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Estratto di Pomodoro from Maria Grammatico

Maria Grammatico

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Italian Tomato Paste, Made the Authentic Way

Maria Grammatico estratto di pomodoro is a tomato paste like no other. It is still made the old fashioned way with three key ingredients: San Marzano tomatoes, Sicilian sun and time. The result is a rich, brick-red, umami-packed paste that adds instant concentrated tomato flavor with just a spoonful.

This almost magical paste starts with ripe tomatoes that are carefully ground by hand and then spread on taulieri, wooden boards seasoned with years of tomato-drying. The boards are placed on the rooftop of Maria's pasticceria under the hot summer sun to dry for 8 to 10 days. Each evening at dusk, the boards are placed inside to prevent any night moisture damaging the drying paste. The paste is folded everyday with a large flat wooden spatula and placed back on the roof at sunrise. The turning of the paste is done twice daily for even drying and achieving the right paste consistency.

When the paste is just right, it is salted with Sicilian sea salt from Trapani and transferred to large clay jars, called candari, and covered in a layer of Sicilian extra virgin olive oil to preserve its color and intensity of flavor.

Unlike commercial tomato paste which is heavily-pasteurized to ease the canning process, Maria's is unpasteurized and hand-packed, the way it's always been done (this means the lids won't be "compressed", like some jarred preserves).

How to use

Just a small spoonful of estratto will bring depth, sweetness and complexity to any tomato-based sauce. Add a teaspoon or two to a minestrone soup or fish stew, as well as when making marinades and rubs for grilled meats. A traditional snack for lucky Sicilian children is a bit of tomato paste spread on a slice of bread and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil...simple, but perfect.

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Maria Grammatico

Customer Reviews

Based on 5 reviews

Growing up my Mom would make this in the summer and we’d store and use it the remainder of the year when making sauce. Although a bit pricy, it’s exactly like hers and I’m enjoying it greatly.

Roy Lott

As the others have said, the very, very best!

Patricia Barlow
Best Paste Ever

Adds thickness and flavor no other paste provides

Tomatoes on Steroids

There is no getting around the fact that this is very expensive compared to the sort of commercial tomato paste we usually find even in gourmet markets. That said, this is still an amazing value - it is so flavorful, so intense, so concentrated that you can use less of it that you would any other tomato paste, and you will still get a stunning intensification of flavor. I added some of this to a Bolognese sauce I was making and it moved it to an entirely new level. I purchased the larger size and am so glad I did - it's so concentrated I at first thought it would last forever, but no, it's so good I'm using it up at a ferocious rate, adding it to many different pasta sauces and stews. Love this ingredient.

Amazing and timeless - way beyond your average tomato paste!

I am SO glad this came back in. I bought it when MarketHall had it some while back and have missed it ever since. This is an amazing, traditional item that is otherwise just next to impossible to get so I give extra cudos to MarketHall for sourcing and supplying it. This is beyond definitively artisan - this tomato paste is made in such an unbroken, ancient process. Just tasting, it lingers on the tongue: all the goodness of those tomatoes grown in that soil and sun, and then the slow, sundrying process to produce this dense, rich, intensely flavored paste. It is very different than even high end tomato pastes. I am a bit of a tomato paste freak and there are several I particularly enjoy and keep on hand. This one is deep and rich and lends itself to use for a very great umami hit and adding a dimension to a braise or sauce. I do not simply use it in place of regular tomato pastes (I like several tube varieties and the BioNatura organic in the jar from Italy); those have a definite place as well. I have used this one to enrich certain salad dressings and other preparations where I want the depth and richness this provides. I highly recommend. I will also say that it seems to last forever in terms of shelf life. I confess to overbuying and keeping the opened in the fridge for a long time and it NEVER turned; regular tomato paste would have been long gone with spoilage. Truly awesome and highly recommended.