Attempt at Scott Conant’s Marinara
So it seems many chefs and food critics tout Scott Conant of Scarpetta as having the best tomato sauce and I decided to try to make it at home. This post is just about the sauce making process.
The sauce turned out to take more time than I thought, certainly compared to buying a jar for $2.99 at the grocery store. I think it’s worth it to try making once, if only to determine for yourself if you like it better too. The actual Scarpetta sauce has much more flavor than my homemade version, but the home version did have a bright strong tomato flavor that jars don’t normally have. The flavor is very light and refreshing, though I suppose the body becomes richer once butter is added during the pan saute process.
First off, I used vine-tomatoes rather than plum tomatoes – just because that was what I had. I scored the bottom with an x, took out the core, boiled them for 15 seconds and then dunked them into an ice bath before peeling the skin.
I then cut the tomatoes in half and squeezed them to take out the seeds. This is done I think because seeds are undesirable in sauce, and also done to drain some liquid and prevent the sauce from being watery.
I then took my tomatoes, dumped them into a pot with a bit of olive oil and a pinch of salt. They simmered over medium heat for 45 minutes and I just used my potato masher to smash the tomatoes. That was fun to write. And to say outloud. Say it 6 times fast.
While the tomatoes were breaking down, I did start making the basil garlic olive oil to later add into the broken-down tomatoes. I just grabbed about two gigantic stalks worth of basil and a couple of cloves of garlic – I didn’t have italian chili flakes, but I just ended up adding cayenne to the final product.
After letting the oil cook separately for about half an hour on very very low heat, I strained it and added it to the sauce as it finished up cooking. I added some salt and cayenne to taste, and the sauce was finished!
If I were to make the sauce again, I would try adding a lot more chili flakes (or cayenne) than the recipe calls for since the spice was quite subtle (and I like spice). Also, I’d make sure to squeeze the tomato seeds/juice out more than I did, since it’s always easier to add juices back in, rather than take it out once the sauce is too watery (mine turned out ok, but it’s probably better technique-wise to just squeeze the heck out of them tomatos). Otherwise, the sauce was pretty good! It wasn’t creamy or thick, and was very refreshing to try.
Let me know what you guys think about Conant’s recipe compared to store bought sauce!