Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tuscan Cooking: Canned Tomatoes


Quick and simple pasta is a must in my home; therefore, Jimmy and I took a cooking class in Tuscany. To my delight, we learned that northern Italian cooking includes canned tomatoes! Maybe all these years I have been cooking like a true Italian. Our instructor told us that Italians avoid fresh tomatoes because they contain too much water for a thick sauce. San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes are the tomatoes of choice because they don't contain extra ingredients, and this is consistent with the Tuscan tradition -- simple cooking. As soon as I got home, I immediately went to Whole Foods and stocked up. I made a red pasta sauce this weekend, and the San Marzano tomatoes didn't disappoint. (More on how to make a Tuscan red sauce later this week.)

Here are a few other Tuscan secrets.


(1) Use either garlic or onion in your sauce, NOT both! And cook it simultaneously with extra virgin olive oil to prevent burning.


(2) Use a noodle pasta for red sauce, and shell or penne for white because it can hold the creamy sauce.


  1. Thanks for the tips! I need plenty of cooking help :)

  2. Oh good lord this looks and sounds delicious. Pasta is one of the most comforting (and delicious) foods in the whole world. Good tips, too! I would never have thought to include only garlic OR onion (I like them both, although garlic will always win . . . )

  3. Oooh, thanks for the tips, Marcie! I'd LOVE to take a cooking class in Italy!
    xo Josie

  4. The canned tomato news is the best thing I've heard in a long time. I'm going to Whole Foods to stock up as well. I cannot wait to see your recipe! I'm desperate for some new pasta recipes that are delicious and easy. This looks amazing! Hope you had a great long weekend!


  5. Go for jarred tomatoes instead, and save yourself the BPA:




  6. Thanks for the tips Marcie! Guess I've been right on all of these years :) I never have tried San Marzanos though and have been meaning to. Will definitely be trying now :)