One Ingredient, Three Ways: Tomato Paste Edition

Gentle Readers, there is no greater satisfaction than sharing a tip with a fellow cook. For me this week, that came in the form of tomato paste in a tube. Yes, it’s not a great choice for brushing teeth, but it’s ideal for ramping up flavor or serving as a thickening agent. Use a little, use a lot, up to you. I’m never without a tube of this in my fridge.

Why use toothpaste when you can use tomato paste?

Why use toothpaste when you can use tomato paste?

One Ingredient, Three Ways: Tomato Paste

1. Spaghetti Sauce. If you need to Punt! with commercial jarred sauce (and I’m not proud, I do need to oftentimes), I strongly recommend adding a flavor of some sort. I often use pesto cubes, a splash of balsamic, or, wait for it, a dash of tomato paste. That way you can rinse the jar with water, which dilutes the flavor, and replace with some tomato paste, bringing you back above the level mark.

Twist and Fill Spaghetti Bird's Nests

Twist and Fill Spaghetti Bird's Nests

2. Tomato Soup. This was a key element in driving the flavor meter up. Also, learned the trick of browning it slightly to further intensify the taste. Yum.

Homemade Tomato Soup with Toasted Pimento Cheese

Homemade Tomato Soup with Toasted Pimento Cheese

3. Tacos. Perhaps you noted that the other night I had an epic measuring fail when making tacos from a seasoning packet. Really, how sad is that? Undeterred, I reduced and reduced, but grew impatient at the end. I added a couple of teaspoons of tomato paste, stirred, and bam, thickened taco meat. And, bonus, it was way better than usual. That Punt! just became a permanent installation in the Taco Night! pantheon.

Are you a tomato paste fan? How do you you use it? Post a comment below!

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Tomorrow, Chicken Bowl Recipe!

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4 Comments

Filed under One Ingredient Three Ways, Punt!

4 responses to “One Ingredient, Three Ways: Tomato Paste Edition

  1. one of my pet peeves is “impractical food packaging,” with canned tomato paste at the top of the list. i often do not need the whole can, so what to do with the left-over portion? put the can into the fridge? no, too often has this resulted in dried-out or moldy paste in just a few days’ time. place into a plastic bag and freeze? that works, but oy, the hassle. the tube is the perfect solution! (now, can we please move *all* kinds of cream cheese — not just the whipped kind — into convenient plastic tubs and out of those annoying square foil packages?)

    • The Practical Cook

      Totally agree! (At first I thought you meant a tube of cream cheese, not a tub, and I’m still recovering from that image.)

  2. I think the tube is smart, too — but I haven’t seen this option in my usual grocery store travels. Where do you buy yours? Brand recommendations?

    • The Practical Cook

      It’s in my local grocery and Trader Joe’s. Recommend asking at the counter if they don’t stock. Of course, there’s always Amazon for fast delivery! I don’t know that there are more than one or two brands on the market, at least generally available. So no brand preference! Happy hunting!

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