Easing the transition to an extraordinary life

Three Ingredient Tomato Sauce

Our Food Editor Christine shares her Three Ingredient Tomato Sauce (Or how to cram a little joy into the nooks and crannies of a busy life)  😛


I am literally sneaking a moment from work to write this post because otherwise, it’s not going to get done and I’m not going to get to share this life-saver recipe with you. I started a new job this year that has me working more hours than ever with a much longer commute than ever. I barely have time to grocery shop, much less putter around in the kitchen at the end of the day. But honestly, how often does this happen to all of us? We get a new job, move, kids start a new activity, our normal routines get turned upside down in some way and we get home at the end of the day exhausted, wanting something simple yet wholesome and comforting to eat, no time to stop by the grocery store to pick up anything.

This classic tomato sauce was made famous by Marcella Hazan, the woman who introduced America to authentic regional Italian cooking in much the same way that Julia Child demystified French cuisine for American cooks. It’s incredibly simple with just three ingredients, all of which are really basic pantry staples, and requires the barest minimum of effort and kitchen skills. It’s the go-to for my husband to make when I’m working later than he is and he wants to get something made before I get home without having to text me for instructions every five minutes. As in most really simple recipes, having good ingredients makes all the difference, so find a brand of tomatoes that you really like and use fresh sweet butter. If you keep a stock of canned tomatoes, onions, and butter on hand, you’ll never be more than 45 minutes from pure comfort in a bowl.

Life, as we all know, has a lot of ways of throwing us curveballs and turning our routines upside down. It can be so easy to let self-care be the first thing that we let slide when other priorities are demanding our attention. And while I do sometimes succumb to the ease of popcorn or bowl of cereal for supper, finding ways to shoehorn simple delights into the spare moment here and there makes such a difference not only in my health, but also in my emotional well-being. So take a minute after you’ve dropped your bags and coat at the door to pour a can of tomatoes, some chopped onion and butter into a sauce pan before you go change into something comfortable, pour yourself a glass of wine or a cup of tea, or put your feet up for twenty minutes before you start the pasta. Add a snowdrift of parmesan to the top of the finished bowl of pasta and go sit on the sofa. Your taste buds and your soul will thank you.

Marcella Hazan’s 3 Ingredient Tomato Sauce

1 28 ounce can of whole or diced tomatoes

4 tablespoons salted butter

1 onion, roughly chopped


Combine all three ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook over low heat for about 45 minutes until the onion is very soft. Using either a stick blender, a blender, or a food processor, blend the sauce until it is smooth.

Meanwhile, cook a pound of your preferred pasta ( I like rigatoni or some kind of chewy tube pasta for this) until it is just barely under done. Drain the pasta and finish cooking in the pasta sauce so the pasta soaks up some of the sauce.

Serve in shallow pasta bowls topped with grated parmesan or pecorino.

If you like your pasta a little “saucier” you can reduce the amount of pasta you cook to about 12 ounces.


Check out Christine’s delectable blog or follow her on Twitter.


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