How to make pasta simply amazing by just opening a can of tomatoes.
DINNER IN A MINUTE | When I really don’t want to spend time making dinner but can’t be bothered to go out or even order in, I love to boil up a big pot of water, throw in dry pasta and open a can of tomatoes. Oookay, you say, making nice but imagining I’m nuts to think plain spaghetti and canned tomatoes “straight up” could be anything but spectacularly boring. And maybe it would be if I opened your Hunt’s garden-variety dice, but the canned tomatoes I’m talking about taste nothing like that.
Feeding My Addiction
Though I’m supremely late to the table (this foodie go-to has been popular for ages), last year I opened my first can of fire-roasted tomatoes and it was love at first bite. The brand was Scarpone’s, and the deep smoky flavour of these diced tomats—perfect on their own as a sauce with no doctoring necessary—made plain canned tomatoes seem way too tame by comparison.
At $1.99 a can, I began stocking up on cases of Scarpone’s from Bosa Foods until the specialty grocery dropped the product to stock its own Italissima brand. Italissima fire-roasted tomatoes are the same low price as the Scarpone’s and a seriously solid replacement (far better than Western Family’s fire-roasteds, $2.49 a can at Save on Foods).
If I were forced to play favourites, I’d still opt for Scarpone’s, even over what many consider the gold standard of canned fire-roasted tomatoes, the organic Muir Glen brand (sold only in the U.S.; I’ve found them for $1.99 a can at Community Food Co-op in Bellingham), so last week I was elated to learn that Galloway’s Specialty Foods in Burnaby and Richmond carries Scarpone’s Fire-Roasted tomatoes. They were temporarily out of stock when I called them: please get some in soon, I’m hungry. —C. Rule
Photos: 123rf, Galloway’s Specialty Foods