A year's worth of pasta sauce...

16 March, 2013

Today I got my Italian on and made passata.

I had been saving tomatoes as they ripened for a few weeks, and by now had a good few plastic bag fulls in my freezer waiting for a day of suitable temperature for passata making. And finally, today was a day under 30 degrees C and so passata making was the order of the day. Thank goodness for that, as just last week I used up my last bottle from last years batch.

I learned the sacred art of passata making from an Italian friends' parents. In fact, I went to her house and made passata with her extended family while she was mysteriously absent. I don't quite know how she did this as her mother is formidable. But anyway, this was many years ago and since then every year I have made passata as they showed me. But this year, for the first time, I made it with all homegrown tomatoes.

Here is the recipe, which keeps me in pasta sauce for about  two years, so I only made a half recipe this time. Note you will need a massive jam pot or similar, mine is about 40cm across at the top and about 50cm deep. I got it from a wholesale kitchen supplier and really only use it for passata or jam.

Passata
2 cases tomatoes (roma type, but I used a mix from the garden)
8 large carrots
1 stick of celery
2 bunches of basil
2L olive oil
3 handfuls of salt (yes, handfuls - I'd say about 3/4 cup = 1 handful - ish)

Chop all tomatoes into 2cm chunks, with the stem bit cut off (but only just, as being a good Italian you don't want to waste any!),then chop the carrots and celery into similar size chunks and put it all into a massive pot. Throw in the bunches of basil and salt then mix well - hands work best. Get in there son!


Once it its mixed well, add the olive oil. Then slowly bring to the boil and let boil for about two hours, or until reduced by about half. Make sure you stir the pot fairly often so it doesn't stick on the bottom and burn. Not tasty.


Once you have a well reduced pasta sauce, either press the sauce through a sieve to get out the skins and make a smooth sauce, or use a vegetable strainer machine. I have one that attached to my Kitchen-Aid.


This makes the job so much easier, in that I just put ladlefuls of passata into the top part and it strains the sauce into the red bowl while the skins, seeds and other refuse are piped into the white bowl. I want to see if I can make something from this, but that is a task for another day.

This sauce is then put into bottles and preserved in the Fowlers-Vacola unit.

I ended up with 10 small beer bottles (a perfect size for 3-4 meals) and 8 small Mason jars (perfect for one meal but could be stretched to two.)


Of course there was just a little left that didn't make it into the preserving jars. With the house smelling wonderfully of passata for the better part of the afternoon I just had to have pasta for dinner.


Just as we had it at my friend's house, passata with chilli flakes and plenty of parmesan. Delicioso!

10 comments:

  1. I have been preserving my tomatoes whole (well actually usually cut in half) in my fowlers jars but I do want to do some passata as well. I must borrow mums mouli though as I really don't fancy sieving it by hand.

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    1. I would love to do that too, but I don't think I'll have quite enough tomatoes. Yes, a mouli would be very handy, as sieving by hand would be a nightmare! I'm just glad I live in the electrical age.

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  2. Well done. I havent yet nearly enough tomatoes to make passage - maybe next year?

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    1. Cheers. Next year I'll try for more proper passata toms like San Marzano, but its good to know that it works with any type.

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  3. I have just made some passata myself, very boring, plain tomato, really to substitute for canned tomatoes in cooking. I love the look of yours though, I can almost smell it! How long do you process your jars in the vacola?

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    1. Nothing wrong with plain tomato, I only use this recipe because its what I learnt and I love the flavour. I process the bottles for about 1 hour and the mason jars for about 10mins (otherwise I reckon I'd never get the lids off!)

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  4. Envy, pure envy. One day, when I have a summer crop, I will be aiming at tons of tomatoes so I can do the same.

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    1. I'm sure it will not be far away! I'm amazed with what you have done in the short time at your new place, so I'm sure tons of tomatoes is totally do-able.

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  5. Oh thanks for the recipe. I think I may have to try that it looks fabulous. Perhaps I will have to get that attachment for my kitchen aid looks easy

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    1. No problem. The attachment I got in a 3 pack that also has a mincer and a juicer attachement. I got mine (with my kitchen aid) from yourhomedepot.com.au which has very reasonably priced homewares.

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