Marcella Hazan's 3 Ingredient Tomato Sauce

Marcella Hazan changed the game with this iconic sauce featured in her excellent book, Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking.

1-2 servings worth

Time: 45 mins

By Ethan Chlebowski

Marcella Hazan changed the game with this iconic sauce. It's the easiest and most flavorful red sauce for weeknight spaghetti.

Ethan Chlebowski

Ethan Chlebowski



  • Sauce

    • whole peeled tomatoes
      800 g1 28oz can
    • butter
      , unsalted
      70 g~5 tbsp
    • onions
      , yellow or white
    • salt
      to taste


Step 1: Prep the tomatoes & onion

Crush the whole peeled tomatoes with a food mill, food processor, or blender until smooth.

If you want a more rustic sauce, leave the tomatoes whole or chunky, and let them break down naturally during the cooking.

Peel and cut the onion in half, but leave the root end attached so the onion doesn't fall apart during cooking.

Step 2: Simmer the sauce

Add the tomatoes, butter, peeled onion halves, and a small pinch of salt to a large skillet over medium-low heat.

  • A wider skillet sauce more effectively than a deep pot: the wider surface area s moisture more easily.

Stirring occasionally, let the sauce until it is reduced and thickened, about 30 minutes.

Step 3: Finish & serve

Turn off the heat and fish out the onion halves (you can eat or discard these).

Taste the sauce and add salt as needed. Use immediately, or store the sauce in the fridge for about a week.



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