16 Rich Recipes With Tomato Paste - Food & Wine


A little tomato paste goes a long way. This concentrated product, made by roasting and cooking down pureed tomatoes into a thick paste, gives incomparable depth to tomato sauce, tomato soup, and main courses.

Tomato paste is usually made from paste tomatoes — also called Roma, plum, or sauce tomatoes — which have pointed bottoms, dense flesh, and few seeds. It's often briefly sautéed in oil at the beginning of recipes with tomato paste to add a caramelized richness to the final dish.

You can make homemade tomato paste by cooking down sliced tomatoes, passing them through a food mill, and slow-roasting the resulting puree. “Thanks to the long caramelization, the flavors are layered and nuanced, even changing as they linger on the tongue,” says chef and food writer Kim McDonnel.

Tomato paste is also widely available at grocery stores, sold in cans or tubes. Anna Theoktisto, who manages recipe development and testing in the Food & Wine Test Kitchen, recommends the Muir Glen brand, which has a rich tomato flavor. You can also find double-concentrated tomato paste, which is simply a more concentrated version of the regular kind.

How to store tomato paste

Once opened, tomato paste will last in the fridge in an airtight container for up to a month. But since it’s often used in small quantities, Theoktisto suggests freezing it after opening. 

“Instead of just using the two tablespoons I need and then throwing away the rest or putting it in the fridge to rot, I place two-tablespoon dollops on a small piece of parchment paper and roll each dollop up. Then I place them in a resealable container and freeze until I need tomato paste again. It lasts forever this way,” she says. 

Make the most of a jar, can, or tube of tomato paste with these recipes.

Tomato Paste

Food & Wine / Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Jennifer Wendorf / Prop Styling by Clarie Spollen


Homemade tomato paste is sweet and tangy with layered and nuanced flavors from a long caramelization. Try your own over five hours to experiment and compare with store-bought.

Fire-Roasted Tomato Bisque

Julia Hartbeck


Tomato paste enriches this creamy, deeply flavorful soup that's ready in just over half an hour.

Shakshuka (Tomato-Pepper Stew with Poached Eggs and Harissa)

Kelsey Hansen / Food Styling by Annie Probst / Prop Styling by Breanna Ghazali


Tomato paste and diced tomatoes are at the heart of the aromatic stew used to poach eggs for Shakshuka, the hearty Middle Eastern and North African breakfast dish.

Curry Shrimp Étouffée

Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Josh Hoggle


Tomato paste and canned tomatoes deepen the savory flavors of this aromatic, rich, and comforting Viet-Cajun shellfish dish with sauce and rice.

Cola-Braised Short Ribs with Risotto

Frederick Hardy II / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen


Coat vegetables with tomato paste in this sweet and complex version of the braised, fall-off-the-bone tender short ribs served over risotto on The Bear.

Smoky Beans and Greens in Tomato Broth

Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Rishon Hanners / Prop Styling by Sarah Elizabeth Cleveland

The combination of tomato paste and sun-dried tomatoes delivers an aromatic broth in record time for this quick, soul-satisfying supper.

Currywurst

Food & Wine / Photo by Jen Causey / Food Styling by Rishon Hanners / Prop Styling by Josh Hoggle


Make the curry tomato sauce up to a week ahead for this tender, juicy, and flavorful bratwurst dish.

Lamb Pastelón (Puerto Rican-Style Plantain Casserole)

Greg DuPree / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Christine Keely


Tomato paste adds depth to the spiced ground meat filling that's layered with ripe plantain slices and mozzarella cheese in this baked Puerto Rican casserole.

Pasta e Ceci (Pasta with Chickpeas)

Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Christina Daley


Tomato paste gives the garlicky thyme- and rosemary-scented broth a subtle umami boost for this classic and comforting vegetarian Italian dish that comes together in one pot.

Pasta ’Ncasciata (Sicilian Baked Pasta)

Fred Hardy II / Food Styling by Emily Nabors Hall / Prop Styling by Christina Daley


In Sicily, ’ncasciata has many variations. Chef Michael Gulotta packs his version with tender eggplant, melty caciocavallo cheese, and the go-to combo of tomato paste and crushed tomatoes.

Shrimp Fra Diavolo

Food & Wine / Photo by Robby Lozano / Food Styling by Emily Nabors Hall / Prop Styling by Josh Hoggle


Simmer shrimp in an umami-rich tomato sauce with tomato paste and crushed canned tomatoes for this spicy Italian-American seafood dish served over pasta, polenta, or grilled bread.

Spaghetti all’Assassina

Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Jillian Knox


For this spicy "Assassin's Spaghetti," a combination of tomato paste and boiling water is added to pasta right in a skillet, yielding crispy and caramelized bits that absorb plenty of tomato flavor. 

Obe Ata (Nigerian Chicken, Tomato, and Pepper Stew)

Christopher Testani / Food Styling by Victoria Granof / Prop Styling by Thom Driver


Both canned tomatoes and tomato paste go into the spicy tomato sauce for this traditional chicken stew from chef Simileoluwa Adebajo.

Tomato-Coconut Chutney

Christopher Testani / Food Styling by Victoria Granof / Prop Styling by Thom Driver


This silky, spicy chutney from chef Vishwesh Batt has a rich tomato flavor from tomato paste and canned tomatoes.

Jasmine-Infused Chicken Tikka Masala

Greg Dupree / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Audrey Taylor


Stirring in crushed tomatoes and tomato paste thickens this masala to a jam-like consistency for this floral, tender, charred chicken diah.

Beef Stew with Mustard Greens

Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Mat Gibilisco.

This hearty, aromatic one-pot stew includes a generous 1/4 cup of tomato paste to build flavor. Packed with tender chuck roast, it's also flavored with cinnamon sticks.

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