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Concentrated Flavor (in a Tube)

When these samples came in, of course I did a taste test. My take: okay in a pinch, but I'm not giving up the real thing any time soon. 

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Tomato paste is a handy ingredient, considering the way it packs concentrated tomato flavor in a little spoonful. The downside to tomato paste is the waste that often accompanies it–you buy a small can, use a couple of tablespoons at most, and then leave it in the fridge until it turns black and you have to throw it out. (Sure, you can freeze spoonfuls for later).

Fortunately, that problem ended for me many years ago when I discovered Amore’s Italian Tomato Paste in a tube.  It’s a quality product, and it keeps almost indefinitely in the fridge because the tube limits oxygen exposure to what’s left.

Recently the company sent samples of some of their other products, all pastes in a tube: pesto, Italian herb, garlic, sundried tomato, black olive, and anchovy. I’d seen these in the store, but had always been a little wary of them. After all, tomato paste is meant to be a concentrated shelf-stable product, but pesto? Garlic paste? How fresh could they possibly taste?

I squirted a little of each type onto a plate and tried a dab of each. They were all very salty, and not surprisingly, the pesto and Italian herb pastes didn’t taste very good. There’s a reason why fresh herbs are worth the effort. The olive, garlic, anchovy, and sundried pastes were all decent, though.

I won’t be giving up the whole forms of these ingredients, but in a pinch, I can see using these pastes in small amounts in a salad dressing or compound butter.

What do you think? Do any of you use pastes? Do you like them, and if so, how do you use them?


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  • Doc Detail | 09/20/2009

    I agree with the all-around praise given to Amore's tomato paste as I use it whenever a recipe requires just a small amount. It's the perfect way of using tomato paste. However, I have tried Amore's garlic paste and it is NOT equivalent to fresh garlic; I also found it quite bland as compared with a smashed clove with its great bouquet. I will look for Amore's anchovy paste as I use this ingredient quite frequently.

  • bbc920 | 09/20/2009

    I continually have a tube of anchovy paste in my fridge and use it mainly for my home made caesar salad dressing. Beats buying an entire tin of anchovies only to use a few and discard the rest. Also easier to use and I don't have to worry about anchovy oil seeping into my hands. I've also used sun dried tomato paste in a few pasta sauces -- not as a substitute but as an enhancement.

  • SusanCooks | 09/18/2009

    I really like their tomato paste, too. I often skip recipes that call for anchovies because I don't want to buy an ingredient & use it once before it goes to waste. So, the anchovy paste sounds very useful.

  • DJ | 09/15/2009

    Amore tomato paste has been a staple in my kitchen for years.
    I alsolike a dab of the sun-dried tomato paste in pizza sauce. Not mentioned in this blog entry is the red pepper paste which is also a staple. I prefer it to red pepper flakes, as it distributes the heat evenly throughout a sauce, as opposed to biting done on a red pepper flake.

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