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Pasta with Tomato, Onion and Butter

4 to 6 Servings

35 minutes

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Marcella Hazan’s famous tomato sauce with onion and butter, from her book “The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking,” transforms three simple ingredients into a luscious sauce. Our pantry-focused version replaces the fresh tomatoes with a can of tomato paste to create a dish that can be on the table in minutes. To enhance the sweetness and umami, we finish the sauce with a splash of balsamic vinegar and nutty Parmesan cheese. If you don’t have spaghetti, use another type of pasta, such as fettuccine or linguine. Fresh basil, though an optional garnish, is a great addition; if you have it on hand, toss some into the pasta just before serving.

4 to 6


35 minutes


  • 1

    pound spaghetti

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper


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Aurelia K.
January 14, 2023
The Easiest and Best Red Sauce
This recipe is fantastic - all ingredients probably already in the kitchen, and so easy to put together. I was impressed with the depth of flavor, and the balsamic vinegar was such a pleasant surprise. Helps to slightly undercook the pasta and finish cooking in the sauce, as MSK usually recommends.
Jim K.
December 24, 2022
Fast Flavor BOMB!
WOW! Umami Bomba and quick! 6 out of 5 stars!
Rose R.
May 13, 2024
Simple, delicious, and few ingredients
It’s a favorite in my household for my family and my grandchildren request it often!
Sharon G.
October 31, 2023
Adapted Recipe
This is an adapted recipe, and it’s OK, but not as good as Marcella Hazan’s original recipe. I’m sticking with the original.