Taste-Testing: How One Historic Pizzeria Chooses its Tomatoes

Learn how Frank Pepe’s grandsons pick the perfect tomato for the historic Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana.




Tomatoes are a big deal at Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana.

 

A tomato sauce can make or break a pizzeria. No one wants a sauce that’s too sweet, too spicy or too bland. A perfect base of rich tomato flavor is required to complete a great pie and its ingredients.

At Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana in New Haven, Connecticut, the pizzeria has become famous for its tomato pies, which means there’s no hiding a bad sauce behind loads of cheese or tons of toppings. The sauce needs to burst with tomato flavor, even after a trip through an oven reaching temperatures of nearly 600 degrees.

It’s for this reason that tomato testing is taken so seriously at Pepe’s.

Creating a signature sauce

The New York Times reports that every fall, two of Frank Pepe’s grandsons, Francis Rosselli and Gary Bimonte, unite to taste test a variety of canned tomatoes before choosing which will be used in the pizzeria.

Since Pepe’s does not cook or season the canned tomatoes it uses, according to The New York Times story, “it’s urgent that the unembellished tomatoes and juice are just right.”

The story reports that seven tomatoes were tried right out of the can, with four being eliminated right away. The three remaining tomato brands were pureed and cooked on pizzas, with only one able to retain its flavor to their liking.

The article goes on to include insights from Andrew Smith, a director of agriculture research at the Rodale Institute in Kutztown, Pennsylvania, which points to characteristics of organic canned tomatoes that some find beneficial, such as a more concentrated flavor and less water.

The next time you’re looking for a canned tomato for your sauce, will you employ a similar taste-testing process?

 

Edit Module

Tell us what you think at or email.

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

7 Ways to Prevent Employee Theft in Your Pizzeria

Expensive security cameras aren't the only solution. There are less intrusive ways to cure sticky fingers.

The Dough Must Go On: 5 Pizza Tips From the Dough Doctor

Tom "The Dough Doctor" Lehmann offers suggestions for achieving the right dough temperature, reducing bubbles and more.

The Chef's Corner: Shawn Randazzo, Detroit Style Pizza Co.

Shawn Randazzo sits down in the Chef's Corner to talk about Detroit pies, competing and what inspires his creations from the Motor City!

Touring Pizzerias in the Aloha State

Oahu and Kauai offer a slice of pizza paradise in Hawaii.

Should You Raise Your Pizzeria's Prices in 2019?

If your expenses are on the rise, you might not have a choice. Here are some tips for preventing customer backlash.

Investing in Technology in Anticipation of Tomorrow’s Pizza Industry

Advice from the founder and president of Toppers Pizza on how to leverage technology in your pizzeria.

Recipe: Chicken Santa Fe Pizza

Ready to add a new signature pizza to your pizzeria menu? Try this New Mexican-style pie with a salsa-marinara kick!

Recipe: Bacon, Kale and Potato Pizza

This scrumptious white pizza is loaded with bacon and Asiago cheese flavor.

The Top 10 Old Forge-Style Pizzas in Northeast Pennsylvania

Lifelong NEPA resident and pizza blogger Jim Mirabelli goes on a quest for the best Old Forge-style pies in the “pizza capital of the world."

Keeping the Piece

How Bill Jacobs of Piece Brewery and Pizzeria supports a fan base in Chicago with New Haven-style pizza.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags