You know her as Naturally Ella. I know her as Erin, my business partner, my friend, the person I talk with most these days. Hallie knows her as “Enin!”. She hasn’t found her Rs yet. She also knows her as the author of The Easy Vegetarian Kitchen—the book she affectionately wrote notes in while her father wasn’t looking. The book that makes her new favorite meal—fried rice. In a few short weeks, one lucky little boy will know her as mama. Erin is having a baby (!), which is cause for a celebration sans wine. So a bunch of lovely people have gathered via the WWW to send Erin off into motherhood with quick and easy vegetarian recipes.
When thinking about what to make for Erin, I had to take myself back to 18 months ago. My hands were full with a baby I wasn’t quite sure what to do with yet. I held her nervously most of the day, though I would have told you otherwise. We walked heavily up and down the creaky wide-planked floors of our Connecticut apartment as she fussed. She liked the deliberate steps. I sang Silent Night on repeat even though Christmas was months away. Songs like Hush Little Baby weren’t yet apart of my toolbox yet. Our dinners were always overcooked and eaten cold. In fact, I’m not sure what we ate outside of the freezer meals I made the week before Hallie arrived. We survived like the thousands of parents before us. And eventually, we found our footing and lost our nerves.
But we were missing one thing—Marcella Hazan’s 3-ingredient miracle tomato sauce. We found the recipe two weeks ago in a place of desperation like the old days. I had the flu, though I never made it out of bed to verify with a doctor. Kev was left to make dinner. He does the laundry; I do dinner. It’s fair that way. Earlier that day, Deb of Smitten Kitchen providentially mentioned this sauce via Instagram. I texted the recipe to Kev and he made dinner all by himself, apart from some minor coaching on peeling the onion before placing it in the tomatoes. To be fair, I often wash clothes without laundry detergent.
After consuming this pasta and making it again, I knew this was the recipe I’d send you off with, Erin. Mostly because it might just be the best sauce to ever hit my mouth, and partly because it only takes 30 minutes to make with very little prep. When your hands are busy and your mind is a 1000 miles away from dinner and you haven’t been to the store in days, make this. I’ve written the recipe to be attended to in 10 minute increments. Set the timer on your phone and walk away—feed the babe, change his diaper, sing Silent Night. Just don’t forget to take the phone with you. I should take this advice as mine usually vibrates off the counter, crashing onto to the floor. I guess that’s counts as an alarm too.
This recipe is adapted from Marcella Hazan’s 3-ingredient pasta sauce and written for a new mom. Cook the sauce in three 10-minute intervals. Set a timer on your phone and walk away. Just walk away with your phone. After 30 minutes, a couple simple ingredients will somehow transform into the best pasta sauce of your life.
28 oz. canned diced tomatoes
1 small sweet onion, halved and peeled
5 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more for pasta water
8 oz. wheat fusilli pasta
In a large sauce pan, add tomatoes, onions, butter, and salt. Cover and turn heat to medium-high. Set timer for 10 minutes and walk away.
Once timer goes off, stir sauce and turn heat down to medium. Add water and a generous pinch of salt to a saucepan for pasta and turn to high heat. Set timer for 10 minutes and walk away.
Once timer goes off, stir sauce. Add pasta to water. Set timer for 10 minutes and walk away.
Once timer goes off, drain pasta. Discard the onion from the sauce. Using an immersion blender or regular blender, puree pasta sauce until no chunks remain.
Add pasta to plates and top with sauce. Garnish with fresh basil and parmesan.