Tomato passata recipe is made with only 1 ingredient: THE TOMATO.
In fact, Italian passata is made from ripe, juicy, flavorful tomatoes cooked briefly and then removed from the seeds and skin.
The result is a pure tomato juice with its pulp and nothing else, used in Italy as a base for many traditional recipes.
Stored in glass jars or bottles WITHOUT the addition of preservatives, flavorings, salt or water. Sometimes it comes with some fresh basil leaves but nothing more.
Tomato passata or Passata di Pomodoro, as it’s called in Italian, is prized for its vibrant red color, rich tomato flavor, and versatility in cooking. It serves as a convenient and quick way to add the essence of tomatoes to various dishes, especially when fresh tomatoes are not in season or readily available.
Tomato passata is often sold in bottles or cans at grocery stores and can be found in the pasta sauce or canned goods section. It’s a popular ingredient in Italian cuisine and is a staple in many traditional recipes.
Traditionally in Italy tomato passata recipe is made right at the end of summer, when there’s a glut of ripe, juicy red tomatoes. Fortunately you can find red ripe tomatoes throughout the year. Just choose the best quality of tomatoes.
In recent years, the popularity of homemade tomato passata has grown, as people have become more interested in traditional cooking methods and the use of fresh, locally-sourced ingredients.
Making your own passata allows you to control the quality and flavor of the sauce, and it is a great way to use up any surplus tomatoes from your garden or local farmer’s market.
With its rich, vibrant flavor and endless possibilities, tomato passata is a true kitchen essential for any home cook!
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Tomato Passata Recipe
- Prep Time: 20 Min
- Cook Time: 20 Min
- Servings: 10
Tomato Passata Ingredients
- 2 Kg (4 lbs 4 oz) very ripe red tomatoes (San Marzano or cluster tomato)
What you Made Need to Make Passata: Kitchen Tools and Equipment
Tomato passata recipe needs some specific kitchen tools. The first and most important is the tomato strainer machine.
There are several types on the market. Some are manual, others electric. Let’s see some of them:
The one we used is electric and is similar to Weston Deluxe Electric Tomato Strainer, that includes 3 stainless steel screens to process tomatoes. So you can make a tomato passata with different textures.
There is also the manual version to clamp to the table, for small quantities of tomatoes. Designed for manual use with an improved handle, you can replace that with the optional Electric Motor.
For small quantities of tomato, you can also use a simple food mill. We recommend OXO Good Grips Food Mill that includes 3 stainless steel grinding discs for preparing tomato passata of fine, medium and coarse textures.
If you want something more professional, for large quantities of tomatoes, we recommend this Electric Tomato Strainer Machine by Raw Rutes. All stainless steel.
If you have the KitchenAid stand mixer then you can consider buying the Fruit & Vegetable Strainer Attachment, which has a food grinder with fine plate for meats and coarse plate for firm vegetables like tomatoes.
Finally, you’ll need a large pot to cook the tomatoes and a fine mesh strainer. This kitchen tool is really useful for a tomato passata with the consistency you prefer. For example, if the tomatoes are rich in water, the passata comes out too liquid. Then with a fine mesh strainer you can remove excess water. The more water you remove, the more thick and dense the tomato passata becomes. We recommend Cuisinart Set of 3 Fine Mesh Stainless Steel Strainers.
Step 1) – For this tomato passata recipe we opted for very red and ripe San Marzano tomatoes. Check the tomatoes one by one, removing rotten, stained or bruised ones. Then wash them very well under running water. Finally put them in a bowl and start cutting in half.
Step 2) – With a knife, remove the seeds and all the inner part of the tomato, as to make small tomato boats. This inner part is very watery, therefore it would make the tomato passata too liquid. So itàs better to remove it. Now place the tomatoes in a rather large pot .
Step 3) – Let them cook over low heat, covering the pot with a lid and stirring from time to time, until they are smashed. Do not add water, it is not necessary. The water you see in the picture is that of the tomatoes. Now take a tomato strainer machine and, with a ladle, begin to place the cooked tomatoes in the special slot.
Step 4) – Turn on the tomato strainer and with the help of the stomper apply some pressure on the tomatoes, to make them go down and enter the machine. As you can see on the left, the skins of the tomatoes and the residual seeds come out, which will be discarded. Instead, lower down, the tomato passata comes out ready to be used. If the passata is still too liquid, pass it through a fine mesh strainer, stirring with a tablespoon, until you get the consistency you want.
Tomato passata is ready! If you prefer you can add some fresh basil leaves.
You can use it immediately in your delicious recipes or keep it stored for when you need it. If you don’t know how to properly preserve the tomato passata, in the next steps we are going to explain the most correct and used method.
How do I Sterilize the Jars for Storing the Passata?
Step 1) – Take a rather large pot, fill it with cold water, then put a kitchen towel on the bottom. Get hold of some glass jars with vacuum seal button lids. Immerse them in the cold water. Turn on the heat and bring the water to a boil. This way you’ll sterilize the glass jars.
Step 2) – After about 10 minutes from the boiling, remove them with kitchen tongs (which you left a few minutes immersed in boiling water to sterilize them) and put the jars to cool on a kitchen towel.
Step 3) – Now, with the help of a funnel, start filling the jars with the tomato passata, but not to the brim. For 2 kg/4 lb+4 oz of tomatoes you’ll get from 500 ml to 700 ml of tomato passata, based on its consistency.
The bump in the middle of the cap is a safety. Now if you press it, it sinks in and you feel it click. This means that the jars are not under vacuum, there is still air inside and bacteria could form.
So to preserve the tomato passata, you can do 3 things:
- freeze the jars, taking care not to fill them to the brim, and keep them for up to 3 months.
- keep them in the fridge and use the tomato passata within 1 week.
- make the vacuum: that is to completely remove the air so that bacteria do not develop. In this way you can keep the jars in the pantry for up to 1 year.
So now let’s see how to vacuum seal jars.
How to Vacuum Seal Jars
Step 4) – Close the jars then bring a huge pot. At the bottom of the pot, put a clean cloth. Lean the jars on the cloth and try to wrap it around the jars (to not crash the jars during the boiling process).
Fill the pot with water. Make sure to completely cover the jars. Use a lid if necessary. Calculate 40 minutes from the moment of boiling. After this time, turn off the heat and let the jars cool in the water. Remove the jars from the pot ONLY when the water is cool.
Now the metal caps must appear slightly curved inwards and by pressing with your finger you should not hear the “click clack”. The jars are now safe. It’s possible to keep the jars of tomato passata in a cool dry place for one year.
What is “Passata Rustica” and How Can I Make it at Home?
Passata Rustica is a rough, pulpy, coarse tomato passata that is excellent for making sauces to dress pasta. It has an excellent yield and cooks quickly with little loss of volume.
It’s a perfect base for any recipe, it’s great for making quick cooking sauces, adding ingredients directly as desired. In Italy, we also use it very often as a topping for pizza, meat and fish sauces, and to season pasta of all kinds.
To make passata rustica at home, you need ripe, juicy tomatoes, preferably of the San Marzano variety. These tomatoes are particularly good for making this sauce. To make an amazing rustic passata, the first step is to use excellent quality tomatoes!
Once washed and dried, cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise and remove the seeds like in step 2. Then you need to cook them for a few minutes like in step 3.
The first trick is not to overcook them to mush. When the skin comes away from the pulp, they are ready.
Now you have to pass them. And here’s the second trick: pass the tomatoes through a food mill using the disc with the largest holes.
This will give you a coarse-grained, full-bodied and fragrant passata rustica that will make the best tomato sauce makers in the world jealous!
Can I use Canned Tomatoes to Make Tomato Passata?
If you want to make tomato passata for your recipes but you don’t have fresh tomatoes, you can use canned peeled tomatoes.
Our recommendation is that they are of excellent quality, possibly San Marzano quality, without preservatives or additives. So read the label carefully. Then proceed following the recipe from step 4.
If it’s a single can of peeled tomatoes, better to use a food mill.
Can I add herbs or spices to the passata recipe, or does it have to be just pure tomato?
Sure! You can add herbs such as basil or oregano that flavor the passata wonderfully!
If you then make a soffritto of onion or garlic and add the passata flavored with your herbs, you will get a mouthwatering pasta sauce!
You have to think of passata as a basic recipe made with just tomatoes, to add to your favorite dishes and ingredients!
There are many Italian recipes that require the use of the Tomato Passata recipe.
You can use it on pizza, which you can then season to taste.
You can make soups, like tomato soup.
How to Choose the Best Tomatoes for Making Tomato Passata?
To make a delicious tomato passata recipe, it would be best to use “San Marzano” tomatoes.
This quality of tomatoes is especially good for making passata. They have a firm pulp with the right percentage of water.
If you cannot find them, you can use other types of tomatoes, such as cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes, as long as they are juicy and ripe.
Always taste the fruit! If you find particularly good tomatoes, don’t pass them up. Use them to make passata. That way you will savor the fresh, intact taste of tomatoes for a long time!
What if the tomatoes are not ripe enough? Let them ripen in the sun for a couple of days.
What is the Meaning of “Passata di Pomodoro”?
“Passata” is an Italian word that comes from the verb “to pass.” Passata is made through a mechanical process whereby tomatoes pass through the blades and holes of the machine used to make passata. This is where the Italian name Passata comes from.
Pomodoro is the rich, juicy fruit you know as “tomato.”