PHOTO TUTORIAL | PRINTABLE RECIPE | HUNGRY FOR TIPS?
Fear Conquered: Homemade Tomato Paste
When I first realized that I wanted to stop cooking with cans, jars, pre-made mixes, and prepackaged shortcuts, I was terrified of a life without tomato paste. So many of my favorite recipes I grew up with relied heavily on this simple paste - stuffed shells, spaghetti and meatballs, spinach lasagna, marinara sauce, pizza, meatloaf, and even copper pennies carrot salad. Tomato paste was always the special something extra with that gave tomato life to any recipe - and it was as easy as opening a can.
Growing up, I was so reliant on tomato paste that when it was my turn to make dinner, I would first check the pantry for a can of paste before I even figured out what I was going to make. Because if there was a can of paste, I knew I had easy options for a quick dinner. And if there wasn't a can of paste, I would immediately add it to my dad's grocery list - and start puzzling what the devil I was going to make that didn't require tomato paste. For years I trusted canned tomato paste to help get dinner on the table, and even when I started cooking for Boyfriend Javelin, tomato paste was the one ingredient I always kept well stocked.
Once I banished cans from my kitchen (to avoid that dreadful BPA), I made a bargain with myself: tomato paste was the only ingredient I would use from a can. And I would try not to use it. I had always believed tomato paste was terribly difficult to make and suspected it involved some kind of esoteric processing magic known only to tomato canners. Thus, what could I do but continue to ingest that occasional bit of BPA with my canned paste?
Determined to kick the can entirely, I tried to eliminate paste from my recipes, but I soon realized it just wasn't practical. Sometimes there is no good substitute for tomato paste. Sometimes it truly is the best option. So I found myself grudgingly opening yet another can and turning a blind eye to the BPA. Which left me cringing in shame and frustration. If only I could make my own tomato paste…
And then I did. It all happened by accident, really. I was simmering a batch of marinara sauce, waiting for the sauce to reduce and thicken, and idly thinking I should try pureeing the sauce at the end. And after pureeing the sauce, I wondered if I would need to reduce it again for a thicker consistency. Suddenly, I knew how I would make tomato paste - puree marinara sauce then cook out all the liquid until it formed a paste.
Just like that, fear conquered. Goodbye cans, goodbye BPA. And it's so simple it's hard to believe it took me so many years to kick the can.
STORY | PRINTABLE RECIPE | HUNGRY FOR TIPS?
|Start with 1 cup homemade marinara sauce|
|Puree the marinara sauce in a blender|
|Transfer the tomato puree to a small pot|
|Cover and simmer puree over low heat for 30-40 minutes|
|Stir puree every 10 minutes and reduce heat as puree thickens|
|Puree will change into tomato paste|
|Store tomato paste in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator|
STORY | PHOTO TUTORIAL | HUNGRY FOR TIPS?
Homemade Tomato Paste
Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: 30 min
Ingredients (1/2 cup paste)
- 1 cup homemade marinara sauce
- In an electric blender, puree the marinara sauce until completely smooth
- Pour the tomato puree into a small pot over low heat and simmer, partially covered, for 30-45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes and gradually reducing the heat as the sauce thickens into a paste
- Cool the paste completely before storing in an airtight container in the refrigerator; the paste can be stored for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator or up to 6 months in the freezer
An original recipe by Javelin Warrior. © 2012 Javelin Warrior. All rights reserved.
Powered by Recipage
STORY | PHOTO TUTORIAL | PRINTABLE RECIPE
Hungry for Tips?
- Homemade tomato paste is not as brilliantly red in color as the canned variety - it’s more of a deep red, closer in color to empire red. For me, this isn’t a problem because I rarely use tomato paste for the color.
- As the steam escapes from the tomato puree, it will gradually thicken and eventually form a paste. Once it forms a paste, it will burn easily if left over heat, so watch the thickened puree closely once it’s close to a paste consistency.
- I use my marinara sauce as a starting point for my tomato paste because I always have a least a couple quarts in my freezer so it’s easy to just grab one when I’m ready to make paste. However, you could also make this paste using plain tomatoes without any seasonings: 1) Cook down the tomatoes into a sauce, 2) Puree the sauce, 3) Reduce the sauce until it forms a paste.
|Scan to view recipe on your mobile device|