leave your inhibitions at the door
What’s with all those cooking videos that pop-up all the time on Facebook? You know the ones – less than a minute long, sped-up videos of two hands making the food, often an abundance of grated cheese, and a high likelihood of using a fucking slow cooker. What I’d like to know is who the hell has two dozen clear glass bowls to put pre-measured ingredients in? And who the hell actually pre-measures all the ingredients and lines them up like that?!?
That they’re less than a minute long and have recognizable ingredients is meant to convey that they are really simple to make. But how many people actually try to make them?
And do they ever come close to what the pictures and videos look like?
I’m guessing that the ones that people only ever succeed at are like this one –
There is one that I’ve seen pop-up on my feed at least once a week that did get me curious enough to try. This recipe is from the late great Marcella Hazan, the woman credited with teaching Americans how to cook Italian cuisine. I successfully made her recipe for braised beef with onions before and that was really easy to make.
But this one that kept popping up on Facebook was even simpler. It seemed too good to be true – four ingredients, one of which is salt? No garlic, parsley, basil or any of the other “usual” Italian seasonings? One pot?
I had to try it.
Marcella Hazan’s Tomato Sauce
– 1 can (28 ounces) peeled plum tomatoes
– 5 Tablespoons butter
– 1 onion, peeled and cutting in half
– pinch or two of salt
1 – Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan
2 – Bring to simmer over medium heat
3 – Cook uncovered for 45 minutes. Occasionally stir an mash tomatoes with back of a spoon
4 – Remove the onion and add salt if needed
5 – Toss with pasta. There should be enough sauce for a pound of pasta.
That’s it – no chopping, sautéing, no adding ingredients halfway through, no constant watching. The only thing I added was just some parmesan over the dish to finish it.
So how was it?
Good, really good. The simplicity of the recipe highlighted the brightness of the tomatoes, which was complemented by the richness of the butter. It was refreshing to have just a hint of the onion’s sweetness and not an overload of garlic, too. Next time I make it, I may just leave the onions in there as they were delicious by themselves. And I may add a pinch or so of red pepper flakes to give it a little bit of a punch.
What’s interesting to me is that this recipe isn’t more widely known. Four ingredients and zero cooking skills needed? It’s about as easy as making mac and cheese and way tastier. There’s no reason why a complete kitchen novice or the busiest of parent couldn’t whip this up. It’s also dirt cheap. I wonder if Prego and Ragu got together and bought up all the Marcella Hazan books so that people still buy their sauces?
Have you ever made this sauce? Do you have any additions to it?