Passata, my champion of sauces
Bottled passata is my go-to base for just about any tomato-y sauce, soup, or stew, mostly because it’s so versatile. However I’d never really appreciated how much work it takes just to get to the bottle. Last year, I joined the Youth Food Movement Sydney crew to cook, de-skin and de-peel countless local tomatoes to turn into one of my favourite pantry staples. This year you can either host your own passata day, or if you’re in Sydney, crank out some of your own and join other foodies for hand made pasta with the very passata you make on the day! Can’t get much fresher than that!
So when would you use passata instead of any other tomato goop? Well personally I reach for it when I don’t want the distractions of the seed and skins, or I only want to add a background tomato richness to something like a stew or a mushroomy sauce. If I want it chunkier because the tomato is the central element, sometimes I’ll go for a mixture of passata and some chopped tomato, so the sauce both covers and has body. I also use passata instead of tomato paste on pizzas, as I find it dries out less when you’re going for the minimalist approach on a good homemade base. Speaking of minimalist, passata is usually just made of tomatoes and salt, so you don’t have to search for questionable ingredients in a long list (you choose the sweetness too, not the manufacturer). The other reason I like to choose passata is that it never takes on the taste of the can (usually because it’s in glass bottles), and you can quickly see the thickness and quality by tilting the bottle and seeing how liquidy it is. Plus ya know, Sydney doesn’t appear to have very plentiful access to these san marzano tomatoes that every reputable food blog seems to wax lyrical about!
Have you ever tried making your own tomato goop of some kind, and what kind do you generally use the most and why?