The Best Tomato Sauce. Ever.

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 The Best Tomato Sauce. Ever. has just three ingredients and takes nearly no effort to make!

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I sort of feel like I cried wolf a couple weeks ago when I told you to immediately stop what you were doing to make the the best thing I’d eaten in ages, One-Pot Creamy Mac & Cheese, because if there was ever a time to cease all activity and make a meal, it’d be now, and it’d be for this:

The Best Tomato Sauce. Ever.

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This THREE ingredient recipe defies logic, and everything you thought you knew about what had to be included in a good, nay great, tomato sauce. Basil? Nah. Veggies? Nope. Garlic? Get outta here. All you need is whole peeled tomatoes, an onion and butter. That’s. It.

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Not only is The Best Tomato Sauce. Ever. comprised of only three ingredients, it takes nearly no effort at all to make.

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Simply add the ingredients into a big sauce pan and let them bubble away for 45 minutes, stopping by for an occasional stir and crush of the tomatoes,

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Discard the onion when all is said and done, then put down your tasting spoon.

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The line between sauce and soup is seriously blurred when it comes to this stuff, and while my head said back away from the spoon, sister… my taste buds screamed, keep slurping! I was afraid there wouldn’t be enough left over for the pasta it was destined to drown!

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Now, The Best Tomato Sauce. Ever. would be fantastic on nearly anything – spaghetti squash, zucchini noodles, ravioli, by itself on a spoon – wait, no! – but especially on the wispy-thin strands of Angel Hair Pasta.

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Best to support, not detract from, the delicate-yet-drool-worthy flavors of the sauce.

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In the words of Christina Applegate in Up All Night, this is so good it’s pissing me off. Couldn’t have said it better myself!

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Expletives were shouted. Questions of How? HOW is this so delicious? were asked.

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I mean, it defies logic! How can an onion, butter and 45 minutes, turn a can of tomatoes into one of the most rich and silky tasting tomato sauces I’ve ever had? It doesn’t make any sense! Oh well?!

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The Best Tomato Sauce. Ever.

Print this recipe!

Serves 3-4

From Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients:
28oz can good quality whole, peeled tomatoes
1 medium size yellow onion, halved
5 Tablespoons salted butter

Directions:

  1. Add tomatoes, onion halves and butter into a large saucepan. Bring to a heavy simmer, then turn heat to low and simmer constantly for 45 minutes, stirring often and crushing tomatoes up against the side of the pot.
  2. Remove onion, season with sea salt to taste (may not need it if your tomatoes were salted) and store sauce in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or serve over fresh pasta.

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Go make this, then let me know if you figure out how it works, mmkay? Oh, make this an extra hard workout day too, ’cause you’re going to want seconds! ;)

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I debated letting this saucy stunnah dominate my plate solo, but decided in the end to make this a grand ol’ meal and serve Ina Garten’s Roasted Broccoli alongside.

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I’ve heard crazy good things about this broccoli, which is roasted with EVOO and garlic slivers, then topped with fresh basil, lemon zest and a squeeze of lemon juice at the end, but have never tried it because I’m stubborn and have an if it ain’t broke mentality towards my own roasted broccoli recipe, which I happen to love.

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Thank goodness I took the leap because this roasty, garlicky broccoli with just a mere whisper of lemon flavor, blew Ben’s and my socks off.

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The Best Ever Roasted Broccoli

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Only slightly adapted from Ina Garten

Serves 3-4

Ingredients:
2 heads broccoli, cut into large florets (or 2 bags of Dole pre-cut)
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
5 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
salt & pepper
1 teaspoon lemon zest
squeeze of fresh lemon juice
parmesan cheese to taste
5-6 leaves fresh basil, sliced

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lay broccoli and garlic slices out on a large cookie sheet and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, salt & pepper. Toss to coat and roast for 15-18 minutes, or until garlic and tips of broccoli are golden brown (don’t over-cook as garlic will taste bad if burnt.)
  2. After removing the pan out of the oven, sprinkle on lemon zest, lemon juice, parmesan cheese and basil.

Ben proclaimed this meal the hotness and I guess I really couldn’t agree more.

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Full and well fed, shall be my status update tonight! What’s yours?

Have a good one!

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Comments

  1. YUM! I am definitely intrigued, as we tried that mac and cheese last night and hubs said it was the best ever!!!

  2. debbie 10.03.2011

    mm yum!

  3. Machelle 10.03.2011

    hehehe! funny!

  4. Oohh, come cook for me, please! Annie’s Ramen on the menu for me tonight ha ;)

  5. delicious!! i’m pretty sure i could add a stick of butter to anything and it would piss me off it’s so good!

  6. DELICIOUS on both accounts!

  7. Andrea 10.03.2011

    This sauce looks delicious! What did you do with the onion? Can it be used in anything else?

    • Iowa Girl Eats 10.04.2011

      You could probably throw it in a crock pot recipe or something!

      • anne 10.04.2011

        I’ve been making this amazing sauce for a while (thanks to S.K.). I love to eat the onion afterwards!

  8. erica 10.03.2011

    i am SO trying this!!!
    how much simpler could it get?!?!? i love it!

  9. That is, by far, my favorite sauce EVER. I make it all the freaking time, and even put it on pizza last night. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

  10. Did you cut the onion or just cut it in half and place into pan? Looks good and a GREAT way to use the final tomatoes from my garden.
    Thanks!

    • Iowa Girl Eats 10.04.2011

      My onion was abnormally large, so I only used half of it. You should just half a medium sized onion though!

      • Iowa Girl Eats 10.04.2011

        Ok that made no sense – sorry! You should halve your medium sized onion and use both halves. :)

  11. Amy 10.03.2011

    I have to try both, love the creativeness and your enthusiasm:)

  12. Allison 10.03.2011

    I love how excited you get about delicious food :) I makes me feel better about how excited I get.

  13. definitely my go-to, super easy red sauce! I cut half the onion into small slices and keep them in for extra flavah.

  14. That dinner looks amazing! Ina Garten recipes are always reliable and delicious. I’m definitely going to try that sauce recipe soon!

  15. Rachel 10.03.2011

    I want to try this ASAP! But I do not have the onion or the tomatoes. At least I don’t until I go grocery shopping later this week!

  16. My status should be “stop reading blogs and do your graduate work”.

    It really is amazing how the simplest of recipes can make the best foods. Thanks for sharing. This looks great!

  17. I want both of these, right now. But its 10pm. Dilemma.

  18. Jenny 10.03.2011

    When my main man and I were in Boston a few years ago (eating some of the most delish Italian I have ever had) we got a chef’s recipe for marinara very similar to this and I have never made another one since. I have found that spending a ghastly $4 a can for San Marzano tomatoes has made it over-the-top insanely tasty. The only swap I use is extra-virgin olive oil and then I add few ounces of basil chiffonade in the last 5 minutes with the heat off. I love it so much I make it almost once a week. I just slathered it on homemade chicken parm tonight, in fact!

  19. Lindsey 10.03.2011

    Wow. Simple. Can’t wait to try!

  20. i’ve made this sauce too, and it is great. i can’t help but say that i like my roasted tomato pasta sauce better, but this is very very good! :) (and super for winter aka the days of bad tomatoes)

  21. anna 10.03.2011

    I came to a similar… er.. the exact same revelation the other day (also via Smitten Kitchen). Butter takes tomato anything to the mix – soup for me!

  22. Tessa 10.03.2011

    Definitely trying this one out. I am needing to simplify my recipes right now…

    P.S. Love the picture of your angel hair pasta in the pot :)

  23. Missy 10.03.2011

    I can’t be, but I hope it is. That looks so easy I can’t wait to try it. Thanks for the recipe.

  24. Wow, how neat! That looks amazing, going to try it this week! Thanks so much and looooooove the pictures!

  25. MareMare 10.04.2011

    Butter? That’s so crazy weird I may have to try it!

  26. Kathleen 10.04.2011

    Tried it a year ago, didn’t like it at all…throw it out… I maybe will give it another try… or there is something terrible wrong with my tastebuds…

    Kath

  27. Rachael 10.04.2011

    Dei Fratelli tomatoes are good but if you can find whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes those are the BEST! I have seen them at Gateway Market and Costco before.

    • Iowa Girl Eats 10.04.2011

      I know, I tried to find them but they weren’t at HyVee or TJ’s and I just couldn’t make another stop! DF’s was amazing though!

  28. I’ve seen this done before and always been curious how it turns out… looks like I’m going to have to try it!!! :)

  29. Hope 10.04.2011

    That is such an easy recipe for sauce. I’m going to have to try it! I love roasted broccoli.

  30. Mer @mersworld 10.04.2011

    Looks so yummy! I’m always in search of a great, simple tomato sauce for weeknights! The broccoli recipe looks great- I had roasted broccoli for the first time a few weeks ago and LOVED IT! It adds great, extra flavor!

  31. Kristin from MN 10.04.2011

    Both that sauce and the broccoli look amazing! I can’t wait to try them both! Did you add almond slivers to your broccoli?

    • Kristin from MN 10.04.2011

      Nevermind! I’m guessing that’s the garlic slivers I see in the pictures!

  32. That’s so similar to how I make my broccoli – it is the *best* way to enjoy your broccoli!!

    And I love that you posted such a simple recipe bc I totally feel like I could make that sauce lol.

  33. I’ll tell you why it’s so good: butter! I shied away for butter for so long because it’s not healthy, blah, blah. Recently, I’ve decided that a little each day (if I even have that) isn’t going to kill me. Ever added it to your brown rice? It makes brown rice seem like a delectable side dish. I only had 1/2 Tbsp when serving 2 (or a whole Tbsp when serving 4, obviously) and you wouldn’t believe the HUGE difference it makes. Try it if you haven’t already!

    • Iowa Girl Eats 10.04.2011

      Yes, LOVE butter in brown rice! It’s also my secret for making Chipotle copy cat rice!

  34. Annie’s Eats had this recipe too and it was so good! I used it with stuffed shells – delish!

  35. Lora in Indy 10.04.2011

    Thanks for reading my mind, Kristin! I was just thinking earlier today that I need to make a good red sauce. I only have a big can of crushed tomatoes…I’m hoping I can use those in place of whole peeled tomatoes. Think I’m going to royally screw this up? :)

    • Iowa Girl Eats 10.04.2011

      I think it might be ok! Report back, will you? :)

      • Lora in Indy 10.05.2011

        It was great! I really couldn’t tell a difference and I’ve made the original version before. Good to know you can substitute crushed tomatoes in a pinch!

  36. Ooh, I’m going to have to try that sauce. I always buy pureed tomatoes if I’m going the canned route but this looks so yummy.

  37. Mun 10.04.2011

    Hello! I love your website! I am attempting my first try at your recipes with the tomato sauce/pasta and roasted broccoli! I just picked up all the ingredients from my local Trader Joe’s in NYC, but was informed that there is a shortage of whole, peeled canned tomatoes! Oh no :). Hoping it turns out OK with two cans of diced and roasted tomatoes…best subtitute I could find. Thanks for the continued great ideas!

  38. Mun 10.04.2011

    Just finished dinner and it was scrumptious! I substituted two 14.5 oz cans of diced tomatoes due to a shortage of whole/peeled/canned ones and since my mother doesn’t eat wheat, made two pasta batches, one capelli and one brown rice penne! We each cleaned our plates!

  39. Cody 10.06.2011

    I’m trying this tonight, however, I’m adding halved cherry tomatoes and red wine…I couldn’t resist…even though I’d like to try it without. Maybe next time.

    • So how did the sauce turn out with the halved cherry tomatoes and red wine? Maybe I’ll try that next time!

  40. I know I’m late to the table, but I’m trying this recipe as I type this! I’m excited, as I love, love, love EASY recipes. And I love pasta too. I may have to try the one-pot mac ‘n cheese too, though my hubby has a pretty good one that he just throws together (could use a little more flava, though).

  41. Delia 10.25.2011

    I made Ina’s garlic roasted broccoli last night; I think I ate two + pounds of it! It was soo drool-worthy and totally easy! Thanks for linking it!

  42. Emily 10.26.2011

    I made this last night and it was amazing! All four of my children shoveled it in (I doubled the recipe) AND complimented me! (Miracles do happen) :) Plus, it was great for my grocery budget. Any recipe that let’s me make a really tasty dinner and help with math homework at the same time gets two thumbs up!

  43. [...] only difference I made to Kristin’s original recipe was that I used fire roasted tomatoes instead of regular tomatoes. The fire roasted tomatoes [...]

  44. [...] and sloppy soup – until about a month ago. That’s when I made the tomato sauce that was so good it pissed me off, which oddly enough, reminded me of tomato [...]

  45. [...] got the recipe from Iowa Girl Eats, The Best Ever Roasted Broccoli.  Blamo! That stuff is GOOD! The only thing that I changed was the parmesan cheese, for [...]

  46. [...] on hand) to make this easy and fantabulicious side dish. Though it nowhere near lives up to the Best Ever Roasted Broccoli, it still [...]

  47. [...] And one of my favorite sides ever: Ghetto Roasted Broccoli. I fall more in love with this broccoli every time I eat it. When I have fresh basil handy, I will definitely revert back to the Best Ever Roasted Broccoli. [...]

  48. Krista f. 09.23.2012

    Ummm..yes, I make this tomato sauce ALL.THE.TIME. So yummy.

  49. Nicole 07.08.2013

    Made this tonight!!! It was awesome!!!! I used organic whole peeled tomatoes and a white onion cause its all I had. Truly amazing!!! Will make this again and agin :)

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