A favorite cookbook in my family is The (sadly out-of-print) Classic Pasta Cookbook by Marcella Hazan’s son Giuliano. It looks sort of like a kid’s book (it is published by the Eyewitness Books people, I think), with photos illustrating each recipe, but the recipes are really good and quite sophisticated and traditional.
I finally received my very own copy of the book recently, but hadn’t used it yet, and I broke it in for a casual dinner last week by making the simplest thing in the book: a tomato and butter sauce, which I served over store-bought fresh ravioli. Very easy, very comforting, and quite pretty–the (large amount of) butter gives this a softer flavor and color than marinara-style tomato sauces.
-2 14 oz tins of whole peeled tomatoes with their juice, coarsely chopped [I use one -28 oz can of the muir glen chopped ones]
-3.5 oz butter
-1 medium onion, peeled and cut in half
-4 T freshly grated parmesan cheese
Put all ingredients except the cheese in a saucepan and simmer over a low heat until tomatoes have reduced and separated from the butter: 20-40 minutes depending on the size of the pan.
Remove from the heat and set aside, discarding the onion halves.
Toss the pasta in the hot sauce with the cheese.
(Gah, all my evening photos are so blurry—the lighting in the kitchen is terrible! I’m sorry.)
The best part, though, was the leftover sauce. The next day I suddenly felt inspired to use the sauce in my lunch, and I put it over fried eggs on sourdough toast. I could write a whole post about how much I love fried eggs on toast, and eggs in almost any form, but this was especially good. The soft flavor of the tomato sauce was perfect with the egg but did add a nice fresh taste, and made the whole thing seem more lunchy.