Posts Tagged ‘homemade passata’

We regularly make pizza at home, and when we do, our toppings are almost always the same.  After several years of trial and error, we’ve found the combinations that suit the discerning palates of our sons and we rarely waiver from them.  That certainly doesn’t make them boring – quite the contrary – after a long week, it’s often nice to eat something familiar and comforting.

Our basic bread recipe makes enough dough for four large bases. We always start with a potato pizza, followed by a pizza each for the boys, and one for Pete and I.

Small Man’s pizza is topped with homemade tomato passata, mozarella cheese, dry cured pancetta, Swiss Brown mushrooms, Sicilian and Kalamata olives, Italian anchovies and fresh oregano.  Last time we also included some San Daniele prosciutto, at the suggestion of my friends at Real Food has Curves.  In pizza terms, we don’t really use a lot of cheese, just a thin layer under the toppings to hold them down.

Big Boy’s pizza has the same base ingredients, but is covered with finely sliced Spanish onion in place of the olives and anchovies, neither of which he can stand.  Small Man, on the other hand, can’t abide onions.  It was either make two different pizzas, or feed them both a meat-lover’s special.

Can you suggest any interesting toppings? Pete and I share one  between us, and it would be lovely to have some new ideas for our pizza, even if the boys won’t eat it!

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Whenever we can, we make our own tomato passata, using an adaptation of a Bill Granger recipe.  Forget your preconceived notions of sauce making being an all day affair involving barrels of tomatoes and backyard boilers – this is an easy way to make a reasonable quantity of passata in a relatively short time.  We freeze our sauce in one cup (250ml) takeaway containers, which is a good working quantity for us – one tub is enough to top three pizzas, or three tubs will make a batch of bolognese sauce.

To give you some idea of value – we bought a box of romas from Jimmy the Tomato Man last Friday for $10 ($1/kilo).  We still have two kilos left, which means the eight kilos we used cooked down to nine small takeaway containers.  It doesn’t seem like very much, but remember that the tomatoes have already reduced.  As a result, you don’t need to use nearly as much in a recipe, nor do you need to cook it for as long. Apart from being  more economical (our bolognese sauce uses $9 – $10 worth of tinned and bottled tomatoes, when we don’t have our own), the homemade passata tastes better – Big Boy now won’t eat pizzas topped with anything else.

Step 1: buy great tomatoes.  Romas are by far the best if you can afford them, but the recipe will work with any sort of red tomato, providing they’re ripe and juicy, but not too mushy. Wash them and cut them in half, then lay them out on a large oven tray lined with parchment paper.

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Step 2: Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle over with salt. Bake in a preheated 220C oven for about half an hour, or until some of the edges just start to blacken.

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Step 3: In the meantime, heat olive oil in a large pan and fry some chopped onion and garlic until soft.  Add the roasted tomatoes with any juices to the pan and stir well.

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Step 4: Add a large spoonful of tomato relish (optional). We use one that Pete makes.

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Step 5: Cook well until the skins separate from the tomato flesh and the passata is reduced and thickened to your liking.

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Step 6: Process the sauce through a food mill to remove the skins.

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Step 7: Ladle the finished passata into containers, label and store in the freezer.

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