If tomorrow was my last day on earth, I’d request a fresh piece of focaccia dunked in a vat of Scoty’s marinara for my last meal. A well-made marinara should be thick enough to cling to pasta and vegetables yet light and fresh enough to balance whatever it’s paired with. Cooked in under an hour, Scoty’s sauce is thick but not heavy. Grated carrot is the secret weapon, lending both its natural sweetness and texture.
Be sure to seek out canned San Marzano tomatoes, which are now available at most grocery stores. This Italian tomato variety is coveted for its low acidity, bright flavor, and deep red color. This is the only marinara sauce you’ll ever need. We use it in Fig Caponata, Spiced Chickpeas, and Puttanesca Sauce, among other dishes.
1. Working in batches, put the tomatoes, along with their juice, in a food processor or blender and puree just until semi-smooth; you want a little bit of chunky texture.
2. Put a medium pot over medium heat and add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the onion, garlic, and carrot, season with salt, black pepper, and the red pepper flakes, and sauté until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.
3. Add the pureed tomatoes, stirring to combine, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until the sauce thickens, about 45 minutes. Season the sauce with more salt and black pepper, to taste. Remove from the heat, stir in the baking soda, making sure it dissolves, and add the basil and butter substitute.
4. Once cooled, the sauce can be refrigerated covered for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months.
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Excerpted from Crossroads by Tal Ronnen, with Scot Jones. (Artisan Books). Copyright (c) 2015. Photographs by Lisa Romerein.