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Monday, March 19, 2018

Passata Day


Passata Day. It's the Italian family tradition I've envied ever since reading Looking for Alibrandi. Who didn't dream of a romanticised day of canning with the extended family? And then it happened. Tomato pulp galore on a scorching hot day. Never give up hope, guys. Passata Day dreams can come true! How did it all go down? Read on!

Organic Roma tomatoes 

We started with a pick-up of 50 kilos of organic Roma tomatoes from Sift Produce.

Blanching the tomatoes

A couple of hours and several food shop detours later, we were back at Casa del Pig Flyin aka Passata HQ. After giving the tomatoes a quick wash, we blanched them in hot water to soften the skins.

Blanched tomatoes ready for juicing

The blanched tomatoes were transferred to a bucket, ready for pressing through the passata machine kindly lent by Racy Staci.

Pushing the tomatoes through the passata machine

There was a frisson of excitement when we first turned the machine on. Add the tomatoes to the funnel and press, not dissimilar to an electric juicer.

Passata machine success!

The tomatoes are pulverised and forced through a tunnel with fine holes.

Tomato pulp

The sieve allows the tomato juice and pulp to pass through, cascading into our waiting bucket.

Tomato skins

The tomato skins continue on, exiting the end of the tunnel. We run the skins through the machine several times to get every last bit of tomato juice out.

It's an extraordinary efficient process, thanks to the electric motor.

Reducing the passata to a thicker sauce

Most Italian families would bottle their passata straight out of the machine, but because we didn't have enough bottles we thickened the sauce, reducing it by 70%. This process took the longest - over an hour - mostly because we had to do this in batches due to limited stockpots.

Passata production completed

Et voila! Our thickened pasta was finally transferred to glass jars, ready for canning. Once the jars have been immersed in boiling water and heated through, they should be shelf stable for at least a year, presuming they last that long!

Roma tomatoes with fresh mozzarella

We made passata from 45kg of tomatoes, reserving the best 5kg for eating. Pig Flyin whipped up a tomato-themed dinner for the passata crew, starting with Roma tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, fennel tops from the garden and a good dousing of extra virgin olive oil.

Crumbed and fried quail

Two quails were dipped in panko crumbs and deep fried until golden. PFQ - Pigflyin fried quail!

Cavatelli with our passata sauce

Our passata sauce was served with cavatelli. It had such a bright and intense tomato flavour.

Tomato salad with sweet onions and home grown cucumber

More Romas were served as part of a rustic salad, tumbled through with sweet onions and home grown cucumber and fennel tops.

Home grown tromboncino zucchini with chilli passata

A tromboncino zucchini - the first of their crop - was harvested from the garden and simmered in passata. A background hit of chilli made this such a tasty vegetarian dish.

Sirloin on the bone cooked directly on charcoal

And then were was this beauty, a sirloin on the bone from Feather and Bone cooked directly on charcoal. The meat was extraordinarily tender, especially against that caramelised char.

I'm hoping Passata Day will be a new tradition. I cannot wait for next year's!



6 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 3/19/2018 01:00:00 am


  • At 3/19/2018 8:06 am, Blogger Phuoc'n Delicious said…

    Yipeeeee!!! You'll always remember your first time 😅

  • At 3/20/2018 5:08 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Your Pig Flyin posts are always my favourite! Looks like such a great day.

  • At 3/20/2018 8:08 am, Anonymous The Napoli Alert said…

    It's funny, when we were kids and my mother would tell us it was tomato day, there would be a lot of eye rolling. We'd have a production line (staggering quantities would be made), my nonna, my zia, my cousins, each of us with a role. Who would wash the tomatoes, who would add the basil, who would bottle. I look back on it now with fondness and wish I had photos. I do have photos of salami making though - a whole pig on the bench and me in my school uniform wielding a giant meat cleaver!

  • At 3/20/2018 7:05 pm, Blogger irene said…

    Soooo many tomatoes!
    The feast looks absolutely amazing.

  • At 3/21/2018 8:06 am, Anonymous Bianca@forfoodssake said…

    Similar sentiments as Napoli Alert. We'd always fear Passata day!! Hahaha, the work.. the mess!! I treasure it now, the Nonni are getting on in age but they still do 1-2 batches a year. And the sauce... nothing compares!

  • At 3/22/2018 7:31 pm, Blogger Divegurl said…

    very envious! Will I get to try the passata (wink)?


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