Maria Grammatico Sun-Dried Tomato Paste (Special Order*)
An Estratto di Pomodoro with no peers. Maria Grammatico’s thick, rich tomato paste is made in the old-fashioned way from a Sicilian heirloom variety of San Marzano tomatoes under the hot Sicilian sun. Dense, glossy, and intensely fruity, this potent tomato paste brings outstanding depth and sweetness to any dish.
Ripe tomatoes are carefully ground by hand and the paste is spread onto tauleri (long wooden boards) and placed on the rooftop of Maria’s pasticceria in Erice under the hot summer sun to dry for 8 to 10 days. Each evening at dusk, the boards are placed inside to prevent any moisture during the night from damaging the drying paste. The paste is folded every day with a large flat wooden spatula and placed back on the roof at sunrise. The turning of the paste is done twice daily to ensure even drying and to achieve the right consistency. The Estratto takes on a deep red, almost bloodlike color at the end of the drying process. The paste is then salted with sea salt from the Trapani salt flats, packed in candari (large clay urns), and topped with a thin layer of Sicilian extra virgin olive oil to preserve its color and the intensity of its flavor.