In the late Summer months in Southern Italy tomato season is at it’s peak. A glut of ripe juicy tomatoes means one thing – huge quantities of Passata.
There’s something quite magical about watching a married couple make this rich red sauce together. And whilst Murray and I were photographing this act
taking place, we did indeed feel we were witnessing a very special moment.
My Zia Teresa and Zio Mario have been making this passata together ever since my grandparents passed away, keeping the tradition going. I love this about Italy, family and tradition are deep rooted qualities. It saddened us to hear my cousin, their son, had no desire to do this when he gets older and moving north was a more exciting prospect. To me, there would be nothing better then sitting in your garden, the sun beaming down on you and horde of tomatoes lying on the ground waiting to be squashed. Who knows maybe one day I’ll be the one making it to keep the family tradition going…
The sauce is bottled and stored in a cool dark place to last the coming year.
Here is a guide on how to make Rizzello Passata:
You will need –
Good quality tomatoes
Salt and Pepper
A large saucepan
A Mouli (Pureeing Mill)
Bottles and Bottle capper
- Pick and wash the tomatoes thoroughly.
- Put the tomatoes in a very large sauce pan with some white onions and fresh basil. Bring to the boil until the tomatoes start to break up. Add salt and pepper. Leave to cool slightly.
- Being careful not to burn yourself, use a jug to pour the cooked tomatoes in the Mouli in small amounts and puree the tomatoes. Discard the skin and pulp.
- Pour the pureed tomatoes into sterilised bottles with a funnel and cap them using a bottle capper.
- Finially to preserve the Passata, carefully put the bottles into, (in our case a giant metal barrel) a large sauce pan. Cover the bottles up to their necks, then boil for 20 minutes, cool and store in a dry dark place. Delicious Passata all year round!
* My family makes it by eye, but as a guide I’d say about 500g of tomatoes would need 1 onion and a genourous handful of basil. You can sort of see how much is used in the pictures.