Tomato Passata (Passata di pomodoro)
If you have lots of home grown tomatoes or simply want to take advantage
of cheap prices when local producers have a glut of fruit, consider
making your own passata. I was inspired recently after watching a re-run
of a cooking program where an Italian community bought boxes and boxes
of Roma tomatoes at the end of summer. Everyone came together in the
local community kitchen to make passata to be used at gatherings during
the rest of the year.
The only problem was on the television they has a special machine
that removed the skin and seeds from the tomatoes (I don't have one).
After cooking, they bottled their passata in beer bottles and capped it
using a beer bottle capping machine (costs around $60).
Then in a eureka moment, I remembered that I had an ancient juicing
machine (Ronson) that belonged to my father. It works fine for the small
batches I produce at home.
● Tomatoes (it takes an extraordinary amount - about 1kg of fruit per large 700ml jar)
● Balsamic vinegar
You could also add herbs, onion, garlic etc, but I prefer to add these when cooking the
Wash and quarter the tomatoes and process them
through the juicer to remove the skin and seeds. If you feel too much of
the pulp is being wasted, put this into a sieve and push it through with
the back of a spoon or soup ladle and add this to the juice you have
Place the juice and any pulp into a saucepan and simmer gently until
reduced by at least one third. I add a little bit of salt (about 1/2
teaspoon per jar of passata) plus some balsamic vinegar (you can use
lemon juice) at the rate of 1 tablespoon per jar. (You can put both of
these into the jar when actually bottling if you like). A bay leaf is
traditionally added to the jar prior to sealing.
Boil a big pot of water and drop your bottles and lids in to sterilise.
Remove with tongs and dry, then fill the hot bottles with hot passata
and seal. Place the sealed bottles back into the pot of hot water and
simmer gently for 20-30 minutes to complete the preserving process. I
put a tea towel in the pot to stop the bottles touching the base of the
saucepan and to prevent them banging against one another and breaking.