CANNED TOMATOES A gift to Europe from the New World, the tomato ("pomodoro" in Italian) didn't really take hold throughout Italy until the early 1900s, when canned tomatoes became widely available. They remain popular in Italian kitchens today, particularly the exquisite san marzanos of Campania, which are considered the finest of all cooking tomatoes. These can be found at your local Italian grocer. Christopher Hirsheimer

This light tomato sauce, enriched with cream, is a specialty of Cantina Pierino in Buenos Aires. Try it with their signature ham and cheese ravioli; or add a bit of chicken or vegetable stock to create a wonderful soup.

Yield: serves 4


  • 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 small cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
  • 3 fresh basil leaves
  • 14 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tbsp. prepared pesto
  • 3 tbsp. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add garlic and cook until just beginning to color, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes and basil and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thick and has reduced by about half, 15–25 minutes. Add cream, pesto, and parmigiano and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep warm over lowest heat.