After various requests I decided I’d better get this recipe up here. I make this passata every year once the tomato glut is in full-swing. I make as much as I can and, whenever I need a quick and easy meal, I just open up a jar and serve it with tagliatelli, with fresh basil stirred in and a topping of grated parmesan. If I’m feeling extravagant I may even add in some black olives and mozzarella! This passata does take a bit of time and effort to make, but I reckon it is well worth it. The recipe comes from Pam Corbin’s fantastic book, Preserves, which I use lots at this time of the year, and can’t recommend highly enough.
Ingredients (makes 3 x 500g jars)
2.5k tomatoes, halved
4 medium onions, peeled and thinly sliced
4 big garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
Some sprigs of rosemary, thyme, basil and oregano (any or all)
1 tsp sugar
3 or 4 tbsp olive oil
Stage One: the tomatoes
1. Lay the tomatoes, cut side up, in two large roasting tins; scatter with the onion, garlic, herbs, salt, sugar and oil, and cook at about 170 C/GM 3 for about 50 minutes/an hour, until the tomatoes are well cooked and the mixture is browned.
2. When cool, sieve the mixture through a mouli. You can rub it through a sieve, but it’s pretty messy and a mouli really works best. It is worth investing in one. You can puree the whole lot, or I like to puree half and keep half of it intact. (Compost the remains or, if you have chickens, they love pecking their way through it!)
Stage Two: the jars
You need three sterilized 500g screw-top jars for this (I re-use old ones). You sterilize them by washing them and standing them upside down in an oven, at 140 C/GM 1 for 15 minutes. The lids, once washed, should be covered in water and brought to the boil in a small pan, then left in the water until needed.
Stage Three: bottling
1. Bring the tomato mixture to the boil in a saucepan.
2. When it is ready, take the jars out of the oven and fill each jar to the brim. Screw the lids on tightly and leave to cool. As they cool, you may hear a ‘pop’ as the jars seal and the lids pop down. It’s a very satisfying sound!
(note: the original recipe recommends cooking the jars now in a saucepan of water for half an hour or so, standing them on a folded tea towel in the bottom of the pan, but I have never done that and it has always been fine. It’s your choice.)
3. The passata is now ready to be put away, to be used whenever you need it during the year.