Three tomatoes are walking down the street – a papa tomato, a mama tomato and a little baby tomato. Baby tomato starts lagging behind. Papa tomato get angry, goes over to Baby tomato and squishes him…..and says ‘Ketchup!Mia Wallace – Pulp Fiction
Tinned tomatoes. My number one hero ingredient. When I don’t want the faff of prepping a load of bits, crave something fresh, delicious and full of that umami moorishness, tinned tomatoes are my go-to. Probably the most versatile pantry ingredient and used across the globe in unique ways. On Monday you could be transported to the Tuscan hills with a bowl of Pappa Pomodoro for lunch, whereas on the weekend you could take your imagination to a rooftop bar in Istanbul, as you dip hunks of bread into your Tagine.
My only reservation with tinned tomatoes are the chopped kind as I tend to find that they are just a little wet and lack the oomph of a tinned plum tomato which holds in all its juiciness. You can easily smoosh them with the back of your wooden spoon but they’re likely to fall apart anyway in something like a slow cooked sauce. Look for tinned San Marzano tomatoes if you want the best. Another unwritten rule is you get what you pay for. Although there is absolutely nothing wrong with a bottom-shelf budget tin of tomatoes, a more expensive tin will house better quality tomatoes which will give you a more flavourful sauce.
Here are three of my simplest recipes using tinned tomatoes that I rinse and repeat when I don’t know what else to cook. They can also be easily tweaked for lots of variation.