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Food for Thought: World's easiest pasta sauce

Nancy Leson
Nancy's results from Marcella Hazan's recipe.

Back by popular demand:  Nancy's favorite easiest pasta sauce from 2016

There's nothing I like better than spending a whole day or two working a complicated recipe.  I'm a little nuts that way.  But just as games with the simplest rules often have the most depth, sometimes the simplest recipes yield the the most flavor.

Nancy Leson's candidate comes from cookbook author Marcella Hazan.  Nance says it's "reputedly the world's simplest, most delicious sauce.  I really could not get over the complexity of flavor out of just three ingredients."

Those three ingredients are canned Italian tomatoes, butter and an onion.  And you don't even have to chop the onion.  Just cut it in half.  Here's how Marcella, and now Nancy, do it.

Nance and I also point out the virtue of finishing the slightly undercooked pasta in the sauce itself.  Folding in a small ladle of the starchy pasta water will help the sauce adhere.  Toss 'till coated; add salt to taste and a sprinkle of Parmesan and chow down. 

Leson may be fielding the world's simplest recipe but I can brag that my simplest is also the most sustainable.  It's beanie weenies made with phoenix meat weenies. When you grill them, new weenies rise from the ashes.

Fork: "Who was that ladle I saw you with last night?"

Spoon: "That was no ladle.  That was my knife." – Query inscribed on cuneiform tablet found in Indiana.

Dick Stein joined KNKX in January 1992. He retired in 2020 after three decades on air. During his storied radio career, he hosted the morning jazz show, co-hosted and produced "Food for Thought" with Nancy Leson and wrote and directed the Jimmy Jazzoid live radio musical comedies and 100 episodes of Jazz Kitchen.