Do Italians Peel Tomatoes for Sauce?

Italian food is beloved around the world, and it happens to be so cherished for one reason: Italians know food. Many classic Italian recipes have been perfected over generations of families, and one such recipe includes tomato sauce. A debate surrounding tomatoes still exists about tomatoes, however; do Italians peel tomatoes for sauce?

peeled tomatoes

Many Italians will peel tomatoes for sauce, either on their own with their hands or tools. They may also purchase peeled tomatoes as a key ingredient for their sauce. When it comes to crafting food out of tomatoes, Italians seem to know their way around every kind of tomato for every kind of recipe you might want to try. 

Why Do Italians Peel Tomatoes For Sauce?

Using peeled tomatoes in a sauce recipe makes for a smooth, even-textured sauce, which is the way that many Italians prefer their tomato sauce. This is true regardless of the kind of tomato used for the sauce. It’s harder to break down skins when you’re trying to mix up a sauce or puree tomatoes, so peeling them off before you start making your sauce is a good idea. 

Since it’s not uncommon to see Italian families make large batches of tomato sauce at once, they have perfected the art of peeling a tomato quickly without making a big mess. A tomato can be peeled in several ways, however. Peeling tomatoes before making batches of sauce can also help the sauce keep fresh for longer. 

How Do You Peel Tomatoes For Sauce?

Peeling tomatoes is not as exhausting as it may seem if you follow some expert tips. To start, you’ll want to take a knife and mark an X shape on the bottom of your tomatoes. While you do this, you’ll want to have a large pot of water boiling. 

When the water is at a boil, you’ll want to place a few tomatoes at a time in the water with a slotted spoon. You only need to leave the tomatoes in the boiling water for a minute at the most before taking them out. Next, you’ll place your tomatoes in a bowl of iced water to avoid cooking them. 

Take your cooled-down tomato and dry it off so you can start peeling the skin. You can use either your fingers or a small knife to start pulling the skin off of the tomato from one of the points you created initially when you cut an X into the tomato. The skin should come off very easily at this point. 

What Tomatoes Do Italians Use For Sauce?

Many Italian chefs will opt for either the Roma or San Marzano tomato above other types, though it’s not unheard of to see Italians cook with all types of tomatoes. Roma and San Marzano make great tomato choices for sauce. They are easy to work with, have great flavor, and are easy to keep fresh through the peeling and canning process often used for batch tomato sauce preparation.

Do Italians Deseed Tomatoes For Sauce?

Deseeding tomatoes can improve the desired consistency of sauce as well. Seeds tend to have a lot of water around them and are also difficult to break down in the sauce. They are also unnecessary for the overall flavor and quality of the sauce, but since it can be time-consuming to remove seeds from several tomatoes, it’s a personal preference for Italian cooks. 

Why Is Italian Sauce So Good?

Italian tomato sauce is superior to many other sauces because they have perfected the formula. Most Italian cooks will focus on letting their tomato of choice shine in the sauce instead of adding a bunch of unnecessary ingredients. 

Many will add things like basil, oregano, or other herbs to help balance out the flavor of the finished product. Onions and mushrooms are also a fantastic way many chefs will use to help take some of the acidic bites out of a tomato sauce. 

Does Authentic Italian Food Have Tomatoes?

Some question what is and isn’t authentic when it comes to Italian cuisine given how so many Italian dishes have been interpreted over the years. When it comes to tomatoes and tomato sauce, they are two integral parts of Italian cooking. While the tomato wasn’t always a major part of Italian cuisine, it has become a staple in their kitchens. 

Italian cuisine focuses on simply made dishes that pack in a lot of flavors from fresh ingredients, and tomatoes allow for that abundance of flavors quite easily. They also complement a lot of other foods, so they can be multifunctional in a kitchen outside of just making sauce. 

When Did Italians Start Using Tomato Sauce?

Tomatoes aren’t a native plant in Italy, so they haven’t always been used in Italian cooking. When it comes to tomato sauce, in particular, its origins in Italy can be traced back to the 1800s. It’s said that the first pasta dish known to use tomato sauce in Italy was crafted by a Neopolitan cook, and it became a staple in Italian cuisine after that. 

What Do Italians Use Tomato Sauce For?

Italians are known for loving their pasta, but it’s not the only thing they’ll use their homemade tomato sauce for. That said, there are endless incredible Italian recipes that use tomato sauce and pasta in transformative ways, making it so you can never get bored of the classic combination. 

Homemade tomato sauce is also used to make homemade pizza and is often mixed in with various meat or seafood-based dishes. The specific type of tomato sauce may also determine what kind of dish it is used in. Italian cuisine involves many types of tomato-based sauces, such as bolognese, marinara, formaggi, and puttanesca. 

For example, Italian cooking also uses a lot of passata, which is a tomato puree. While we might not be able to differentiate passata from tomato sauce, they are actually two different types of sauce. Passata is only made with tomatoes and nothing else, while tomato sauce might have a few other ingredients. 

Andrea Arthur