In Search of…the Perfect Pasta Sauce No 1

Butter & Tomato Sauce

A recent trip to the magnificent St John led to a visit to their website which in turn resulted in the purchase of a Fergus Henderson-endorsed cookbook called The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan. It’s perfect bedtime reading and has an intriguing section on simple tomato-based sauces for pasta – with three ingredients this is the simplest of them all.

butter & tomato sauce

Preparation time: 5 – 10 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
Skill level: easy
Serves: 2


  • tin of tomatoes – chopped – 400g
  • 1 medium onion – peeled and quartered
  • butter – 50g
  • salt
  • pasta – 200g
  • Parmesan

The book

Place the chopped tomatoes, butter, onion halves and a little salt in a heavy frying pan, bring up to a boil and then simmer uncovered VERY gently for 45 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Meanwhile cook the pasta – spaghetti is ideal.

When the sauce is cooked remove and discard the onion, taste and add salt if necessary.

butter & tomato sauce

Add the pasta and stir everything together.

Divide between two dishes and serve with grated Parmesan.

Verdict: Rich, buttery, sweet and utterly delicious. Looks like we could have found the perfect sauce first attempt. Seriously, if you have a tin of tomatoes and 45 minutes to spare, give this a go.

Drink: Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi from Oddbins. Right posh – cost more than a 5er.

Entertainment: Just can’t get enough of The Shield.

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