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The rainy day lunch of dreams

Rigatoni with a tomato and butter sauce. (Jan.

Rigatoni with a tomato and butter sauce. (Jan. 12, 2010) (Credit: Timothy Fadek)

Here’s what I want for lunch today: a big bowl of macaroni that I eat with a spoon while curled up on the couch watching television.

My go-to pasta sauce is made from canned tomatoes, olive oil and garlic, but when I need extra comfort, it’s butter I seek. The easiest solution to this problem is to cook up a vast quantity of elbow pasta, drain it and toss with butter, grated Parmesan and black pepper. When I have a little more time and want to expend a smidgen more effort, I make this sauce from what I think of as the world’s best cookbook,  Marcella Hazan’s “Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking” (Knopf, $35).

TOMATO SAUCE WITH ONION AND BUTTER
1 (28-ounce) can peeled tomatoes, crushed, with the juice
½ cup (1 stick) butter
1 large onion, peeled and cut in half
Salt

1. Put all ingredients in a saucepan and cook, uncovered, at a slow but steady simmer, stirring from time to time and mashing any large pieces of tomato in the pan with the back of a wooden spoon. Cook until the fat floats free from the tomatoes, about 45 minutes. Taste and correct for salt.
2. Discard the onion before tossing sauce with pasta. Makes about 2 cups of sauce, enough for 1 to 1½ pounds of pasta.

Sadly, the macaroni-TV lunch is not in the cards for me today. But I brought some heirloom tomatoes with me to the office, along with some slices of white toast and mayonnaise. Yes it is tomato-sandwich season.
 

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