Last week I made a beautiful passata to use in our spaghetti bolognese for the kids. The inspiration for this recipe came from the book, 'Whole Larder Love'. I used all the same ingredients [I think] but of course I don't really follow instructions properly so I just read what the ingredients were & skimmed through the basic method and then I just went ahead and made it.
Whilst we've always made our own bolognese sauce as opposed to buying a jar of spaghetti sauce, we have always used tomato paste, tomato puree and tinned tomatoes unless we had excess tomatoes on hand. In trying to reduce the amount of processed food we buy and rely more on fresh & single ingredients, making a sauce completely from scratch was definitely appealing to me.
Afterall, tomato paste for instance has approx 560mg per 100g of sodium + preservatives etc..
Tinned tomatoes aren't actually too bad. They contain tomatoes [!] and tomato juice. 3.2g sugar per 100g and 10mg sodium per 100g.
Store bought Sugo di Pomodoro contains 252mg per 100g of sodium, 1.3g sugar per 100g and store bought passata/tomato puree contains 3.6g per 100g sugar .14g per 100g sodium.
So whilst none of them are shocking, its obviously nicer if you have the time to use fresh ingredients & make your own. I loved the taste of the fresh much better so when I do have the time, I most certainly will make it again AND I found there were spin off benefits too.
Ok, so here's the basic recipe for homemade Passata.
As for specific amounts, no idea, you'll have to read the WLL blog or buy the book. But if you are free & easy going [slap dash] in the kitchen like me, you can throw some things together and make a nice sauce easy peasy without too much measuring.
I have to say too, that the book is awesome. For a city chick its bit confronting seeing the results of the hunting but it brings home some extremely important messages about sustainability, excess & knowing where our food comes from. So many good recipes too. And I love the way the book is set out. Very creative & appealing to me. Go check it out!
I bought two trays of cooking tomatoes - maybe 24/26 tomatoes?
Bunch of fresh basil
Drizzle of olive oil
About a bulb - bulb+1/2 of garlic. Cloves peeled, left whole, not crushed
Salt & pepper
Method for Passata:
Thickly slice tomatoes and lay on tray, add garlic cloves & 3/4 bunch of basil chopped, drizzle over with olive oil and bake until you smell the oven. Thats about my only measure of cooking. Tomatoes did not burn & the basil was not completely dried, just wilted. I guess I had it in the oven for at least 30-40mins.
Next, with steel sieve, crush tomato mixture through and catch passata in bowl below. Finely chop rest of basil & add.
I think you can keep that passata for at least a week if kept in a sealed jar/container in the fridge.
I used mine straight away in my new recipe for bolognese sauce.
Method for Bolognese:
Brown extra trim mince
Add passata & simmer
At this point, I realised passata alone wasn't going to be quite enough for the sauce. I also had a whole stack of crushed tomato skins, garlic & basil in the sieve, separated from the passata. See this below...
It looked too good to chuck. And it totally was.
I pureed up these discards & voila! I pretty much had a tomato paste consistency.
So I took a few tablespoons out and put aside for our next home made pizza night and added the rest to the bolognese sauce. Lots of extra richness.
In the end I probably would have liked to also added either a vegetable puree of some sort or fresh diced tomatoes to bulk it out a bit more but I had neither on hand/prepared so I added a tin of diced tomatoes. You could of course add wine, more garlic, oregano, whatever takes your fancy. We like tomato on tomato on tomato with ours.
And here it is, the kids demolished the lot. I'm not too keen on pasta right now but I had a taste and it was lovely. Buckets of flavour. Winner winner bolognese dinner.
And that tomato paste I had put aside....?
It was totally delish on my spelt base pizza. I used hardly any cheese. Just a tiny bit of grated vintage & a few blobs of goats cheese. Mainly ham, basil, more tomatoes and that delish tomato waste/paste.