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Easy Tomato Sauce with Onion & Butter

  • Author: Emilie Raffa
  • Yield: 2 quarts
  • Category: Pasta Sauce
  • Method: Stove-Top
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Vegetarian


Adapted form Marcella Hazan’s famous tomato sauce recipe, my easy version includes fresh tomatoes, sweet leeks and basil for an updated twist. Serve with fresh pasta (or dried), homemade gnocchi, and as a base for Italian-style dishes. 


  • 7 tbs butter, divided
  • 2 leeks, thinly sliced, white and light green parts only
  • 6 lbs assorted colored tomatoes, roughly chopped with the smaller cherry tomatoes left whole
  • Small handful of fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 heaping tsp sugar, plus more to taste
  • salt, to taste


  1. In a large heavy bottom pot (a Dutch oven is perfect for this), melt 2 tbsp of butter over low heat. Add the leeks and saute until soft and translucent. A little golden color is okay at this stage.
  2. Add the tomatoes, basil, sugar, and a pinch of salt. Stir to combine.
  3. Simmer the sauce, stirring occasionally, until all of the tomatoes have broken down and are nice and soft. This will take about 30 minutes or so.
  4. Remove the pot from the heat and puree with a stick blender, including the basil leaves. Alternatively, puree in batches using a blender.
  5. Return the pot to the stove and add the remaining 5 tbsp of butter. Simmer over low heat until the sauce is slightly reduced and velvety smooth. Taste and season with additional salt or sugar, if needed. The flavor should be slightly sweet.
  6. Pour into mason jars to cool before refrigerating. You can always freeze the sauce in individual portions once it has cooled completely.

Keywords: tomato, sauce, easy, recipe, onion, butter, Marcella Hazan, Italian, homemade, pasta, fresh, gnocchi