Passata is just a fresh tomato puree. Traditionally passata is made right at the end of summer, when there’s a glut of ripe, juicy tomatoes, and it’s put into bottles so you don’t have to use electricity to keep it frozen all year. You pull out a bottle mid-winter and get a flash of summer warmth in any recipe you cook.
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Simply wash good tomatoes and plunge them in hot water to loosen the skin. I like to mash them up with my hands a little, keeping the free-flow juice in one pot, and putting the flesh through a food mill. This separates the skin and seeds from the pulp, unlike a food processor, which mangles them all up and delivers a coarser flavoured sauce. The thin liquid I use for soup, the thick liquid I store as my passata.
The passata is bottled (it can be a bit textured, which is ideal), capped, and placed in a large pot (lined with tea towels to prevent the jars cracking as they jostle). The pot is filled with water and boiled for a couple of hours to sterilise and preserve the passata. Take care when removing the jars (or leave them to cool in the water), and store in a cool, dark place.
I’ve kept them for up to 2½ years without them losing any quality.