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!