So January was a wash. I spent as much of it as I possibly could curled up in bed. I slept like a champion sleeper. I dragged my laptop into the blanket nest and worked on film festival stuff there. I read books in bed. I watched Netflix while working with yarn in bed. I looked at blogs in bed. I snuggled down with Man Cub and watched an entire season of Bob’s Burgers.*  I got intimate with a friend’s (really good) poetry manuscript while wrapped in my orange quilt. Mostly, I got out of bed to handle emergencies involving heating oil** and houshold chores, to play WoW, to go to yoga on Thursdays,*** to grocery shop, and to cook dinner.

But it’s February (white rabbits, white rabbits!) and I’m ready to emerge. I started out the month right yesterday with a delightful breakfast with the afformentioned author friend, and then off to run an assortment of errands. Today I’m going to spend some quality time binding books. February is looking up.

But what I really want to talk about is sauce. Did I mention that I spent a bunch of time in bed reading blogs? One of my favorites is Smitten Kitchen. I’m prone to go fangirl over Deb Perelman – I’ve served her recipes at the family Thanksgiving table for the last three years and it’s gone brilliantly, and her cookbook  is outstanding. Which is the only reason I attempted a sauce that I avoided because every description of it looked like clickbait.****

For serious – this sauce claims to be Something Very Special while being created from the mundane. A can of tomatoes, some butter, and an onion. There is no garlic, there is no basil, there is no stock or glug of red wine, nor is there any olive oil. You don’t even dice the onion. WTF. But Deb Perelman praised it, and that got my attention. She doesn’t publish clunkers.

And I have a new red pot. A Dutch oven, to be specific, but it’s a heavy-bottomed pot (emphasis on heavy – cast iron don’t fuck around, y’all) – Will Dearest gifted me with it after seeing me get wistful over a Le Creuset display last December. So curiosity piqued and red pot in hands, I went to it.

Holy. Carp. Something magical happened in the pot. So I made it again, this time with another brand of tomatoes. Slightly different, but again, freaking magic. When we went shopping yesterday, I bought no less than three cans of tomatoes and three boxes of pasta. The next two weeks hold serious promise. Here’s the scoop.

Three Ingredient Pasta Sauce – will feed four comfortably
(from Tomato Sauce With Onion and Butter on

1 28-oz can of whole plum tomatoes
5 Tbsp butter
1 medium onion, halved

Put all of it into a heavy bottomed pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to a scant simmer and let it go for roughly 45 minutes, stirring every so often and smooshing the tomatoes against the side with a wooden spoon as you go. That’s it.

So far I’ve served it by itself on pasta with a side of garlicky veggies. I’ve also served it over pork meatballs with a side of asparagus. Both meals were delightful – flavorful and light. Everyone went back for seconds. I would like to serve it with garlic bread on the side – I want to sop up that goodness. I am also dying to try this over shellfish.

Notes on the tomatoes:
The first batch we made up, I used Alessi brand tomatoes, which are packed in puree, and have basil added. The second batch I made, I used Contadina, which had neither puree, nor basil. In that batch, I opted to shake a little basil in, and also wound up needing to borrow an immersion blender at the end, because the tomatoes were rather firm, even after 35 minutes on the stove. Still delicious, but a little more work. I’m trying two more brands this week.
Notes on butter:
Smitten Kitchen says to use unsalted butter and then add salt to taste at the end. I had some goat butter on hand, which is salted. I used that and it turned out just fine (and not needing salt at the end). You might like to fine-tune yours, starting with the unsalted butter.


*Still not sure how I feel about that show. It might take another season of it to determine.
**Ok, technically, the heating oil thing drove me into bed, because it was cold for a few hours.
***And I hit an art opening at the WAM, too. The Flora in Winter exhibit was pretty good (if punctuated by the atrocious).
****If it says that I will be amazed, or that my mind will be blown, I will not click that. It only leads to disappointment and mild, velvety fury.