5 November 2013

How to make passata

Passata is a staple ingredient in many recipes my family like to eat.  I use it in most tomato based recipes such as Bolognese, Lasagne and to add flavour to many stews.

Passata is very easy to find in most European and British supermarkets but it can be difficult to source elsewhere.  Luckily it is a simple, quick recipe and, for those who grow their own, a particularly effective way to preserve tomatoes over the winter, much like my favourite sun dried tomatoes, this passata gives a taste of summer even in the middle of winter.  In Kazakhstan we can buy tomatoes year round but they do get more expensive over the winter.  I have seen jars of 'tomato juice' in the supermarkets that look like passata but it is so easy that I often make my own by preference.

Because supplies are easy to come by here I make it in small batches but if I find a batch of particularly high quality tomatoes or if I am living somewhere they become unavailable I will process every tomato I can lay my hands on to see me through to the next crop.

To make the passata heat some olive oil in a pan with a bruised clove of garlic.  Quarter the tomatoes and leave them in the pan on a medium heat for 12-15 minutes shaking intermittently.  The tomatoes will start to break down during the cooking process and release their juice.  I understand that most Italian kitchens will have a special mouli or tomato mill to process the passata, this saves time but is not necessary.  I put the mix in the blender and then pass it through a sieve - it is possible to skip the blender and just sieve the mix but it is much quicker to use the blender.

Transfer the passata into sterilised jars then seal - I find these keep for about a month.  If I want to keep the mix for any longer I freeze it - some in large freezer bags for tomato based recipes and some in smaller baby food size pots to add to stews for extra flavouring.

Click on the picture for more posts on the challenges of the expat kitchen.

Ersatz Expat

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