Food - Drink
When To Use Tomato Paste Vs. Tomato Puree
By JOHN J LEE
Sometimes you want all of the flavor of tomatoes without having to buy them fresh, wash them, cut them, and reduce them into a paste or sauce. Tomato paste and puree are two invaluable kitchen staples for all your tomato needs, but these products have some key differences that can help you decide which to use in your dinner.
Tomato puree consists of lightly cooked tomatoes pureed into a broth-like consistency, resulting in a milder taste that is closer in flavor to a fresh tomato, with a slightly more acidic, subdued profile. Puree is best-suited for recipes that need a fresher tomato flavor, including pizza sauces, quick pasta sauces, and dips like salsa.
Tomato paste is created by removing the skin and seeds from slow-cooked tomatoes, then letting them cook for as long as possible to concentrate their sweet flavor and achieve super-thick consistency. This paste is commonly used as a thickening agent for sauces, soups, stews, or in ground meat dishes like chili.
Given their differences, tomato paste and puree are not interchangeable in their basic state, but you can mix equal parts water and tomato paste for a tomato puree substitute. To replace paste with puree, see how much paste your recipe calls for and multiply that by 3 to find how much puree you should use, then cook the puree down to a thicker texture.