Tag Archives: tomatoes

The Italian Pantry: Canned Tomatoes

Some Italians still can their own tomatoes, but most people buy them in cans in the store. There’s a debate whether fresh tomatoes or canned tomatoes are best for making tomato sauce/gravy. Most Italians prefer to use canned tomatoes. Even food writer and Italian food expert Arthur Schwartz notes that Italians prefer canned tomatoes because they taste better.

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What is it used for? Italians keep a variety of canned tomato products in their pantry: crushed, peeled, strained, diced, tomato sauce, tomato puree. Each of these is a different product. Canned peeled or crushed tomatoes are used for making tomato sauce/gravy. You can crush the whole tomatoes by hand or just used crushed tomatoes. Crushed are what we use most. For a lighter sauce (i.e. not the standard tomato sauce/gravy), you can use tomato sauce. (An example is my eggs and sauce dish.) For a thicker sauce or as a tomato paste, you can use tomato puree or strained tomatoes. The tomatoes can be used in soups as well.

–Dina Di Maio

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