Italian Fresh Tomato Passata

This Italian Family
by This Italian Family
3 lb
45 min

Tomato passata is probably the basis of the majority of Italian dishes. Although I have no scientific proof of that, all good italians have got a huge stock in their cupboards, and summer, when the tomatoes are ripe in the vegetable gardens (which is a must have in Italian countrysides and balconies), is the period to make it.

Because the list of ingredients is so basic, just tomatoes and salt, there is only one important factor that can completely determine the flavour of your passata: the quality of your tomatoes. The classic ones you use in Italy for passata are a variety called "San Marzano". I could never buy these when I was in the UK, so every spring I would buy the seeds for the plants and plant them in my garden just to make this fresh passata and can it for the winter.

For a sweeter version though you can also go for baby plum tomatoes.

Italian Fresh Tomato Passata
Recipe details
  • 3  lb
  • Prep time: 15 Minutes Cook time: 30 Minutes Total time: 45 min
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  • 4.5 lb very ripe tomatoes (preferably the San Marzano variety)
  • Salt to taste

To prepare the tomato puree, let's start by checking the tomatoes well, one by one, making sure there are no parts damaged by stains or dents.
Cut in half lengh-wise and remove the stem and any green part.
Place them all in a large pot with a lid on and cook at medium temperature for 30 minutes, mixing from time to time not to make them stick to the bottom. Add salt to taste.
After that time, when they are very soft and have released all their juices, remove them from the heat and pass them through a vegetable mill that will separate them out from the peel and seeds.
Taste your passata, it shouldn't be too bitter, but if it is (maybe because your tomatoes weren't ripe enough) you can also add a pinch of sugar.
Can the resulting passata with your preferred canning method. Mine is to sterilise the jars, fill them with passata leaving 1 inch from the top empty, putting the lid on and then boiling them in hot water for 20-30 minutes.
  • A simple idea to use your passata up is to make a good pasta sauce with it. I simply cook some chopped onion and garlic in oil, then add the passata and some fresh basil leaves, then add to cooked pasta and job done! If the passata is good quality you really don't need much more to it.