Shells pasta with Marcella Hazan's 4-ingredient tomato sauce, garnished with basil leaves and served in a large blue ceramic bowl.

Pasta di Hazan

Marcella Hazan’s famously simple 4-ingredient pasta sauce (5 if you are using basil for garnish) is honestly the most delicious tomato sauce you’ll ever have in your life. It’s that elusive recipe that’s easy enough for literally anybody to make, but makes your pasta taste like it was made in a gourmet restaurant. Marcella Hazan was an Italian-born cookbook writer who is credited with introducing America to Italian cooking.  I like to make large batches of her sauce to use in pizza, lasagna, ratatouille, mozzarella sticks… you name it. Marcella Hazan’s tomato sauce recipe is notorious for good reason, and it’s the perfect way to begin learning how to cook Italian food. This is the recipe I use for Pasta di Hazan, or Marcella Hazan’s tomato sauce over al dente pasta, garnished with basil.

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To begin, add the tomatoes and any juices that escaped when chopping them into a medium-sized saucepan.

Add the butter, onion halves, and salt.

Give it a good stir, then bring the contents to a simmer and cook uncovered for about 45 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened to your desired consistency. Stir every 15 minutes or so, mashing any large chunks against the saucepan with your spoon.

While your sauce is cooking, bring aggressively salted water to a boil, then add your pasta, give it a stir, and cook according to the package. Strain and set aside.

When your sauce is at the desired thickness, taste it and adjust salt if needed. Marcella Hazan’s recipe now calls for you to remove the onion and discard it, but I love to eat it because it falls apart in your mouth and is full of the tomato sauce flavor, so it’s SO delicious. You can also cut it up and put it back into your sauce.

Toss your pasta with the sauce, then transfer to a serving bowl or plate. Garnish with fresh basil and serve immediately.

Shells pasta with Marcella Hazan's 4-ingredient tomato sauce, garnished with basil leaves and served in a large blue ceramic bowl.

Pasta di Hazan

Becca Gallick-Mitchell
The best, simplest, and most hassle-free pasta recipe you'll ever use. Marcella Hazan's famous tomato sauce provides an amazing depth of flavor with just 4-ingredients. The sauce is tossed with perfectly seasoned al dente pasta and garnished with basil. it's uncomplicated enough for literally anybody to pull off, but sophisticated enough to serve to the best cook you know.
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr
Course Main Course, Sauces, Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 1.5 lbs fresh tomatoes and their juices, chopped
  • 5 Tbsp butter or Earth Balance
  • 1 onion, cut in half with outer skin removed
  • 2 pinches kosher salt (preferaby Diamond Crystal brand), plus about 2 handfuls more for the pasta water
  • 1 small bunch basil
  • 1 lb pasta (any shape will work with this sauce since it's light enough to coat long, thin noodles like spaghetti and capellini but flavorful enough for heftier pastas like bucatini)

Instructions
 

  • Add the tomatoes and any juices that escaped when chopping them into a medium-sized saucepan along with the butter, onion halves, and salt.
  • Bring the contents to a simmer and cook uncovered for about 45 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened to your desired consistency. Stir every 15 minutes or so, mashing any large chunks against the saucepan with your spoon.
  • While your sauce is cooking, bring aggressively salted water to a boil, then add your pasta, give it a stir, and cook according to the package. Strain and set aside.
  • When your sauce is at the desired thickness, taste it and adjust salt if needed. Marcella Hazan's recipe now calls for you to remove the onion and discard it, but I love to eat it because it falls apart in your mouth and is full of the tomato sauce flavor, so it's SO delicious. You can also cut it up and put it back into your sauce.
  • Toss your pasta with the sauce, then transfer to a serving bowl or plate. Garnish with fresh basil and serve immediately.
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