The Secret Ingredient Guy Fieri Likes To Add To Italian Sauces

Restaurateur Guy Fieri is definitely a fan of Italian food, and he shared this passion with the world while visiting Italy for his show "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives." Chances are he didn't stick to ordinary pizza and pasta dishes, as the foodie certainly had plenty of options available to expand his taste buds. Although they get a lot of hate, anchovies are a significant component of Italian cuisine, according to Fine Dining Lovers. Whether Fieri discovered his love for the tiny fish on his Italian journey or elsewhere, he is certainly a proponent of incorporating them into dishes.

Before memories of over-salted anchovy pizza from your childhood come to mind, hear us out! As Fieri told the Food Network, "Anchovies don't get enough respect," and we have to agree. The fish can be used in a fairly wide range of ways and can be fresh or preserved in salt. They can be fairly intense in flavor but their best use isn't necessarily to eat them directly from their salty tin containers. Fieri is well aware and tells the Food Network, "I like to incorporate them in my sauce to add depth with a little bit of saltiness." Indeed, a classic Caesar salad or a Puttanesca pasta sauce are made using well-masqueraded anchovies, as Paesana explains.

How can you use anchovies in your cooking?

As noted by Paesana, anchovies are packed with umami flavor, an often misunderstood and decidedly complex taste. This characteristic adds an extra dimension that pairs well with other flavors and can be heightened when combined with food that is also high in umami taste. Guy Fieri explained to the Food Network that he loves using anchovies when he prepares Italian dishes. Anchovies are a perfect match for classic Italian flavors, especially when you consider that tomatoes and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese are also excellent sources of umami, according to the Umami Information Center.

If you're still pretty skeptical but are open to experimentation, follow Fine Dining Lovers' recommendation and dissolve the little fish in oil over the stovetop to use for sautéing aromatics. The subtle addition will infuse depth and flavor without overpowering your dish. Or let yourself be guided by Fieri's palate and whip up one of his delicious Italian recipes starring anchovies, such as this anchovy bucatini recipe on the Food Network website. Perhaps the combination of umami from the anchovies with the Parmigiano-Reggiano and red peppers will make you wonder why you've waited so long to cook with the little fish. When your dinner guests ask you what makes the dish so flavorful, just smile and tell them it's a secret between you and Guy Fieri.