Tomatoes are growing like weeds in the heritage rose garden at the Richmond Farm. They’re all cherry tomatoes so probably came up from compost. Frank and I picked several batches and roasted them with a bit of olive oil and some Italian herbs – yummy.
But there were still more tomatoes to be had. Oh, the pressure!
So we decided to make passata. Strictly speaking, passata is uncooked, sieved tomatoes. But, after spending some time on the internet reading recipes and techniques – all of which called for some sort of heating, even if only after bottling by standing the jar in a pot of boiling water – we decided on a lightly cooked variety. The reason for this is we wanted it to keep and we weren’t confident that straining a bunch of tomatoes into a jar would prevent them from growing mould or worse.
Here’s our recipe for our passata (or maybe tomato sauce) with a bonus bottle of tomato juice:
1) Wash any number of tomatoes.
2) Put them in a pot with a few basil leaves (optional) and a tiny bit of water. Simmer for about 15 minutes until the skins start to loosen.
3) Spoon liquid from the top of the pot into a sterilised bottle – voila, you have tomato juice.
4) Squish tomatoes through a sieve leaving behind the skins and seeds.
5) Heat sieved flesh until it just starts to boil.
6) Pour passata into sterilised bottles and put the lid on immediately so they seal tightly as they cool.
7) Store in the cupboard, no refrigeration required until you open the jar.
I believe most people throw away (or compost) those tomato skins and seeds. Not us – we hate waste. We made a spaghetti bolognaise at the same time as we were making passata and plunked the skins and seeds in with the mince. The result was possibly the best bolognaise sauce I’ve ever eaten. Besides the rich tomatoey flavour, those seeds added a really nice crunchy, kind of nutty texture. What a surprise treat!
Multiple yums. And you should taste the tomato soup!
Yoiu can never have too many tomatoes!! Heston Blumental suggests slow roasting tomatoes on a very low heat for 4 hours with a little oil and garlic. I did this, didn’t strain, but just put into containers in the freezer and there you have a perfect base for bolognese or other tomato sauces.
I have a funny feeling that’s it’s very difficult to ruin tomatoes. They are great raw, lightly roasted, sun dried or cooked to death. You’re right, you can’t have too many!
I do something similar with my tomatoes but last year I invested in a hand mouli that grinds up most of the stuff which I then reduce so that it takes less room up to store. There is nothing to beat the flavour of homemade tomato sauce. It makes the simplest of dishes impressive.
I think reducing makes a lot of sense. When you use it, it’s easy enough to add water and there’s never enough space in the pantry!
Oh yum, I thought they would still have to be processed in a water bath. Maybe I complicate things too much. You must have moved already?
I think you need the water bath if you don’t cook them – which, let’s face it, is cooking them! We haven’t moved yet – we’re spending week days in Richmond getting the house ready (or supervising workers getting the house ready), and playing in the garden then heading home every weekend for lots of stuff there. Busy times.
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Seems fitting to read about tomatoes on the death of renowned cookbook author Marcella Hazan. Her tomato sauce is a winner and became a worldwide cult recipe. Here it is: http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Classic-Tomato-Sauce-Onion-Butter
I feel horrible as I haven’t heard of Marcella Hazan, but I’m sorry to hear of her death any way. The recipe you sent looks delicious. Thanks for the link.