I felt a little trepidation making my baked tomato sauce and serving it to a friend who grew up in Italy. I actually made the sauce as an accompaniment to taste test some zucchini pasta which I cut in different sizes.
I also served Kamut pasta* as a comparison to the zucchini pasta. The zucchini pasta had no votes and it was agreed that it would be a palatable side dish but the baked tomato sauce got rave reviews. I was told that in Italy they do not make tomato sauce in the oven. My friend told me that Italians will cook their sauce on the stove top but don’t bake anything in the oven unless absolutely necessary so they will not heat up the house. They tend to grill their meat as well. Again no oven to keep the heat down. I pulled out my edition of “The Silver Spoon” which is a major Italian cookbook , a kitchen reference work originally published in 1950. It was only translated to English 10 years ago. This would be similar to our “Joy of Cooking”. Indeed there was no reference to a baked tomato sauce in this Italian cooking bible. When you bake the tomato sauce the tomatoes take on a concentrated sweet flavour almost like sun-dried tomatoes or tomato paste. It is really delicious.
This recipe has anchovies which I hate. You do not tasted the anchovies in this sauce. It disappears and just adds that mysterious taste that is referred to as umami. Now you know what umami tastes like if you didn’t before. This is it. Another guest was an anchovy hater as well but loved the sauce and didn’t notice the anchovies.
FOOD TIP: When I researched baked tomato sauces, some recipes strained the tomatoes for a smooth texture. Since all my guests raved about the chunky tomatoes, I always serve my sauce in the yummy, chunky version. You can use this sauce for spicy minestrone soup, Italian meatloaf, poached fish, chili, rice and ratatouille.
*Kamut is an ancient form of wheat. While its probably lower in gluten than modern wheat, it still has gluten in it.