I’ve been making this tomato sauce for pasta many, many times ever since I stumbled upon it on Smitten Kitchen’s blog – it’s incredibly easy as it’s a dump-everything-in-one-pot kind of sauce and uses only 4 ingredients (Smitten Kitchen uses 3 but I added an additional ingredient just because I think it makes it better!)
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The 4 ingredients used for this easy peasy tomato sauce are canned crushed tomatoes, onion, garlic (that’s the additional ingredient) and butter. You can use either canned whole or crushed tomatoes. Tomato puree will be a tad too thick and may need to be diluted with water. I’ve not tried with fresh tomatoes but canned ones are usually cheaper, so… no reason for me to try the recipe with fresh ones. I particularly like to use yellow onion for this recipe because of its sweetness but if you only have red ones on hand, you can use them as well. Though butter is added, it does not give the sauce a greasy feel or after-taste.
Once the sauce has been simmered for 45 minutes to 1 hour, the sauce is ready for use as all the sweetness from the onion has been extracted, which also helps to cut down the acidity of the sauce. In the past, I would remove the onion and garlic before serving, but now that I have an immersion blender, I simply blend everything together – why waste the onion and garlic, right? Blending the sauce also makes it thicker, hence enabling the sauce to coat the pasta better.
One 800-gram can of tomatoes makes enough sauce to serve 4, so the leftovers (now that I’m cooking for 2 only) are packed in a container and stashed away in the freezer for another meal next time. Though this tomato sauce can simply be served with pasta without any other additional ingredients, I usually serve them with my favourite meatballs (as X likes his food to contain meat). There are many ways to take this tomato sauce to a different level – by adding some sautéed mushrooms, sautéed sausages, a handful of minced fresh herbs, a splash of cream… mmm! If you have tried this sauce, let me know what magic you’ve done to it!
Easy 4-Ingredient Tomato Sauce for Pasta
- Empty the can of tomatoes into a pot. Add in 3 tablespoonfuls of water into the can and swirl to get all the tomatoes and juices and empty the water into the pot. Add in onion, garlic and butter.
- Cover the pot and place over high heat. When the sauce has come to a boil, turn the heat down to low and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the onion is extremely soft, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from heat, use an immersion blender and blend until the sauce is smooth or until no large chunks of onion and garlic remains. If you don't want to blend the sauce, simply use a slotted spoon to remove the onion and garlic and if you are using whole tomatoes, crush the tomatoes against the side of the pot.
- Taste the sauce - it's highly likely that you will not need anymore salt as the canned tomatoes are usually salted, but do add some if you think it's too bland.
- Cover the pot and prepare your pasta. Reheat the sauce on medium-low heat until simmering if necessary.