Pasta with Tomato and Onion Sauce

When Italian cooking maestra Marcella Hazan died in 2013, this was the most-shared recipe by her fans – perhaps because it captures the simple elegance and unfussiness of Italian cooking. This adaptation is from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking.
Photography By Alfredo Añez | July 01, 2015


Put tomatoes, butter, onion and onion halves in a large saucepan. Cook uncovered over very low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 45 minutes. The fat will separate. Taste for salt. Discard the onion.

In a large pot, bring water and 1 tablespoon salt to a full rolling boil. Add the pasta all at once and stir for a few seconds so no pieces stick together. Cook al dente according to package directions. Drain thoroughly. Now add the drained pasta to the sauce and toss so every piece is coated in sauce. Serve immediately and pass grated cheese on the side.

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  • 1 28-oz. can whole peeled San Marzano plum tomatoes
  • 4 oz. (half a stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, peeled, cut in half
  • Salt
  • 1 box good-quality spaghetti, penne or farfalle (we use DeCecco) Parmigiano-reggiano cheese, grated
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