I am the least fussy cook you are likely to meet. I do have a few quirks, though. For example, I don’t like the cores in canned tomatoes. I pick them out one by one. Here’s how: Empty the can of tomatoes into a bowl. Pick one up and hold it gently but firmly. Pinch the core with two or three fingers and slowly pull it out. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll see that the seeds come out along with the core—a little bonus. Whatever seeds stay behind I leave there. My obsessive tomato behavior starts and ends with the cores.
The only tomato sauce that is simpler than this is Marcella Hazan’s justifiably famous tomato sauce with butter and onion. . If you have never tried it, you should.
Makes about 2 cups; enough for 1 pound (6 to 8 servings) of pasta (can be easily doubled)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced fine
1 clove garlic, crushed
Large pinch crushed red pepper
1 can (16 oz.) Italian plum tomatoes, drained, cored and (mostly) seeded, liquid reserved
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, reduce the heat to low and cook until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper and simmer until the garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Add the drained tomatoes; toss to coat with onion mixture. Increase the heat to medium; boil until all almost all of the liquid is evaporated. Add the reserved tomato liquid, bring back to a simmer and cook until the sauce is thickened and reduced by about 1/3.
Blend the sauce using quick pulses just until the tomatoes are coarsely chopped not smooth. If you have a food mill, pass it through the mill with the medium disc in place. Store the sauce in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 2 months.