Sunday, March 7, 2010

Saucey Sunday

The Labour Day long weekend is traditionally a time for sauce making.
So it was all hands on deck as we prepared for the annual ritual.
We bought our tomatoes at the Queen Vic Market from John at Tomato City.
He looked after us with some fine flavoursome tomatoes.

Making passata is really very easy.
Roughly chop the tomatoes - no need to plunge them into boiling water to get rid of their skins ... just throw them in the pot - skins and seeds and all - let them cook down slowly. This takes about an hour. I don't add any herbs or other flavouring at this point. I like to bottle the pure tomato flavour, then add garlic, onions, cloves and herbs when I use the bottle of sauce for specific recipes.

While the tomatoes are cooking ... sterilise the bottles and lids.
We do ours in the dishwasher, but you can also wash them in hot soapy water and then dry them in a slow oven while you boil up the lids on the stove.
While all this is happening - open a bottle of wine, or put on a pot of coffee and sample the platter of fresh figs, ashed goat's cheese and prosciutto ....

When the sauce is cooked down - let it cool a little then ladle it into the mouli and hand grind the mixture. Then the magic happens - the seeds and skin are separated and you're left with pure tomato passata.

Ladle into the hot bottles and add a basil leaf or two.

Then cap .... and place the bottles in a water bath - in a Fowler's Vacola or a large saucepan on the stove. Cover the bottles with water and bring to the boil. Then boil for an hour.
This preserves the tomatoes and the process forms a vacuum, allowing the passata to be stored for years.

My bottles are bubbling away as I write.

I also made meatballs earlier this afternoon and cooked them in the freshly made sauce and served them on a on a mound of spaghetti for dinner. Some shaved parmesan added the finishing touch.


The bottles are cooling on the kitchen bench - beautifully sealed.

Into the pantry they go - ready to be added to recipes across the year.

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White Dove said...

Beautiful tomatoes from the market and the passata looks delish. Pina would approve.....and I love your new heading x

Gillian aka Silly Gilly said...

YUM. Such love and care you are putting into those bottles! I'm impressed!

Beach Vintage said...

Wow, my mouth is watering. Clever gal!

Cathy (Tinniegirl) said...

Oh I've always wanted to give sauce making a go. Someday...

Christina said...

Fantastic! I think I need to get some tomatos! I have been storing the jars from the tomato pasta sauce we currently buy ready and hopeful to make my own. Thanks for the encouragement! :)