Tomato passata is an ingredient that features a lot in my recipes. It is not well known as canned tomatoes or tomato sauces. I thought it would be helpful for my readers to do a simple guide on tomato passata and why I love to use it in my cooking.
Tomato passata- what is it?
Its pureed and strained uncooked tomatoes. It doesn't have any extra additives or flavors. Just tomato and water. It makes gorgeous tomato based sauces. Traditionally in Italy passata is made right at the end of summer, when there’s an abundance of ripe, juicy tomatoes. It is one of the most useful basic recipes in Italian cuisine.
How to use tomato passata
I discovered tomato passata while living in Ireland and fell in love with it's versatility. I've been using it ever since. It makes thick, intense tomato flavored sauces than fresh tomatoes or the canned/crushed tomatoes. Unlike the chopped or crushed tomatoes you don't need to simmer for long to break it down to make thick sauces. It already is smooth and thick and need minimal cooking time which is why I love them.
I use it in quick pasta sauces, pizza, lasagna, bolognese, stews and even in curries.
Where to buy tomato passata
It mostly comes in tall glass bottles. Some brands like Pomi comes in tetra packs. Most supermarkets stock them with pasta sauces in the bottom shelves. Here in Canada, you can get them in Costco, Walmart and Freshco. I like to buy the San Marzano brand from Costco which comes in 6 packs.
Substitute for tomato passata
Tomato Puree is the closest substitute for passata. You can buy it in supermarkets. Or make it using fresh tomatoes. Pick the reddest and ripest tomatoes you can find, submerge them in boiling water and leave it until the skin comes off. Peel the skin and discard the seeds. Blend and strain.
The difference between passata and
Tomato paste - It's the concentrated form of cooked tomatoes. It's weird coming out of a tube and I'm not a big fan. Passata is thinner in consistency and uncooked. Passata has a mild flavor compared to the bold flavor of the paste.
Tomato sauce- Where I come from tomato sauce is ketchup, the sweetened condiment. But here in Noth America, it's chopped tomatoes cooked down with vegetables,herbs and salt. Passata is 100% tomatoes.
Canned tomatoes or crushed tomatoes- These are crushed pieces of tomato in a thin liquid and needs to be cooked down to make thick sauces. Whereas passata already has a thick smooth consistency.
I love using passata and you can see some of my recipes made using passata. And there's more to come.