Tomato paste is a thick, concentrated paste made from tomatoes that have been cooked for several hours, strained, and reduced. It is commonly used as a base for sauces, soups, stews, and other dishes to add a rich tomato flavor and a thick consistency.
Tomato paste is made by simmering tomatoes until they break down into a thick sauce, and then straining the sauce to remove the seeds and skins. The resulting liquid is then cooked down until it reaches a paste-like consistency. The paste is usually sold in small cans or tubes and is highly concentrated, so a little goes a long way in recipes.
In addition to its use in cooking, tomato paste is also a good source of vitamins A and C and is low in calories, making it a healthy addition to a variety of dishes. It can also be used as a pizza topping or as a base for marinades and dressings.
Here’s a simple recipe for making tomato paste at home:
- 5 lbs (2.2 kg) ripe tomatoes
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- Wash the tomatoes and cut off the stem end. Cut them into quarters.
- In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the tomatoes, salt, sugar, and black pepper.
- Cook the tomatoes, stirring occasionally, until they break down into a thick sauce, about 45 minutes to an hour.
- Let the sauce cool, and then blend it in a food processor or blender until it’s smooth.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the tomato sauce evenly over the sheet.
- Bake the tomato sauce in the oven at 250°F (120°C) for 4 to 6 hours, stirring occasionally, until it has thickened and darkened in color.
- Let the tomato paste cool, and then transfer it to a jar or container. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week, or freeze for longer storage.
Note: You can adjust the seasoning to your taste, and add other herbs or spices as desired. You can also skip the baking step and just cook the tomato sauce on the stovetop until it reaches the desired consistency.