Roast Tomato Passata

If you grow your own tomatoes, I’m sure you’ve encountered a situation where you just can’t eat enough of them. This happens to us every year, between the new plants that we plant and those that self seed from the previous year, we are always inundated, even with children that eat dozens of cherry tomatoes a day!

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This year, I decided to make some passata, something I’d never done before, and it actually turned out to be quite straight forward. I have roasted a lot of tomatoes this year, so after researching passata, I thought I’d try a roast tomato approach and it was really really tasty. We pulled our tomato plants out today, so depending on how many of the green and almost red tomatoes turn red, I will make another batch soon.

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Passata is a smooth, rich tomato sauce that is added to a range of different meals. The process of making passata is a traditional Italian family celebration, where families get together and all pitch in to make passata to last the year. This recipe doesn’t not make that much! The tomatoes are traditionally boiled on the stove tops and then flavoured accordingly, usually depending on the particular family’s traditions.

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I have reserved the seeds and skins, which are excluded from passata to ensure that the sauce is smooth. Instead of discarding this ‘paste’ I have preserved it into a jar as well and we have been using it as a pizza sauce on the base of our pizza, which really makes the pizza special.

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If you have an excess of tomatoes or see them on special at the shops, why not channel your inner Italian Nonna and make some of your own passata.

Enjoy xx.

Ingredients:

Makes 2-3L of passata.

  • 5kg tomatoes, halved (big ones work better)
  • 2 large onions, roughly chopped
  • 1 bulb garlic, peeled and squashed slightly
  • Generous drizzle of olive oil
  • Generous sprinkle of salt and pepper.
  • 2 good handfuls of basil

Method:

  1. Heat the oven to 180°C and line a prepare a large baking tray.
  2. Place all ingredients except the basil into the tray and toss together lightly. Place in the oven and bake until the tomatoes are starting to blister, roughly 30-40 minutes.
  3. Allow to cool slightly then tear and add in the basil. Mix to combine.
  4. Pass through a fine sieve or a mouli until all the juice has been extracted. Repeat this several times until what you have left is essentially a paste of tomato seeds and skins – don’t discard this.
  5. Ensure jars have been washed and sterilised any place the passata into the jars, leaving about 0.5cm at the top of the jar. Place the lids on tightly.
  6. Place the tomato seeds and skin paste into a separate sterilised jar and place the lid on.
  7. Place all jars into a large pot that has a tea towel at the bottom. This stops the jars from bouncing around. Pour water over the jars, ideally overing them and bring the water to the boil. Once boiling, reduce heat and allow to simmer for 40 minutes.
  8. Carefully remove the jars from the water and allow to cool. These will keep for 6 months at room temperature or can also be stored in the fridge.
  9. I store the tomato ‘paste’ in the fridge and use as pizza sauce for our pizza bases.

Slow Roasted Tomato Bruschetta

What a crazy time it is that we are all living in….Coronavirus, halting our lives, forcing us to stay home and slow down. An inconvenience or a blessing in disguise?img_5773-e1496487456421

We have been self-isolating for two weeks now, leaving the house to go to the shops, to exercise or go to work. The kids haven’t ventured out of our suburb in two weeks and were actually shocked when I bought home some Easter eggs from the supermarket the other day as they haven’t come shopping with me since before all the easter stock was front and centre!IMG_7766

With a little more time on our hands, I’ve been trying to think up recipes that I can share that are delicious and suitable for working from home lunches or dinners, which don’t take too long to prepare, yet are not suitable for taking to work. This slow roasted tomato bruschetta is exactly that. It requires about 5-10 minutes hands on time, yet requires time in the oven to roast – perfect to be put on mid morning and roast away while you get back to work.

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Our garden has been producing tomatoes in abundance over the past 6 or so weeks. Elise loves to eat the cherry tomatoes as they are and I have been making Passata with the larger ones, but we are still over flowing with cherry tomatoes, so this is a great dish to use up a chunk of tomatoes if you have an excess. We’ve had it a couple of times now and it is really makes a traditional bruschetta look quite inferior. The kids have enjoyed it too.

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Hope you’re all surviving this weird and wonderful time. Remember to sit back and embrace the extra time you have as it won’t last forever.

Enjoy xx

Ingredients:

Makes 4 slices

  • 400g cherry tomatoes, some halved
  • 2 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed
  • Zest of 1/2 a lemon, coarsely grated
  • 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbs balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 slices of sourdough bread
  • 1 large handful of basil leaves
  • Feta, to serve

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 140°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Place the tomatoes into a bowl and add the thyme, lemon zest, oil, balsamic vinegar and a good grind of salt and pepper. Mix to combine.
  3. Place onto baking tray and slow roast for 45-50 minutes.
  4. Once roasted, remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
  5. Toast the bread and drizzle with olive oil. Top each slice with 1/4 of the tomato mixture. Top with some torn basil leaves and crumbled feta.
  6. Serve as is or with a poached egg.