Tomato paste consists of tomatoes that have been cooked for several hours and reduced to a thick, red concentrate before being strained. Sold in cans and tubes, tomato paste adds thickness and body to sauces, soups and stews – capturing the essence of ripe tomatoes and creating an intense tomato flavor. While it is almost universally commercially produced now, for years it was made in homes in Italy and other Mediterranean countries. For superior flavor, look for tubes of imported double-strength tomato concentrate in Italian delicatessens and well-stocked food stores. The best tomato pastes are made from the famed San Marzano tomatoes.