Simply Perfect Tomato Sauce with Butter


I have to confess that this one is a total copycat post. This tomato sauce recipe has been banging around the blogging community for YEARS. I have bookmarked it no less than three times, and never gotten around to making it, despite all the wild adoration of many bloggers I love. How could a recipe for tomato sauce with so few ingredients be that good?!  Last week, Smitten Kitchen posted the recipe and raved that this was the be-all-end-all tomato sauce. If Smitten Kitchen vouches for it, I knew I had to make it. And I’m glad I did.

I did add some red pepper flakes and a clove of smashed garlic to the original recipe. I find myself completely unable to follow any recipe as-is. But the sauce – it’s amazing. I would never have thought that a sauce made from canned tomatoes would be better than my painstakingly long-simmered canned homemade sauce, but there it is. This is my new go-to sauce, and I’m looking forward to spooning a thin skim of this sauce on a gluten-free pizza very soon.

There’s 4 tablespoons of butter in this recipe – very indulgent for my usual healthy cooking, but you need no cheese or meat with this simple sauce – a grind or two of fresh ground pepper is a nice touch, but even that is optional. I only used about 1/3 cup of sauce for one serving of rice penne – so that’s not so bad, right?  Anyway, I highly recommend that you raid the pantry and make a pot of this sauce – pronto.

Tomato Sauce with Butter and Onion
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Makes 3 cups of sauce

28 ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium-sized yellow onion, peeled and halved
Salt to taste
1 clove garlic, peeled and gently smashed
1 generous pinch red pepper flakes

Put the tomatoes, garlic, red pepper flakes, onion and butter in a heavy saucepan 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, puree the sauce in a blender, add salt to taste. Serve over your favorite shape of pasta.

1/3 cup of sauce: 75 calories, 50cal from fat, 5.8g fat, 15mg cholesterol, 220mg sodium, 30mg potassium, 5g carbs, 1g fiber, 3g sugars, 1.1g protein

10 thoughts on “Simply Perfect Tomato Sauce with Butter

  1. Hi Jenn,

    That’s what we are making for dinner tonight! I used the recipe from Orangette. We are adding some shrimp and red pepper flakes and serving it over polenta.

  2. i do love an easy tomato sauce! that butter really adds some flavor, I bet. and 4 T is spread out over that whole recipe – that’s nothing!! ha ha.

    are ya gearin’ up for iron chef?? so glad you’re coming and we get to meet!!

  3. Funny, Betsy – I totally had that sketch in my head as I plopped half a stick of butter into the pan! So decadent!

    I am definitely excited for the Iron Chef Competition, Heather! Bring it on! And can’t wait to meet you IRL!

  4. Pingback: Roasted Polenta Fingers « The Whole Kitchen

  5. I finally made this! Delicious! I made it without the pepper flakes this time. Next time I am going to reduce the butter a slight bit and add the pepper to see how I like it! Yum! But I don’t think my husband appreciated the simplicity…

  6. Pingback: One Year Later… « The Whole Kitchen

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