August 27, 2020

Tomato Butter Tomato Sauce Recipe

Chopped tomatoes, butter and basil (ingredients for tomato butter sauce)

Our Hilltop Garden in Ely, Minnesota is producing a copious amount of tomatoes. We started early girl and Roma tomato seeds back in our St. Paul house in March, and planted them here in our Zone 3 garden on Memorial Day. It took a while, but finally, the Tomatoes starting producing in mid-August and produce they have! I have had 4 bags full of tomatoes to date. I have made 4 sheets of oven-dried tomatoes (see recipe below) and with the remainder, I have been making and freezing an adapted recipe of Marcella Hazan’s famous butter tomato sauce.

This sauce is the perfect sauce for garden tomatoes. The flavor is neutral enough to really let the tomatoes shine. You can cook it briefly and serve over noodles or you can cook it longer to intensify the flavors. At any point you can add herbs, meatballs or additional vegetables or ground meat for various flavor profiles. I like to blend the sauce with a hand blender, and usually add a small jar of tomato paste to deepen the color.

I freeze my sauce in pint or quart jars (leave an inch of headroom for freezer expansion) but you can also freeze it laying flat in plastic Bags.

If the copious amount of tomatoes gets you down throw them whole in the freezer and make this sauce later when you have more energy or are running low. All you need to do is thaw them and throw them in a pot.

Tomato Butter Sauce in jars next to fresh tomatoes

Tomato Butter Tomato Sauce Recipe


  • 1 medium onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2.5 pounds fresh, ripe tomatoes
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter
  • Salt to taste


  1. Sauté the onions in olive oil until translucent.
  2. Chop all your tomatoes in large chunks - I dice the Romas in half and quarter them.
  3. Add tomatoes to the onions and cook uncovered at a very slow, but steady simmer for about 45 minutes, or until it is thickened to your liking.
  4. Stir from time to time, mashing up any large pieces of tomato with the back of a wooden spoon.
  5. Add the salt.
  6. Add the stick of butter and let it melt.
  7. Blend the sauce with an immersion blender to break up any large chunks and incorporate the butter and the onions.
  8. Reserve and store sauce. 

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