Tomato Conserva

August 30, 2012

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes:

An oven-roasted, highly flavorful tomato concentrate, it trumps any store-bought tomato paste you've ever tasted. This is adapted from Molly Watson's blog The Dinner Files. She adapted her recipe from Paul Bertolli's book, Cooking by Hand.

Marisa McClellan

Makes: 1-2 pints


  • 10 pounds tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
In This Recipe


  1. Chop tomatoes into quarters. Combine them in a large pan with 1/4 cup olive oil and bring to a simmer. Cook until they are soft and the peels begin to detach from the tomato flesh.
  2. Push warm tomatoes through a food mill, sieve or chinois, so that you separate the tomato pulp from the seeds and skins.
  3. Divide the tomato pulp between two large, rimmed baking sheets (I used two half sheet pans).
  4. Place baking sheets in the oven and bake at 350° F. Check tomatoes every half hour, stirring the paste and switching the position of the baking sheets so that they reduce evenly.
  5. Over time, the conserva will start to reduce to the point where it doesn’t fill the baking sheet any more. At this point, I combine the contents of the two pans into and continue to bake.
  6. When the conserva is shiny, brick-colored and has reduced by more than half, it is done. There shouldn’t be any remaining water or moisture separating from the paste at this point.
  7. Scrape finished conserva into clean half or quarter pint jars. Top with a layer of olive oil and place in either the refrigerator or the freezer. As long as you keep it well-covered with olive oil and ensure that you only use a very clean spoon to remove it from the jar, it will keep in the fridge for a month or so. Frozen, it will keep for up to nine months.

More Great Recipes:
Condiment/Spread|Fruit|Tomato|5 Ingredients or Fewer|Sheet Pan|Summer

Reviews (10) Questions (0)

10 Reviews

Miles August 13, 2014
What's the best way to use the conserve? And, if you freeze it - better to defrost in refrigerator? Thanks!
ori May 16, 2014
Tried it today and it came out amazing! <br />Too bad it cannot be stored for longer periods i would have made much more
AmandaO September 17, 2012
I made this tonight. I used the larger disk on my Rosle food mill (0.3 cm). It excluded the skins nicely, but much of the seeds passed through. The conserva tastes great; I don't think the seeds in the end product lent too much bitterness. Next time I might try the 0.1 cm disk, though. <br />Out of 10 pounds of tomatoes (mixed romas, plums, and grapes from my garden), I ended up with 1.75 pints. It took about 3.5 hours to cook down. <br />I added the salt with the olive oil in the first step.
lindycindy September 9, 2012
I noticed you used aluminum pans to reduce the tomatoes. Did you have any problems with the acid in the tomatoes interacting with the metal?
Chef L. September 9, 2012
Can this be "canned" in jars using the hot water boil method ?
Kelly K. September 5, 2013
No. Olive oil products are not safe to can. I pressure can my tomato paste.
vivbest September 9, 2012
Is there something that you would recommend to do with the seeds and skins? I hate to waste food!
Hibatt September 15, 2012
Compost them. They will grow great plants next season ;)
AmandaO September 17, 2012
Out of 10 pounds of tomatoes, I ended up with less than a cup of skins/seeds after it goes through the mill. I think you'd have more waste if you cored and sliced them!
Kelly K. September 5, 2013
I dried my skins in a dehydrator and then ground them in a food processor. Added to soups and sauces to thicken and add a robust tomato flavor.