The slow cooker chef: Easy passata recipePosted by Fiona Nevile in Kitchen equipment, Sauces Gravy Dressings, Vegetables and Sides, Vegetarian | 19 comments
“Now you are going to see a piece of kitchen equipment that hasn’t been used for twelve years.”
Danny was goggle eyed as I moved the Wellington boots to access the kitchen cupboard. I’d remembered that years ago Seraphina had given me a food mill for pureeing apples. It was right at the back – a bit dusty but complete with a range of three grinding disks. After a few minutes I worked out how to assemble the beast and clipped it onto a saucepan. I glanced at the handle – this was an Italian model reassuringly named Passatuttu. Perfect.
I was making passata. Again.
Passata (sieved tomatoes) is an essential ingredient in the cottage kitchen. I’ve tried not using it in pasta sauces, supplementing tomato puree instead but the softness and richness is lost.
This year I was determined to make my own. I looked in my Italian cook books and drew a blank. Then I scuttled about on the internet and began to realise that I was searching for something so obvious that people don’t really need a recipe. Basically you need a non reactive saucepan, a sieve or food mill and at least a kilo and a half (3 lbs) of tomatoes.
Initially I simmered the tomatoes in a large open and pressed them through a metal sieve. They were OK and could be useful in a “we’ve run out of passata drama”.
But it would have to be a real emergency as they were a tad tasteless and watery.
Surely I could make something better than that? I decided to use the slow cooker as it seems to be the perfect receptacle for enhancing flavours. I added garlic, balsamic vinegar and a large pinch of celery salt. The result was astonishingly good. However this is recipe is only practical if you have a glut of tomatoes or can buy them cheap in bulk as 1.5 kilos of fruit only produced 700 ml of passata.
On the food mill front, I was astonished how effective it was. Perfect for preparing pulp for fruit cheese. No more tedious sieving for me. It was great to use a well designed machine that doesn’t need electricity for a change. Unfortunately I can’t find my one for sale on the internet. Amazon has something similar here. Lakeland has the tomato master on sale for £9.99.
Easy Passata recipe
- 1.5 kilos of ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp of balsamic vinegar
- 1 large pinch of celery salt
- 5 cloves of garlic (this seems a lot but the passata doesn’t taste garlicy)
- Place all the ingredients to your slow cooker. Set the heat to high and let the tomatoes cook for an hour (lid on).
- Then turn the heat to low and cook for a further hour.
- Either sieve the tomatoes to remove the skins and seeds or pass the tomatoes through a food mill.
- Return the tomatoes to the slow cooker and simmer on high, with the lid off, for a couple of hours to let the sauce thicken. Taste and season if necessary.
- Pour into hot sterilised jars with lids and process using the hot water bath, for 20-25 minutes depending on the size of the jars.
- Having mastered this is a great excuse to finally invest in a pasta machine!
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