warm while you prepare your pasta.
Serve with spaghetti, with or without grated parmesan cheese to pass.