No tomato marinara was the Personal Chef challenge for today.
How was I going make Chicken Parmesan taste amazing with no marinara sauce? No tomato paste, no crushed tomatoes and no diced tomatoes, allowed. I needed full deep flavors with a thick texture to make a satisfying sauce for my client.
The picture shows the amazing texture and the color hints at the rich flavor. What you can’t know is that the aroma was sweet and rich and the flavor was unbelievable. If you are on a nightshades restrictive diet, you will LOVE this sauce.
How did I do it? Read on for my No Tomato Marinara……
This recipe will take 4 hours. There are a lot of steps involved. Each step adds an important layer of flavor to the marinara sauce. The sauce should freeze very well. You can make a triple batch and freeze for later.
No Tomato Marinara by Chef Pharrell Worthylake
3 small beets, peeled and sliced 1/4″ thick
3 small carrots, peeled, sliced 2″ pieces
1 large onion, peeled and quartered
10 garlic medium cloves, whole; make a pouch with foil and put these inside, keep a small opening in the top
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 750ml Cabernet (Good Quality is important here $10.00 a bottle, at least)
1 large zucchini, sliced along the peel, slice peels into small dice pieces to resemble bell pepper (or use green bell pepper, my client cannot have peppers either) Reserve the middle white with seeds intact. Grate the white part with a cheese grater, set aside for later.
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped (divided into 1/4 cup portions) Keep the stems
1/2 cup fresh oregano, chopped (divided into 1/4 cup portions) Keep the stems.
1 tablespoon kosher salt (to taste)
1 teaspoon fresh ground white pepper (to taste) (You could use 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, instead )
3 cups vegetable broth, low sodium
2 bay leafs
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons sunflower oil (or other high smoke point oil)
1 tablespoon olive oil for finishing
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Prepare two large baking sheets by coating with a thin layer of olive oil. Toss the sliced beets and sliced carrots in a bowl with a good drizzle of olive oil. Lightly salt (salt helps them to caramelize more quickly). Spread these in a single layer on the baking sheets. Add the onion to the same bowl and gently toss with a little olive oil and salt, try to keep the quarters from separating. (If they separate, they will burn before the other vegetables are finished). Add the onions to the baking sheet. Drizzle a little olive oil into the packet with the garlic. Set the packet on the baking sheet as well. Check the vegetables to make sure they are not crowded. If they are too close, their moisture will not evaporate efficiently and they will steam, not caramelize.
Put the vegetables in the preheated oven. Check them at 30 minutes, adjust the time. They should be dark brown on the edges and tops, not burned. When they are done, let them cool on the baking sheet.
Meanwhile, you can flavor the wine. Here’s another secret to developing a deep rich flavor in your No Tomato Marinara. You need to make a great fond. Use a stainless steel sauce pan or calphalon pan which is non reactive. If you use an aluminum or a cast iron pan, your wine will turn sour.
Create a fond in your sauce pan. Brown the remaining medium onion a the high smoke point oil of your choice. I like avocado or sunflower oil. Neither has a flavor and I can get them readily in an organic brand. You don’t want your oil to smoke. It ruins the flavor of your sauce and it is not healthy to consume burnt oil. Back to the fond. Brown the onions for 1o to 12 minutes and get a nice color on them. Be patient here. This step adds a lot to the flavor. After you have your onions browned, add the remaining minced garlic. Cook only for one minute. Remove from the pan and put in a bowl, set aside. Repeat the browning process with the green zucchini pieces, set those aside in the bowl with the onions and garlic. Then increase the heat to medium high and add the entire bottle of wine to the pot. YES< The entire bottle :).
Cook on high until reduced to 2 cups, or by half the amount.
While the wine is reducing, grab your food processor. Place the roasted vegetables and roasted garlic in the food processor in batches. How much depends on the size of your food processor. Add a little of the vegetable stock and pulse until very smooth. I did mine in three batches. Add this to the wine. Add all of the remaining vegetable stock. Add the first portion of the herbs. Tie the stems together with kitchen twine and put into the sauce for more flavor. Add the bayleaf. Add the grated zucchini. Add the salt and pepper, to taste.
Simmer the No Tomato Marinara gently, uncovered for two hours. Remove the stems and the bay leaf. Add the chopped onion, garlic and zucchini mixture. Stir and simmer for another 30 minutes to an hour. Add the remaining fresh herbs and olive oil and simmer 10 minutes.
You are ready to enjoy your No Tomato Marinara. This will be better the next day and will freeze beautifully.
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