Baked Tomato Sauce Recipe

My Baked Tomato Sauce is so EASY to make! The magic is in the fresh ingredients. No more stirring and simmering over a hot stove.
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2 lbs or 1 kg tomatoes
1 small tin anchovies (drained and diced)
3 cloves garlic sliced
1/2 tsp.(2ml)  freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp.(2ml)  hot red chili flakes (optional)
1/4 tsp. (1ml) salt (optional)
1/4 cup (50 ml.) extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup (50ml.)   chopped fresh basil or parsley
add 6 thyme sprigs (optional / recommended) and/or sliced onions before baking.

1)  Preheat oven to 350F(160C)
2)  Slice tomatoes into 1/2″ (1 cm.) slices and layer in a casserole dish with the chili flakes, anchovies, garlic and pepper.  Optionally add salt as well.  Pour olive oil on top.
3)  Roast in the oven for 1 hour or until the tomatoes are soft and caramelized.
4)  Keep warm and cook your pasta.
5)  Toss pasta with sauce and sprinkle with the basil or parsley.

in-depthIN DEPTH:
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Interesting back story
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didyouknowDID YOU KNOW? HEIRLOOM Tomatoes are increasing in popularity by the organic veggie consumers because they are a more natural and flavourful fruit. TOMATOES are armed with healthy Lycopene fighting free radical and the UV tomato skin battles cancer cells – every time you eat a tomato. The amount of bioavailable lycopene increases by cooking the tomato compared to eating them raw.  When you add a bit of healthy fat like olive oil, your body absorbs the lycopene more readily – four times more in fact. That’s how you maximize the body readiness of carotenoids from a tomato.This popular nightshade fruit is more powerful than an apple. Like carrots, the tomato is also good for your eyes.

Baked Tomato Sauce (back story)

all-recipes3 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.

Zucchini Pasta - Two Different Shredders

Zucchini Pasta – Two Different Shredders

KAMUT pasta:
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. silver-spoonIt 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.

HAT2FOOD 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.