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Jan 11, 2022

Panini al Pomodoro | Italian Tomato Rolls

Panini al Pomodoro are rolls originating in Venice, Italy. They include tomato paste in the dough, plus, they are decorated with tomato paste, along with Italian herbs.

Panini al Pomodoro rolls.


These rolls, filled with tomato paste and topped with a dab of more tomato paste and herbs resemble little tomatoes (at least if you squint a bit). 

The dough begins with a biga, or preferment, which you make a day in advance to develop flavor. Just make it the night before, cover it, and let it get bubbly over night. 

Also included in the dough are sautéed onions, which you mix with the tomato paste before kneading them into the dough. 

Panini al Pomodoro dough.

Tip for kneading the onions and tomato paste into the dough:

This tip is the same one I use to knead liquids or fats into an already smooth dough. Sometimes, when you are trying to incorporate wet ingredients into dough that has come together, your dough can slosh around in your mixer without the new ingredient fully incorporating.

If you notice your dough is sloshing around, remove it from your mixer, turn the mixer on low, and then tear off smallish pieces of the dough and drop them into the mixer about every 30 seconds or so. Just as you add the last few pieces, your dough will magically come together. 

Panini al Pomodoro with charcuterie.

Along with the dab of tomato paste that you top the shaped dough before baking, you can add a sprinkle of fresh herbs. I has some fresh Italian parsley, basil, sage, and thyme leaves in my herb garden, which I thinly sliced (except the thyme), to sprinkle around the tomato paste. 

You can also chop the herbs into small bits and sprinkle them all over the rolls after brushing the dough with olive oil. 

Mix up the herbs with your fingers and sprinkle them over the oiled dough before baking. 

Panini al Pomodoro chopped herbs.

These rolls are fabulous for sandwiches or snacks with salami, Fontina cheese, olives, and other Italian meats and cheeses. 

Serve them, freshly baked accompanied with your favorite Italian deli staples. You can also slice them through the middle for sandwiches. 

The flavor of these rolls is slightly tomato-y, but the aroma is totally is reminiscent of tomatoes, if that makes sense. 

Panini al Pomodoro with salami.

According to Carole Field, the author of the book, The Italian Baker: The Classic Tastes of the Italian Countryside: Its Breads, Pizza, Focaccia, Cakes, Pastries, and Cookies, this bread can be found all over Venice. 

Along with the flavor, I love the red/orange tomato-y color of these rolls. It really sets off the Italian charcuterie as a first course to a meal. 

Panini al Pomodoro in a basket.

Last month, the Bread Bakers made decorated breads. My contribution was Christmas Wreath Focaccia

This month, the Bread Bakers are getting creative and baking breads that are naturally colored. That means, that our dough should be colored with a natural ingredient. If you love the idea of dough that has been colored with veggies, herbs, or spices, be sure to try Spinach Focaccia, Sourdough Golden Beet Bread, and Sourdough Kumquat and Green Tea Bread

Bread bakers logo

Happy New Year! We are starting this year’s events with a colorful beginning. Our theme for this month is “Naturally Colored Breads” and Radha of Magical Ingredients is our host. #BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

Italian Tomato Rolls in a basket

Recipe inspired by The Book of Buns and The Italian Baker. I highly recommend both books. 

Would you like to comment?

  1. I have my son in laws parents from France coming for dinner on Friday and we are starting with an antipasti. I think these would be marvelous served alongside that platter.

  2. This is a beautiful bread, Karen! I have made with sundried tomatoes. Using tomato paste sounds great and would love to try this weekend!

    1. I've done sun dried tomatoes in bread too, but the tomato paste is new to me also!

  3. You don't have to squint! As I saw the pic, I thought, "Wow! They even look like tomatoes."

  4. Yum, yum, yummy! Love the flavors, love the topping, so pretty and appealing!

  5. I must be squinting just right because I do think these look like little tomatoes. Beautiful rolls, Karen, and such wonderful flavors!

  6. This delicious and great flavor bread. I would love to try it. I may use sourdough version.

  7. Tomato Rolls are a burst of lovely flavours. Sauteed onions, tomatoes, herbs....sounds YUM! And yes, when I squinted a bit, I did see delcious tomatoes :)


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