February 19, 2011

Tomato and Cream Sauce and a Tribute to Marcella Hazan

Pâtes Fraiches

"There is no such thing as Italian haute cuisine because there are no high or low roads in Italian cooking. All roads lead to the home, to la cucina di casa - the only one that deserves to be called Italian cooking."  - Marcella Hazan

Big squares of fresh spinach and ricotta ravioli found their way into my shopping basket the other day so when I got home I immediately cracked open Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking to look for the perfect sauce recipe.
Over 650 pages of information, recipes and advice are packed into this wonderful book. It is by far the most trusted Italian cookbook in my entire collection.

The Fundamentals and At Table chapters alone make it an invaluable resource. Need a definition for insaporire? Don't know what Bottarga is? Curious about the different varieties of Radicchio or Ricotta?
Marcella has all the answers.
My copy is about 15 years old. The spine is broken and its pages are splashed and splattered with tomato sauce and red wine. Definitly the signs of a well loved cookbook!

Also, her recipe for Bucatini all'Amatriciana is unparalleled - the most sublime mélange of pancetta, onions, tomatoes and two types of Italian cheese. I make a batch almost every week.

I love Marcella. She has a down to earth style and an unwavering devotion to regional, traditional Italian cuisine. She is truly a classic!

Now on to the sauce...
The is not a dish to eat when you're on a diet. It is rich and silky and a simple indulgence to be served with a small portion of stuffed pasta.
Adapted from Marcella's Tomato Sauce with Heavy Cream recipe.  
Buon appetito!

Tomato and Cream Sauce
makes 4-6 servings
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 14 ounce can whole plum tomatoes, crushed finely and with their juice
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • a pinch of salt
  • freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Put all the ingredients except for the heavy cream into a saucepan and cook, uncovered, at a very light simmer for 45 minutes, stirring from time to time.
Turn the heat up a bit, stir the heavy cream into the tomato mixture and cook for 1 minute.
Mix with the pasta and serve with the Parmigiano-Reggiano.
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