For the Sauce:
- 2 pounds fresh, ripe tomatoes, prepared as described below, or 2 cups canned imported Italian tomatoes, cut up, with their juice
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 1 medium onion, peeled and cut in half
- Salt to taste
- 1 to 1 1/2 pound pasta
- Freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese for the table
- Put either the prepared fresh tomatoes or the canned in a saucepan, add the butter, onion, and salt, and cook uncovered at a very slow, but steady simmer for about 45 minutes, or until it is thickened to your liking and the fat floats free from the tomato.
- Stir from time to time, mashing up any large pieces of tomato with the back of a wooden spoon.
- Taste and correct for salt. Discard the onion before tossing the sauce with the pasta.
Making Fresh Tomatoes Ready for Sauce:
- fresh, ripe plum tomatoes (or other varieties, if they are equally ripe and truly fruity, not watery)
- The blanching method: Plunge the tomatoes in boiling water for a minute or less. Drain them and, as soon as they are cool enough to handle, skin them, and cut them into coarse pieces.
- The freezing method (from David Tanis, via The Kitchn): Freeze tomatoes on a baking sheet until hard. Thaw again, either on the counter or under running water. Skin them and cut them into coarse pieces.
- The food mill method: Wash the tomatoes in cold water, cut them lengthwise in half, and put them in a covered saucepan. Turn on the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes. Set a food mill fitted with the disk with the largest holes over a bowl. Transfer the tomatoes with any of their juices to the mill and puree.