Reinventing plant-based eating is what Tal Ronnen is all about. At his Los Angeles restaurant, Crossroads, ( Artisan, 2015) the menu is vegan, but there are no soybeans or bland seitan to be found. He and his executive chef, Scot Jones, turn seasonal vegetables, beans, nuts, and grains into sophisticated Mediterranean fare—think warm bowls of tomato-sauced pappardelle, plates of spicy carrot salad, and crunchy flatbreads piled high with roasted vegetables. In this recipe you will learn to make a marinara sauce that is perfect in texture and a versatile addition to most dishes.
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.
Scoty's Marinara Sauce Recipe
• Two 28-ounce cans whole tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
• 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 onion, finely chopped
• 4 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 carrot, finely grated (about 1/2 cup)
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
• Pinch of baking soda
• 4 fresh basil leaves, chopped
• 1 tablespoon Earth Balance butter stick
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.
Try these other recipes from Crossroads:
Excerpted from Crossroads by Tal Ronnen with Scot Jones. (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2015. Photographs by Lisa Romerein.