Canned tomatoes in Italian cooking [Archive] - Glock Talk

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The Pontificator
11-11-2007, 08:59
When making sauces I tend to be a non-traditionalist and use crushed tomatoes in puree.

Why?

Aside from the convenience factor, most whole canned tomatoes contain citric acid and/or calcium chloride as a preservative. They keep the tomatoes from breaking down and you could cook them all day and they still wouldn't break down.

Yeah, I could simply put them in a blender and puree them but that just dirties another kitchen appliance and for the most part using crushed tomatoes vs. whole offers no discernable difference in taste.

I also buy "american' brands vs. imported Italian brands. Unless you live near an Italian grocery that has a high turnover in inventory you're probably buying something that has sat on the shelf forever. I'll buy an .99 can of Del Monte over paying $3.00+ for a can of Pastene that's sat on the shelf for the past 5 years and is covered with dust. I wanna taste tomatoes, not the can in which they were packed.

Soups? I use either crushed or diced. I like the small pieces.

Pizza sauce? One of the few instances where there is no substitue for whole plum tomatoes. I drain the juice, discard the basil leaf, and puree them in the blender with a little sea salt, black pepper, and Xtra virgin Olive oil.

Yum.

Garweh
11-11-2007, 10:09
Same here. This time of year, fresh tomatoes taste like cardboard. I use canned crushed tomatoes in puree. My favorite brand is Angelia Mia, a Hunt's product. Not always available so mostly I use Contadina. Both have good tomato flavor. Have not tried top-rated Muir Glen, just cannot justify $3.00 per 28 oz. can.

MrsKitty
11-11-2007, 11:23
We can and freeze tomatoes every summer to use during the winter. Sure, they are thinner than canned crushed in puree-ed ones but the taste is so much better. :)

If I have to buy, I go for diced or crushed in puree, depending on what I am doing with them. I won't pay extra for an "Italian" tomato either.

For tomato sauce and paste, we buy huge cans and freeze it in an ice cube tray. Just grab a few cubes out of the freezer when we need it. I make pesto during the summer and freeze it in ice cubes too.

mitchshrader
11-11-2007, 11:29
NO SUGAR. crushed tomatoes and puree, and cook it on LOW.. (lower than that).. ;) ..

and more garlic. :) I like to use lemon basil, a splash of balsamic, and sometimes i'll even throw a hunk of lemon peel in the sauce while it simmers.. i do NOT like sweet spaghetti sauce..

lethal tupperwa
11-11-2007, 15:19
a shot of red wine brings out flavor that needs alcohol to bloom.

tavo
11-11-2007, 17:45
......

MrsKitty
11-11-2007, 20:24
a shot of red wine brings out flavor that needs alcohol to bloom.

I have been known to use white if that is what I was drinking. Not as good as red but it's better than nothing.

Romadoc
11-12-2007, 15:45
I go to Costco and get their large cans of San Marzano whole tomatoes. These are then run through a Food Mill, not a food processor. The Food Mill allows me to choose what size bits of tomato I want, from large to exceedingly fine. This is done by a choice of 3 discs of different size. I learned this by working in Italy for almost 30 years and speaking to the locals. When in Rome, do as the Romans. Food Mills can be purchased from about $20 dollars up to $100. The difference is plastic or stainless. Mine is aluminum and was purchased for about $8 in Rome in the 1970's.

The Pontificator
12-02-2007, 15:17
I go to Costco and get their large cans of San Marzano whole tomatoes. These are then run through a Food Mill, not a food processor. The Food Mill allows me to choose what size bits of tomato I want, from to exceedingly fine. This is done by a choice of 3 discs of different size. I learned this by working in Italy for almost 30 years and speaking to the locals. When in Rome, do as the Romans. Food Mills can be purchased from about $20 dollars up to $100. The difference is plastic or stainless. Mine is aluminum and was purchased for about $8 in Rome in the 1970's.


I have been looking at some food mills but but have no idea what to buy. I certainly don't want to spend $100 on one yet the $20 ones don't seem to get very good reviews.

I was looking at the middle range. OXO "good grips" makes one.

The Pontificator
12-08-2007, 18:19
Bought the OXO food mill today and ran a can of san marzano 'maters through it using the 'medium' screen. holes are small enough to trap the seeds but personally I like some "chunks" in my sauce so next time I'll try the 'coarse' screen.

Mill is solid as a Marine. Excellent, excellent quality! Three thumbs up!

Remander
12-09-2007, 00:26
I use Cento, and also Muir Glen.

They cost more, but I like them.

I used some Hunts whole tomatoes (instead of cardboard "fresh") last night in a pinch when preparing the filling for some stuffed grape leaves. Worked great.

Also, I have started watching the sodium content on canned goods of all kinds. Most are high, but there is a lot of difference between brands.

The Pontificator
12-09-2007, 08:18
I have started watching the sodium content on canned goods of all kinds. Most are high, but there is a lot of difference between brands.

What brands tend to be lower in sodium? Tomatoes, that is...

The Pontificator
12-09-2007, 08:21
One brand of tomatoes I'll never use again is Pampa (Argentina) mfr. and distributed by Transnational foods. Pampa products are typically sold in grocery store's $1 or "2fer" section.

Given the huge number of people of Italian extraction living in Argentina you'd think they'd know something about tomatoes. These are AWFUL. All you smell is the reeking odor of tin can, not tomatoes. :puking:

The Pontificator
12-09-2007, 10:49
If didn't can it myself, I use whole. You can hide a whole bunch of rasty bits in a can of puree or crushed. Also many more skin fragments.

If I'm in a hurry, I use an immersion blender to get the consistency I want. It makes quick work of the occasional fibrous piece.




Just for grins I put a 28 oz. can of Corina crushed tomatoes (USA, $1 at Dollar Tree) through the medium screen of my food mill. The result? A beautiful thick, rich sauce with the seeds and skin bits...more than I expected...left behind. I was surprised. :cool: