We have a lot of love for tomatoes, from the rainbow riot of heirloom tomatoes at the farmer’s market in the summer, to the sweet cherry and grape tomatoes we stand by all winter. But canned and jarred tomatoes are the real heavy-hitters in our kitchn. You’ve probably heard that canned tomatoes, which are packed when the tomatoes are at their peak ripeness, are better than out-of-season tomatoes, and you’ve probably also heard countless foodie types extol the virtues of Italian San Marzano tomatoes. But San Marzano isn’t the only place in Italy that’s known for their sweet tomatoes. Giada De Laurentiis, in fact, swears by Corbara tomatoes. Sorry, San Marzano!
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San Marzano tomatoes are a type of paste tomato (ideal for sauces). The best ones are from the Valle del Sarno in the Campania region of Italy, and are grown in the volcanic soil around Mount Vesuvius.
But according to De Laurentiis, author of the new cookbook Eat Better, Feel Better, Corbara tomatoes are even more prized than San Marzanos.
On her Giadzy website, they’re selling several varieties of Corbara tomatoes. They’re tiny pomodorini, smaller than San Marzanos or plum tomatoes, and they’re grown only in the village of Corbara, also in Italy’s Campania region. Corbara tomatoes are prized for their sweet flavor, which they get from ripening on the vine in the hot Italian sunshine, and pair deliciously well with salty Parmesan and cured Italian meats. Since they’re packed at the peak of freshness, you can just take them out of the can or jar and toss them with pasta, throw them in salads, or use them in a gently cooked tomato sauce.
Tomatoes from Corbara are hard to come by, but if you’re looking for something similar on Amazon, you can find several brands of Italian cherry tomatoes that boast a similarly sweet-tart, fresh tomato flavor profile.
And, in a pinch, you can always substitute them with San Marzano tomatoes if you’re making a sauce or stew – just look for cans with a D.O.P., or “Protected Designation of Origin.”
Either way, upgrading your pantry to be full of Italian tomatoes is a surefire way to get you excited about cooking dinner any night of the week.
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Watch: How to Make Giada De Laurentiis’ Stuffed Lasagna Rolls