Tomato paste is made by cooking down fresh tomatoes into a thickened paste. Tomato paste has an intense tomato flavoring and can be used in small amounts to flavor, sauces, soups, and other dishes. Tomato paste can be purchased in small cans, jars, and even tubes.
If you don't have tomato paste you can make a simple substitute:
This tomato paste is sold in large tubes and typically comes from Italy. This form of tomato paste has a richer flavor than standard paste. To make the paste, tomatoes and washed, sorted, then crushed. The mash is then put through a centrifuge that removes the seeds, skins, and cellulose. The remaining plant is placed in evaporation tanks until it condenses down to the proper thickness.
Mutti brand was the first company to package tomato paste in a resealable tube back in 1951. Today there are many brands available.
This paste is convenient because many recipes call for a tablespoon or two of paste, and frequently the rest gets thrown away. The tube allows you to measure out the amount you need, then you can reseal it using the screw-cap. Once a tube is opened, it needs to be refrigerated. The paste will store up to a month after that.
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Standard tomato paste can be purchased in almost any grocery store. Look for double concentrate paste in the same location, or some stores locate it in the Italian foods section of the store. The tube will be in a cardboard box. Popular brands include Mutti and Cento and Montali. Amazon.com carries several brands of this paste: Double Concentrated Tomato Paste