I got a little ambitious at the farmer’s market the other week and bought a lot of end of season tomatoes at a great price. The week got away from me, and I found myself with a lot of the tomatoes on the verge of going bad. Since fall is right around the corner, I decided to make a batch of tomato paste for stew and braising season. While it is a bit of a time commitment, the overall method is simple. It’s also a great way to use up a lot of tomatoes that may be spotty or overripe.
Tomato paste is pretty much concentrated tomatoes, but it is an essential item to have in your pantry. Use it at the beginning of a recipe to sauté with the ingredients, and it will add an amazing depth of flavor. Add it to braised meats, soups or sauces for a complex flavor or add to a marinade for some color.
Once you have made your tomato paste, you can store in your refrigerator or freezer. A great storage method is to use an ice cube tray to freeze individual size tomato paste that you can use when needed. You should only need a tablespoon or two for most recipes.
Homemade Tomato Paste
Active Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 4 hours
Yield: Makes about 1/2 cup
3 pounds red tomatoes, ripe
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon honey
Salt to taste
1. Preheat oven to 250°.
2. Remove core and halve the tomatoes. With a spoon, remove the seeds.
3. Add the tomatoes to a stockpot and add olive oil. Over medium heat, bring the tomatoes to a simmer and cook until softened and juices are released, about 20 minutes. You may need to break into pieces with a spoon.
4. Puree mix using an immersion blender or similar tool. Careful if your mixture is still hot as it will splatter easily. Strain puree if skins and seeds are still visibly present.
5. Return to pot; add honey and salt. Simmer until water has evaporated and it has become thick about 20 minutes. You may need to use a lid angled to allow steam out as it will splatter while simmering.
6. Scoop thickened puree into baking dish or oiled sheet pan. Evenly distribute a thin layer across.
7. Bake for 2-3 hours stirring every 30 minutes. Puree should be reduced and darker red color- very thick. Allow to cool.
Since you will be a tomato paste pro after making this, make sure to sign up for one of our upcoming fall classes at The Chopping Block to refine your braising or stew making skills.
- Autumn Soups and Stews
- The Art of Braising Boot Camp
- Butcher’s Cut: Beyond the Common Cut
- Sauce Boot Camp
- Culinary Boot Camp