Tomato Passata Recipe | How to Make Italian Tomato passata

Here is how to make Italian tomato passata recipe and how should you use it.

tomato passata recipeTraditionally in Italy passata is made right at the end of summer, when there’s a glut of ripe, juicy tomatoes. But fortunately red ripe tomatoes can be found throughout the year. It is enough to know how to choose the right quality. Today we’ll try to show you a way to enjoy the taste of ripe tomatoes in every season and we’ll do it making the classic tomato passata.

Tomato passata is one of the most useful basic recipe in Italian cuisine. It is uncooked tomato, without seeds or skins, which is bottled and preserved to be used in sauce dishes throughout the year. It can not be eaten directly from the bottle as it requires cooking.

What do you use Passata for?

You can use it to make pizza, or just add it in many pasta sauces, such as sugo all’amatriciana, penne alla vodka, lasagna, spaghetti with tomato sauce or fresh egg noodles with bolognese sauce (Ragù alla Bolognese). There are many Italian recipes that require the use of the tomato passata recipe.

Best Tomato Variety for Passata

In order to make a delicious tomato passata recipe it would be better using  “San Marzano” tomatoes. If you can’t find them, you can use other type of tomatoes, such as cherry tomatoes, pizzutello, datterino or cluster tomatoes, as long as they are ripe red. If tomatoes are not ripe enough, let them ripen in the sun a couple of afternoons.

What is a substitute for tomato passata?

There is no substitute for tomato passata. Why, you say? Because tomato passata is a basic recipe made only with tomatoes and nothing else. You can find tomatoes everywhere and it’s very easy to make. So why substitute it when you can easily make it by yourself? But pay attention: if you add other ingredients such as onion, garlic, oil, you are making a tomato sauce that is a different recipe.

READ: Tomato Passata, Tomato Sauce and Tomato Puree. Do you really know the difference?


Passata is an Italian word that comes from the Italian verb passare, in English go through. This is because the tomato passata is obtained through a mechanical process whereby raw tomatoes go through the blades and the holes of the machine used to make passata.

Tomato Passata Recipe

Prep Time: 20 Min
Cook Time: 1 Min
Yelds: 10


  • 2 Kg (4lbs 4oz) very ripe red tomatoes


tomato passata 1

1) – For our tomato passata recipe we chose small sweet tomatoes, very red and ripe, known in Italy as tomatoes pizzuttello. But, how said above, you can choose between San Marzano, cherry or cluster tomatoes.  Now fill a large pot with water, turn the heat on and bring water to a boil. Meanwhile, wash tomatoes under fresh water. Someone usually make a small cut in the tomato skin so to lose excess water during cooking. That’s a good suggestion. In our case it was not necessary because we used very ripe and firm tomatoes whose skin easily broke during cooking. When the water is boiling, dip them for about 1 or 2 minutes maximum.

tomato passata 2

2) – Tomatoes can be removed from the water as soon as the skin breaks. Finally let them cool, then remove the skin and (if you can) seeds with yor hands .

Why you have to put tomatoes in boiling water

This way it will make it very easy to remove the skin and you will get a lot less waste product.

tomato passata 33) – Now it’s time to crush the tomatoes. If you don’t have the machine to make the tomato sauce, you can use the rotary food mill. We usually use the disk with largest holes that’s why you have to take away skin and seeds, otherwise you will find them in your tomato passata. Cut the tomatoes into pieces and put them in your rotary food mill and then crush them.

tomato passata 4

4) – Sometime you will get a very liquid passata, because of the tomatoes: they contain a high amount of water. To make it dense, filter the tomato passata through a clean cloth, placed in a strainer or in a bowl. This way you will separate liquid from tomato pulp and your tomato passata will be thicker.

Why should you have a food mill among your kitchen tools

food millA food mill is easy to use, easy to clean and cheap. It’s useful because it’s part strainer and part masher/saucer. A food mill crushes foods by forcing them through a perforated disk which also separates out any seeds, core or skin. We often use it to make tomato sauce or tomato passata, to mash potatoes or pumpkins, or to make soup.

How to preserve tomato passata

The ways to preserve tomato passata are the same for tomato sauce.
Get hold of some glass jars with caps. Immerse them in a very large pot with cold water. Turn on the heat and bring the water to a boil. This way you’ll sterilize the glass jars and caps. After about 10 minutes, remove them from the water and fill them with tomato passata. Those who wish, may add a few basil leaves. Close the jars.

Now you have to sterilize the glass jars with tomato passata

How to sterilize jars

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. Calculate 20 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.
It’s possible to keep the jars of tomato passata in a cool dry place for one year.

Tomato Passata Recipe Ingredients Box

Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 1 min
Yields: 10
  • 2 Kg (4lbs 4oz) very ripe red tomatoes


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