09 August 2010

Green Beans with Tomato-Butter Sauce

I'd been reading for months now about the wonder of a particular (Internet sensation) tomato sauce, made with three simple ingredients. While I'm on a self imposed pasta-ban, and in fact am more partial to 15-ingredient tomato sauce recipes, the gushing over Marcela Hazan's sauce was so universally over the top I figured I had to give it a try. 

The resultant sauce is notable mainly for its richness, almost as though replicating the flavor of cream-based tomato sauces. I suspect also that home cooks everywhere love the ease of the sauce -- literally the only thing you need purchase is a can of whole tomatoes, assuming you keep onions and butter around your kitchen. The sauce can mostly be left to its own devices, with the assistance of some occasional crushing of the tomatoes and makes a fine basic sauce for things other than pasta, as in, green beans with tomato sauce.   
This pretty green bundle of fresh beans looked lovely when accompanied with the sauce, which added a sweetness and tartness to them, and was a bit more special than just adding plain crushed tomatoes to a pan of steamed beans.   
Green Beans with Tomato-Butter Sauce
Sauce from Marcella Hazan
Serves 4

2 lb green beans 
Generous pinch of sea salt

For the Sauce
28 ounces whole peeled tomatoes from a can 
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium-sized yellow onion, peeled and halved
Salt to taste

Place the tomatoes, butter, and onion in a medium or large saucepan and bring to a simmer.  Cook for 45-50 minutes, occasionally mashing and crushing the tomatoes against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon. Toward the end of cooking, add the salt to your tastes and keep warm, covered at low heat while you prepare the beans. 

Green Beans: Wash and snap stem ends off from green beans.  Add about 1/4 cup water to a wide bottomed sauce pan or frying pan or wok. Bring the water to a boil and add salt, then add the beans. Cover and turn down heat to medium-low and steam till cooked as desired -- approximately 3-5 minutes. Dump into a colander and shake until dry (you can also cover with a kitchen towel at this stage to rid the beans of excess moisture).

Return to original pan add half of tomato sauce, reserving the rest for another purpose. Turn up heat and season with further salt if necessary, let simmer in sauce for 2 minutes and serve.  These can also be served at room temperature for a picnic and taste just as nice.  

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