Tomato Paste - Tomato Sauce- What's the Difference
I am often asked, what is the difference between tomato sauce and tomato paste? It is entirely understandable if you do not cook with tomato paste much. I'll try to break down what they are, how they are used individually, and how they are often used together.
Tomato sauce is complicated. There are so many variations of tomato sauce depending on what country you live in, what region in that country, and even what town or city you are in.
It can be prepared with meats and vegetables or without. The spices used to make tomato sauce can run the gamut. If you look at 1,000 different cookbooks with tomato sauce recipes, you'd probably come up with 1,000 different recipes.
I have a post called How Do Celebrity Chefs Make Incredible Tomato Sauce, and you will see that they are completely different although they have similar ingredients. And all these chefs are making an Italian-style tomato sauce. But what about Spain, France, Brazil, and Chili? I'm sure every country has its version of tomato sauce that works with its cuisine.
I think of basic tomato sauce as a sauce made primarily from tomatoes cooked with onions, garlic, herbs, and spices. I can make hundreds of versions from there by adding meat, seafood, poultry, or dairy.
The tomatoes can be fresh whole tomatoes, chopped tomatoes, diced tomatoes, or pureed tomatoes. They can be sold fresh, jarred, canned, or in cardboard containers. If you go to any supermarket, you'll find multiple brands selling tomatoes in one form or another.
There are quick tomato sauces that only take minutes in a saucepan. Then there are tomato sauces that cook all day. My tomato sauces range somewhere in between.
As a sauce, it is not made to be eaten by itself, although I've enjoyed some sauces that I would eat as a meal with a loaf of Italian bread. No, tomato sauce is generally served over pasta, gnocchi, eggplant, and the list goes on.
Did you know tomato sauce is one of the five mother sauces as described by chef Auguste Escoffier in the 1800s?