6 tasty recipes that make the most of tinned tomatoes

6 tasty recipes that make the most of tinned tomatoes

by Great British Chefs 08 November 2018

Tinned tomatoes are one of the most essential and versatile ingredients you can get, becoming the base for all sorts of flavourful sauces and stews. Take a look at six of our favourite recipes which champion this unsung hero of the kitchen.

Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews.

Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews.

As keen home cooks, we love preparing a wide variety of dishes. We take just as much pride in cooking a quick and easy one-pot meal that only requires a few ingredients as we do when spending all day perfecting a grandiose dinner of epic proportions. And while we’ll happily browse the world food aisle in the supermarket or seek out a specific product to make something we’ve read about or tasted when eating out, there are some ingredients we always have in our cupboards.

Things like salt and oil tend to make their way into virtually everything we cook and you’ll rarely find a pantry without them, but there’s another vital essential that’s become a staple in the British culinary canon – tinned tomatoes. These ubiquitous little cans are used weekly by the vast majority of home cooks to create a wide array of sauces, stews and one-pots, happily sitting on our shelves until they’re called upon. They’re especially useful when preparing dishes from countries like Italy, Spain and the rest of the Mediterranean – an area which requires plenty of sweet tomato flavour in its cuisine.

It’s easy to wax lyrical about the joys of fresh peas, the short asparagus season or how important salt is in cooking, but we think it’s high time to give tinned tomatoes the respect they deserve. That’s why we’ve put together six of our favourite recipes that put these heroes of the kitchen front and centre. Take a look and make the most of this incredible ingredient.

1. Tuscan-style sausage ragù

On cold winter nights, all you want is something filling, comforting and full of flavour – and we think this Italian sausage ragù is perfect. Chickpeas, chorizo and sausages are gently braised in a tomato sauce enriched with garlic, onion, chilli, white wine and paprika, before being topped with a gremolata of lemon zest, parsley, basil and Parmesan. This zingy topping (sprinkled over the dish just before serving) contrasts wonderfully with the flavours of the ragù, and simmering the sauce until reduced by half unlocks the naturally sweet flavours of the tomatoes.

2. Baked salmon with tomato, mushroom and mascarpone sauce

It only takes thirty minutes to prepare this beautiful salmon dish, which makes it perfectly suited to either a quick midweek dinner or a satisfying lunch at the weekend. While the salmon fillets are baking in the oven you simply fry off onion and mushrooms before adding tinned tomatoes, mascarpone and dill to create a creamy sauce. With some boiled new potatoes and seasonal greens on the side, this is a dish that’s ideal for any time of year.

3. Sicilian-style pizza

In Sicily they make pizza a little different to their Neapolitan friends further north. Rather than a super-thin crust, the dough is more like a focaccia – thick yet light and fluffy. It also sees the cheese added before the sauce, allowing the tomatoes to take on a slight char in the oven (the sauce is the star of the show with this style of pizza). This recipe calls for salami and chillies to be added for a true southern Italian flavour, but feel free to swap these for something else if you’re looking to make the dish vegetarian or don’t like spicy food.

4. Lamb, fennel and anchovy meatballs

Spaghetti and meatballs is one of those classic Italian-American dishes that, while not technically authentic (you’ll never really see it served in Italy), is so tasty and easy to make it’s become nearly as popular as that other inauthentic classic spaghetti Bolognese. In this recipe, the meatballs are made with lamb mince, studded with pieces of umami-rich anchovy and fragrant fennel seeds. Their deeply savoury flavour is the perfect partner to sweet tomato sauce, flavoured with chilli, onion, white wine, chicken stock and bay leaves. It’s also ready in under an hour, making this dish a great midweek dinner.

5. Tomato and anchovy risotto

If you’re after a truly knockout dish that’s simple to prepare, look no further than this stunning risotto from chef Luke Holder. The risotto itself is flavoured with stock, butter, Parmesan and plenty of passata, giving it a bright red glow, but the genius comes in the dressing you add at the last minute. Punchy anchovies and slices of raw garlic are mixed with plenty of tangy vinegar, olive oil and chopped parsley. The contrast between the rich rice and the tangy dressing makes this one of our favourite all-time risotto recipes.

6. Tomato, rice and seafood stew

We love recipes where you can simply prepare your ingredients and use just one pan to cook it, and this beautiful stew conjures up the flavours of the Mediterranean brilliantly. The combination of luxurious monkfish and tiger prawns are stirred through rice in a tomato sauce flavoured with fennel and celery before being simmered together until perfectly cooked.