discovering a simpiler life

discovering a simpiler life

Sunday, 8 March 2015

oven roasted tomato passata in a flash

I'm of good anglo convict stock brought up on meat and 3 veg but I swear sometimes I am Italian.  My Nan, in her teens, had an Italian friend, Carlo from Leece in Italy.  He was a migrant worker in her sleepy home town and their friendship was apparently not of the romantic kind but I think he held a torch for her.
They have exchanged Christmas cards and calendars for almost 70 years and I always delighted at seeing his broken English/Italian writing.  Sadly, we haven't heard from Carlo in a few years so I'm thinking maybe he passed away.
In my fantasy they had an affair and my mum was the offspring so it's true I have Italian blood running through my veins!! Hehehe this is really not the case by the way....but I can dream....

So it's with pleasure that Mr. GW and I live the lives of an old Nonna and Nonno - me in the kitchen and he in the garden.  (But for the record we aren't that old!!) We didn't plan our lives to be like this but it has been a natural transition which has evolved after almost 20 years together and I just love it.

It's days like making this passata that I wish I had a large Italian family and we all did it together then sitting down to a big table of gluttonous delights ~ eating from the garden crops and drinking homemade red wine from small glasses.....yet I'm an only child!
But lucky for me this recipe is so simple I can do it all myself.
We have grown lots of different varieties of tomatoes this year - heirloom to cherry tomatoes, romas, grosse lisse and a few self seeded unknown varieties.  Down here in South-west Victoria, we have had a very mild summer with only a handful of days over 30c, which suits me nicely but is not great for the tomatoes nor the other crops like our eggplants, corn, capsicums and strawberries.  It's been slow and steady which has been great as sometimes it can be overwhelming trying to deal with kilos and kilos of produce all at once.

This sauce is super quick, the longest time is the cooking time of the tomatoes in the oven and then the time you need them in the water bath.  It probably only takes minutes to get them ready for the oven, mouli them, pour into jars and then that's it. 
I made 3 types of sauce, the first a  mixture of cherry tomatoes and a few baby capsicums - pictured above - with some garlic cloves, with the skin left on.  Second was tomatoes with red onions and garlic, skins all on - pictured below - and thirdly just straight tomato.
All you need do is to pre heat your oven to 180-200c and put the tomatoes onto a baking tray with some salt and I used cracked white pepper.  You could obviously add chillis to this for a spicier sauce.  For the large tomatoes I sliced them in half.  They take around 20 minutes or so to blister and brown ever so slightly.  While they are cooking, wash your jars and lids, making sure to get rid of any soap suds.

Once they have blistered and the juices are running out you will need to put them through a mouli with the finest attachment to take out the skins and seeds.  My mouli fits perfectly over a medium saucepan I have which collects all the scarlet juices.  If you don't have a mouli, you could use a sieve and push the tomatoes through with a wooden spoon
I ladle the tomato sauce into a jug and fill the jars.  I have a enough basil around to feed a large Italian family, so I added a few fresh sprigs to each jar.  
Put the jars with the lids on into a large pot of cold water.  Bring to the boil and allow to bubble away for 40 minutes (not vigorously boiling but more than simmering) and turn the heat off.  You can pour the water off or leave the jars to cool in the water, both work fine .  I find this water bath cooking method is great for getting those stubborn jar labels off too!  
So there you have it, my oven roasted tomato passata.
Do you like to make passata? Or do you find it too hard? Or do you have your own Italian family that makes it for you?   
Either way, I promise this is super easy with minimum mess and fuss.

Ciao, Jan x

16 comments :

  1. I'm totally with you and get jealous every time some Italian family writes about a passata day. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane

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    1. shame we all don't live closer Kathy!!! How much fun would we have

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  2. Oh, Jan, that looks absolutely delicious! I can't wait for summer to get my hands on some wonderful tomatoes. I picture ladling it on top of homemade pasta with fresh grated cheese. Yum!

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  3. Let's try again. The first comment said no DNS lookup.

    I had a passata day once ever and ended up with tomato sauce in my hair and even in my shoes. It was a glorious day but never again. At least never again on my own.

    I loved the story about how you might be Italian. I LOL'd.

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    1. It worked!! Oh I've just lol'd at you and your passata day!! hahaha

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  4. That looks sooooo good. An excellent gift idea.

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  5. Perfect! Thanks for the recipe Jan. And I'm also an only child!

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    1. Oh Jem we are a rare breed us only children!!! Us only's have to stick together ;)

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  6. I'd love to get involved in a passata day too. And a roasting a whole pig/lamb day too.....neither of which are in my bloodline with my Eastern European ancestors.....it's just too sad for words. I can get tomatoes on the vine here in Carrefour so I'll be giving this a go -a mouli would be easier than a sieve though I reckon don't you?

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    1. Nancy now seriously we would be the best of friends, making sauce and whoofing down crackling pig with the juices running down our chins, sipping our Chianti :)

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    2. and defintley the mouli is so much easier and quicker

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  7. i had no idea what a mouli was til now.
    wow this recipe has no sugar, awesome! not that i can eat tomatoes anymore but handy to know that you can preserve without, thanx
    thanx for sharing

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  8. Hehe what a cute story Jan! I used to wish that I had different parents too! :P Although that would obviously ignore the similarities that we have which are pronounced. Great idea especially for smaller lots of tomatoes!

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  9. I swear I've had exactly the same words come from my mouth! I can remember asking to be dropped off by friends parents to the 'ityes' place a couple of doors down because I thought it looked far more exotic and interesting than my M&D's boring old house. Their front yard looked a lot like your photo above and I could hide in there and pretend all sorts of things, pick beans and tomatoes and I think I even hid the 'strap' there once. :)

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