If you believe that making great food requires special talent—well, forgive us for saying so, but you're wrong. You can make toast, right? And boil water, and turn an oven dial? If so, you're ready to try an easy recipe, like this simple sauce created by the late cookbook author Marcella Hazan. Devotee Faith Durand, executive editor of the website The Kitchn, says it's "genius, elemental. It shows the magic of cooking, which is that something can be more than the sum of its parts."

Serves 2 to 4


  • 1 (28-ounce) can peeled plum tomatoes (no salt or herbs added)
  • 5 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, peeled and cut in half
  • Kosher salt


    Active time: 15 minutes
    Total time: 1 hour

    In a 3-quart saucepan, combine the tomatoes; butter; onion; and a pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat; then lower heat. Crush tomatoes lightly with the back of a spoon as they cook, and stir occasionally. Simmer very gently for 45 minutes, or until droplets of fat appear on surface of tomatoes. Remove and discard onion. Serve over warm cooked pasta.

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