Placing a forkful of Aldo's lasagna deluged in their homemade marinara upon my tongue was a life-changing experience.
There were the sauces that came before this moment and there is this sauce. Let there be light.
Thus began my intrepid search for an authentic marinara recipe. I have not replicated Aldo's yet, although I've not yet tried in earnest. But I did find this with the embedded recipe, "Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter."
Hmmm ... adjectives? Try intense and lush and simple and sublime. The beauty of this recipe is that anyone can make it. To that end, spreading it around the world is like slipping diamond rings on the fingers of every peasant girl and silken robes around her work-weary beau's shoulders. When you twirl your angel hair in a puddle of this sauce and place it ever so reverently in your mouth, you will inflate with breath and turn your eyes skyward.
Why can't everything in life be like this?
You will need:That's it.
-Two cups whole, peeled, canned plum tomatoes, chopped, with their juices (about one 28-oz. can, preferably Italian and without citric acid)
-Five tablespoons unsalted butter
-One medium yellow onion, peeled and cut in half
-Salt to taste
Combine the first three ingredients in a medium saucepan. Add a shake or two of salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Adjusting heat as necessary, cook uncovered for about 45 minutes at a very slow steady simmer until droplets of fat float free from the tomato. Stir occasionally, mashing any large pieces of tomato with the back of a wooden spoon. Taste and salt as needed.
The recipe says to discard the onion. But therein is another bit of magic. Of course you don't discard the onion! You pluck it from the pot, cursing as you burn your fingers and, as it drips with this rich tomatoey buttery sauce, you eat that onion right out of hand over the sink. Who says there's no such thing as heaven on earth?
So there's your xmas gift, admittedly regifted from Molly Wizenberg who regifted it from Marcella Hazan, but I have a feeling the spirit of an old Italian cook, full up with love, is smiling somewhere out there in the ether and thinking, that's exactly right, girls, keep passing it along.
Merry merry and happy happy.
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