The combination of fennel seed and sun-dried tomatoes is not one that springs to mind when you think of classic Italian food, but it is a perfect match nonetheless. This spicy sun-dried tomato paste recipe has that classic sharp, savory tangy flavor, with hints of earthy-sweetness lying just underneath. And, of course, there’s the spiciness throughout it all. If you love sundried tomatoes, then you’ll want to keep this recipe around.
There are so many uses for this condiment. It’s perfect mixed with cream cheese and served with crackers. The cream cheese tones down the sharp tang some and instead provides that delicious creaminess you’d expect.
Or try it when you cook pasta. Mix it in with the pasta and add garlic, along with some olive oil (and parmesan cheese), to create a tasty chunky sauce. You can also add it to soup, use it as a sandwich spread, mix it with fresh vegetables, and serve it atop fresh fish or chicken. And that’s just a start.
As to the heat. We use cayenne powder here. A teaspoon of it provides a definite kick, so plan accordingly. Feel free to use less if you’re concerned about the overall spiciness of cayenne pepper (30,000 to 50,000 Scoville heat units.) Or start with less and more to taste. Using crushed red pepper (a.k.a. red pepper flakes) is also an option here, but we like cayenne as powders permeate the paste much more than flakes. The spiciness is more consistent bite to bite.
–> Learn More: Crushed Red Pepper Vs. Cayenne – How Do They Compare?
As to storage: spicy sun-dried tomato paste can be jarred and stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. Just add some olive to bring it back to life.
Like this recipe? You’ll love these too:
- Homemade Kimchi Paste: Yes, this sauce is just right for Korean kimchi, but don’t overlook it as a flavorful dipper and more.
- Spicy Yum Yum Sauce: Make the popular Japanese hibachi steak sauce at home.
- Smoky Chipotle Paste: Full of earthy, smoky flavor – and just as versatile as this tomato paste.
Spicy Sun-Dried Tomato Paste
- Add the cayenne pepper, salt, fennel seeds, and ground pepper to a spice grinder (or mortar) and grind fine.
- Drain the sundried tomatoes and keep the oil to the side.
- Add the tomatoes and the spices to a small food processor. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of the retained oil. Blend until smooth. Stir in more oil to reach your desired consistancy.
- Use immediately, or for best flavor, allow the paste to settle (covered, in the refrigerator) overnight to allow the flavors to meld.