food finds: san marzano tomatoes

Once you’ve had homemade tomato sauce, there’s just no turning back. Jarred tomatoes sauces like Ragu and Prego will never be able to measure up =P Standing in the pasta aisle at the supermarket, with those crystal clear glass jars filled with pre-made sauce glaring back at you, you might just be tempted by their convenience, but only for a second. Because after that one second, that unbeatable taste of homemade pasta sauce… the rich, bold tomato flavor, personalized with your own selection of fresh herbs and spices… will come back to you. And just as your hand is about to reach over and grab the pre-made stuff, you jerk back…because you’ve had a taste of the good life and that jarred stuff will no longer do ;)

Now, if I lived in Italy and it was summertime, I’d go out and get myself some fresh San Marzano tomatoes on the vine to make the most delicious tomato sauce ever, but I do live in Los Angeles, which is several countries and an entire ocean away. But, of course, that’s not gonna stop me from making my own tomato sauce, since I’m still able to get my hands on some lovely canned San Marzano tomatoes right at my neighborhood grocery store. Now, that’s just a 10-minute walk away from home =)

San Marzano tomatoes are actually a variety of plum tomatoes, but they’re much preferred for making sauces, with meatier flesh, stronger tomato flavor, fewer seeds, and a sweeter, less acidic taste. For the most authentic taste of real Italian San Marzano tomatoes I turn to Cento. Now, don’t be fooled by impostors out there, like the company that uses ‘San Marzano’ as their brand name, but upon closer inspection, their tomatoes are actually grown in California… hmm. And the worst part of all is you’ll be paying more than a pretty penny for those domestic canned tomatoes. They may be grown using the same variety of seed, but they taste quite acidic and at times even metallic-y. Not good. For the same price or less, I’d rather stick with the real stuff:

Cento’s Whole Peeled San Marzano Tomatoes are D.O.P certified (meaning that their tomatoes are indeed San Marzano tomatoes grown in Italy in compliance with Italian law) and so they taste like summer in Italy ;) So flavorful and perfectly sweet, I couldn’t ask for anything more! With these tomatoes, along with some garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, perhaps a splash of Marsala wine, and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, you’ll have a pasta sauce so incredibly yummy that people will be licking the bowl clean! Seriously, don’t be surprised if that happens, cause it’s surely happened to me before =P

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