On Super Bowl weekend of this year my dearest and longest friend Wayne came to Seattle for a visit. It is not too often that Brian and I get visitors, so as you can imagine this was a big deal to us. If you read the post I wrote quite a while ago about Lithuanian Borscht and my friend Wayne, then you know how much I value our friendship and what his thoughts are on food. I had a list in my mind of places to show him and things to eat…Theo’s Chocolate Factory (and taste all the chocolate you want), Pike Place Market, Honore Bakery, eat oysters, slurp Pho, eat pizza that I made, the space needle, the Seattle Waterfront, The Ballard Locks & Salmon Latter, Golden Gardens Park, and more. My mind was racing with ideas, and he was only here for a weekend. Did I mention I had to work the whole weekend too? Luckily, Brian filled in for me. We did so much together, and somewhere in there too we watched the Super Bowl.
But the best part of Wayne’s visit was he came baring gifts! Well to be honest he did ask if there was anything Brian and I wanted form New Jersey. I responded with the one thing that I knew Brian would enjoy immensely. I asked for a crumb cake from a B & W Bakery where Brian grew up. It is famous in New Jersey, along with the outlining areas. This crumb cake is known for having more crumb than cake. The cake is light and I’m not sure how it holds itself up under the dense, sweet, and thickly heavy crumb line. To me this crumb cake embodies a flavor that you just don’t get outside of the east coast or the tri state area for that matter. Brian was so happy and surprised with it, but there was something else that Wayne brought with him. A cook book of Marcella Hazan: “Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking”. I have known of her cooking and have tried a recipe or two off the internet but I didn’t have any of her books. Wayne confessed that he has worked his way through his own copy. He said he was in love with the simplicity and deliciousness of it all. He told me there was a Tomato Sauce recipe that consisted of tomatoes, an onion cut in half, and butter. His eyes widened as he told me – You will not believe how delicious it is! Okay, I was sold and had to try it.
So tried it I did. Again, and again, and again…you get my point! There is just a beautiful simplistic taste; and the texture that comes from it is velvety smooth. Upon first making the sauce I must admit that the smell and aroma took me back. I could picture myself as a little girl eating a Sunday dinner with my grandparents. The smell reminded me of going with my mom to the home of any of her aunts so she could do their hair (my mom was a beautician). Each aunt would fix me a snack while I watched my mom tease, curl, and spray their hair and they would give me a piece of candy as I left. The scent also reminded me of being at my Uncle Louie and Aunt Mary’s home playing with some toys on their carpet while all the adults would sit around the table and talk. All of their homes always had the warm comfort and fragrance that this sauce embodies. (Maybe they should make a perfume like it!?!)So now, just about every time I make this recipe I take a picture of it cooking and text it to Wayne. It will usually spark a whole conversation of texting that makes me giggle and smile. To me our friendship is like this recipe; classic, timeless, and delicious. Thank you Wayne and Marcella Hazan. The smell of this sauce brings back such nice memories I posses of family that have passed on and makes my taste buds incredibly happy.
Marcella Hazan’s Tomato Sauce (enough for 1 pound of pasta)
2 cups of tomatoes, in their own juices (I have used a 28 oz can of Muir Glen whole, peeled tomatoes)
5 tbsp of butter
1 regular onion, peeled and cut in ½
Sea Salt, to taste
First; place the tomatoes, butter, and onion a medium sauce pan with a pinch of sea salt. Place the pan over medium to medium low heat.
Next; let your mixture simmer for about 45 minutes (uncovered). You will want to stir it occasionally. While stirring you should press down on the tomatoes with the back of you spoon to break down the tomatoes.
Then; after your sauce has simmered for 45 minutes remove the onion and give it a taste. Adjust the seasoning if you like. If you would like to puree your sauce you can do so at this time.
Finally; toss your sauce with the pasta of your liking. Serve with some freshly grated parmesan cheese and if you are like me, a bit of fresh basil.
*Note: this sauce freezes nicely too.