The Simplest Tomato Sauce

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The Simplest Tomato SauceYou’ve heard it from me once or twice that we eat a lot of spaghetti in my home and I’m not ashamed of it.  My mother instilled this habit on me, so it definitely has become nostalgic.  I already shared with you my favorite spaghetti meat sauce that stores in my freezer, ready to be thrown in the fridge the night before our traditional noodle dinner is planned.  But, once I tried this new tomato sauce recipe, I can’t seem to top our noodles with anything else on spaghetti night.

I love the buttery goodness melded into the sauce and the hint of onion flavor that just absorbs into the tomatoes during the short time of simmering.  I love that this recipe is simple.  I love that it can be prepped in minutes and not have to cook for hours.  I love that it requires only pantry staples.  Can you tell I love this sauce??

Although you might be giving me the side-eye from using only three ingredients, please do not be tempted to add additional seasonings, sweeteners or meat.  You will love this just the way it is, in its simplest form.

The Simplest Tomato Sauce

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

The Simplest Tomato Sauce

  • 1 (28 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, with juices
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and halved
  • 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Salt, to taste (optional)
  • Parmesan cheese (optional)

Heat the tomatoes, onion and butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, then turn down the heat to low. Allow to simmer at a steady pace for about 45 minutes. Stir occasionally, crushing the tomatoes against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat, discard the onion and salt to taste (optional, I do not add any). Serve warm over pasta, topped with sliced Parmesan cheese.

Source: Annie’s Eats and Smitten Kitchen, originally from Essentials of Italian Cooking


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  1. Im back off to uni in the next few weeks so recipes like this are utterly priceless. This seriously looks wonderful and i have a feeling may become a staple for me in the next year! Thank you 🙂

  2. Looks amazingly easy…can’t wait to try this! I love pasta!

  3. I made this for dinner on Sunday! It really is everything everyone says it is!

  4. I’ve made this before too and it is just so simple. Here’s my post on it: Check it out and let me know what you think 🙂

  5. I love the simplicity of this recipe. This is a keeper.

  6. So glad you loved this too, Nikki. And thank you for urging people not to make additions. The beauty of this recipe really is the simplicity!

  7. I often make a variation on this, though it’s different. I use fresh tomatoes rather than canned, olive oil instead of butter, salt, a tiny bit of crushed garlic and fresh basil. So obviously it’s not your recipe, but the similarity is that its simplicity makes not just for ease, but also for a fresh, simple taste, rather than a complex one, which is refreshing, no?

    This is my first time reading your recipe blog (a friend linked to your pumpkin snickerdoodle — yum!! — recipe and it looked so good I had to poke around here). I really like your choices. You’re making me hungry, and that’s always a good sign. *bookmarked*

  8. Yum, we loved it! Thanks!! I did add a little sugar because we like a sweet sauce.

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