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.
I had my doubts, but this sauce turned out delicious!
This really is delicious and so pantry-easy. Flavorful without being salty and thick (not watery) enough that my husband assumed it was some fancy new store bought brand. I don’t have an immersion blender, so I just go to town with my potato masher and it miraculously lacks enough chunks for my picky eaters. My new stand-by.
I love pasta and I think this simple recipe for tomato sauce is really tasty!
Awh! so sweet, love the 10 minute steps. I Am going to send this to my friend who just had a bub! x
Hope this makes for a mindless prep and a great dinner for them!
This is great! Seems so obvious and simple, yet somehow transforms into magic. And really, nothing beats a dinner that a) my other half can pull-off and b) can be made while you’re busy doing other things. Love it!
Kev now has no excuses on the dinner front. I think I’m going to start assigning this meal every other week!
This is great! There’s no better gift than easy meals for new parents. I’m sure this will come in handy more than a few times during those blur of a first few weeks and months!
This is a sweet post. I’ve been meaning to make this recipe for like at least a year, and haven’t yet … why?!?!?! Ugh. I’m the worst sometimes. Maybe this weekend. 🙂 Congrats to Erin!!!
Once you make it, you wont be able to stop it!
I don’t think one can have too many quick dinner dishes. They’re a necessity for any working parent! Thanks for sharing this, and for sharing that cute picture of your little one!
Every time I see a pic of your little one it melts my heart she has the face of an angel. So excited for Erin, and think this was so sweet of you guys to do for her! I have no idea what I’m going to do when I have a little babe – major kudos to you guys totally rocking it as moms!
She has other faces besides that angel face 🙂 Though as long as she gets her sleep, the angel face stays. About little babes, I would have said the same thing. Sometimes I do! Finding my new rhythm took me soooo long. I hear it gets easier with the second but I’m super hesitant.
I can confirm that this really is the best sauce ever and, even better, it freezes well! I make huge batches and then portion them out. They’re pretty quick to defrost and I use them for everything (pizza, spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna etc). Thank you so much for all your organizing efforts too Melissa xo
Lasagna with this sauce? Kathryn, you just made this world a better place. Now I just need some wide planked noodles and ricotta.
Melissa, I loved reading this. I can tell that you and Erin, your friendship runs deep. Also, I didn’t know you once lived on the east coast, I think I’ve only ever known your to be a Midwest girl! Thank you for rounding us all up to celebrate Erin today. So much love to you, xo!
I’m totally a midwest girl in my bones, though I once would have sworn I was made for the east coast. Also, your picture of beets has me thinking I need to give them a try again. xoxo
This is such a lovely post for such a lovely lady. Thank you so much for putting this little party together — and for sharing this pasta, as I am bookmarking it to make for all the days that end in Y.
All the days that end in Y. <--- Love!
Oh, I just love this, Melissa! Hallie sounds totally adorable, and I love the simplicity of this recipe.
Erin: Congratulations!!!!! xoxoxoxo
This was the sweetest post! You have a way with words, friend. : ) And I cannot wait to try this sauce out!
You are seriously the best and you can bet that I’m stocking up on tomatoes in the next week. I’m also sure that I’ll be in the same boat as you when it comes to singing Silent Night (which is even more sad on my part given I have degrees in music education for children 😉
I’m sure I’ll also be texting you for reassurance that it’s okay I don’t know lullabies 🙂
You are going to make one great mama. I can’t wait to watch you (and learn from you)!
Thank you so much for putting this potluck together Melissa! This pasta looks wonderful and so simple, and I’m enamored with these photos – so sharp and clean.
Oh my goodness, that’s a huge compliment. I stare at your pictures. Stare. They are beautiful!