Saturday, February 6, 2010

The tomato quest continues!

Now that I'm totally addicted to this simple tomato sauce I've been trying to figure out if any old canned tomatoes will do. In my previous attempt it was painfully obvious that the generic stuff at my grocery store would not do. After some research it appeared that maybe I had to limit my testing to San Marzano tomatoes. The original receipe called for these tomatoes and that's what I used the first time around.

So, off to the grocery store I went. Seems that there are San Marzano tomatoes that are imported directly from Italy (look for the D.O.P stamp) and then there are San Marzano varieties that are grown domestically. In my second attempt I tried the USA San Marzanos. Close in color but no where close in flavour. now I'm thinking I need to do a relatively scientific comparison. Off to the grocery store I go again (actually I think I scoped out 3 stores) and come home with the original Cento D.O.P and a couple of other brands that are all imported from Italy.

Today's experiment pits Cento D.O.P against Zia Rosa, also D.O.P

On initial inspection the color looks to be about the same. The consistency of the Cento looks thicker. The Cento smells fuller and maybe a little sweeter. I think the Zia Rosa may smell a little more acidic.

The true test will be at the end when we do the taste test :)

Both cans go into separate pots where one onion and 5Tbsps of butter go in and the simmering begins. An hour later the tomatoes have been broken down and the sauce is ready to go. The taste test says Cento is still the way to go. It's sweeter, slightly thicker, and more tomato-ey. The Zia Rosa isn't far off but is less full flavour-wise and isn't as rich bodied. I think it's just a little watery compared to the Cento.

Nevertheless it's all still good and now I have two batches of sauce that will tie me over until...oh, maybe Monday?? I still have two other cans of tomatoes that will undergo the same testing. It'll be interesting to see if anything measures up to the Cento.

While the sauce was on the stove I was busy knitting up some cotton dishcloths. Will show a picture of those when they're done :)

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