Tinned tomatoes are not all created equal, these ones are special

Shelf Help: Interesting, delicious things to put in your shopping basket

Tinned tomatoes are not all created equal, these ones are special

What’s in other people’s shopping baskets and trolleys is always interesting, and we would love to hear about the things you have discovered too. Tell me about them and I will track them down, try them out and report back. Thank you.

What is it? Mutti Polpa Finely Chopped Tomatoes (€1.59, 400g).

What’s great about it? This Italian brand of tinned, chopped tomatoes, the workhorse of many kitchen larders, has an almost cult-like following — and I am a fully committed member. “You’ve never seen pulp like this!,” the lid of the can proclaims, and it’s true, I hadn’t until I tried them. The tomatoes have a vibrant bright red colour, a sweet, light taste, and are more like fresh tomatoes than any other brand I have used. The can contains only tomatoes, 99.8 per cent, and salt.

How do I use it? With a tin of tomatoes and a few other larder basics — pasta, olive oil and Parmesan — you can make a delicious dinner for little outlay. If you also happen to have a small onion and a generous slab of butter, you can make the Italian-American cookbook author Marcella Hazan’s well-known tomato sauce, in which the onion and butter are simmered with the tomatoes, and a pinch of salt; the onion discarded before serving. Mutti tomatoes are perfect for this sauce, which ends up rich and flavoursome, with the butter balancing the acidity of the tomatoes.


Where can I buy it? Widely available, in supermarkets and independents.

Anything else? In 2017, Mutti was one of two food companies implicated in allegations of mistreatment of migrant harvest workers in southern Italy. A spokesman for Mutti, contacted by The Irish Times for this column, said that the company moved to mechanical harvesting of tomatoes in all areas in Italy in 2018, and pointed to the company’s code of conduct and code of ethics.