Every year my family gets together to make ‘la salsa’, or passata di pomodoro. Everyone participates, even the nipotini. It is a 2 day event and we are all tired today, as we made about 180 litres of salsa/passata! Some of the tomatoes came from our gardens, but most of them were purchased.
The ripe pomodori are washed, then cooked in a really big pot until soft. Then they are drained in baskets lined with cloth. If they aren’t drained well, then the passata will be too watery. To make’pomodori pelati'(peeled tomatoes) instead of passata, the skin is removed by hand and the whole pomodori are put in jars.
Passata refers to ‘passed’ through a sieve, a passapomodoro, or an electric machine to extract the juice and pulp and remove the skin and seeds. Our machine is called a ‘spremipomodori'(tomato squeezer!). We thought it bit the dust last year, and bought a new one which didn’t work. So we had to dig out the old one and give it a try. This thing just keeps on ticking!
Salt is added to the passata/salsa as a preservative and it is ladled into jars with fresh basilico (basil). We use canning jars and juice bottles. My relatives in Italia used to ladle their salsa into big amber beer bottles!
Sterilized lids are screwed on tightly, and the jars are place back in the large pot, which is lined with cloth so they don’t clang together. The pot is brought to a soft boil for about half an hour.
The warm jars are placed upside down and covered in blankets until the next day when they have cooled. Then they are stored in the cantina!
I hope you enjoyed your passata di pomodoro tour! Now I’m in the mood for orecchiette con sugo! Ciao, Cristina