Kitchn Love Letters

The $4 Pantry Staple Italians Swear By (and You Will Too)

published Sep 5, 2023
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pomodoro sauce in saucepan being stirred with wooden spoon
Credit: Photo: Christopher Testani; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

This summer, unlike many people it seems, I did not travel to Italy. But that did not stop me from pretending I did. Far from it! I’m very much always pretending I have an Italian nonna of my own to teach me how to make things — especially after my trip to Italy last year. While I couldn’t quite stash all the jarred tomatoes I spotted in the Italian grocery stores in my carry-on, I’ve discovered one of my stateside grocery stops now stocks a limited-edition version of the brand used by my very own Roman pasta-making teacher (shout out to Marco!).

If you’ve ever been ruined (in the best of ways) by a top-tier Bolognese sauce, you’ll likely share my thrill to know that you can now pick up Mutti Tomato Purée Sul Campo at your local Trader Joe’s (as well as Instacart and, as you might expect, World Market), which means you’re never too far away from the Italian dinner of your daydreams. 

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

What’s So Great About Mutti Tomato Purée Sul Campo?

Sul campo, which means “on the field” in Italian, refers to how this particular purée is made — yes, right on the field. It’s that fresh, and you can certainly taste it. It’s vibrant and fruity, and the purée has distilled all the reasons why a good summer tomato makes you dream about them all year round. When it’s the dead of winter and you wish you could time-travel back to eat a lightly salted summer tomato, this Mutti jarred purée is just the ticket.

Sweet and velvety, it’s the end-all be-all to all kinds of Italian dishes. Sure, San Marzano gets all the love (and deservedly so!), but Mutti brand’s limited-edition tomato purée is the one jar Marco swore by, and I could taste why in the bold, meaty Bolognese: The tomato base truly sparkled. 

What’s the Best Way to Use Mutti Tomato Purée Sul Campo?

Like I said, there’s no better foundation for a pappardelle Bolognese than this purée — but don’t limit it to just pasta. It packs in a ton of intense, fruity flavor for a homemade tomato soup, shakshuka, pizza, or eggplant Parmigiana. This will even jazz up a killer bloody Mary (try it — you’ll be very glad you did) or help you recreate all the tomato cocktails taking over your local bar. 

Find it in stores: Mutti Tomato Purée Sul Campo, $3.99 for 19.7 ounces at Trader Joe’s 

Do you have a favorite brand of jarred (or canned!) tomatoes? Tell us about it in the comments.