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Passata Recipe

Non Traditional Method – Passata Sauce


Passata Recipe

I have been captivated by Passata since participating in my friend’s annual “Sauce Day” event a few years ago. I had to work out how to make my own supply. It was a beautiful and very memorable day. You can read about it here

Passata Fire drums

My friend Deb and her family make “sauce” each year. They make it the traditional Italian way, as taught to them by their Nonna. They have created a custom-made pulp machine and have a well honed process that involves the entire family. The day culminates with a celebration lunch (using the sauce) once the sauce is cooking.  (Read about the day here.)

After the family’s “sauce day” and the bottles of Passata that I enjoyed over the coming months, I had to make my own.  My recipe is not the traditional way to make Passata, in fact I wonder if Deb’s family would even let me call it that!  I  did not have any special equipment, nor an army of helpers. 

Traditional Passata is usually made only with tomatoes and some salt (some families add herbs) I add onion and garlic to aid preservation.  I was never going to bottle the tomato pulp uncooked.  I did not wish to source or install two fire drums in the backyard with the kids running around….  

I have made my Passata recipe for the past three years. I know it tastes amazing, the flavor is incomparable. It also stores well over a period of time. I have only ever had one bottle spoil and it was because the lid was not properly sealed.

Passata Ingredient Preparation

I use this sauce throughout the year :

  • as the sauce on our pizza bases
  • in all tomato based pasta sauces
  • in slow cooking
  • as a replacement for tinned tomatoes

If I open a bottle and do not use it all, I freeze the remainder for another time. You may also freeze all of the Passata in individual containers for storage instead of bottling it if you wish, and if you have the space to do so.

Passata Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Sauce
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 3.3 Liters
  • 400 grams brown onion - peeled
  • 60 grams fresh garlic - peeled
  • ½ tablespoon cooking oil of choice
  • 4 kilograms tomatoes - washed *I generally use Roma Tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 6-9 fresh parsley and/or basil stalks with leaves
  1. Finely chop the onion and garlic. It is easiest to use a food processor to do this.
  2. Remove from the food processor and set aside
  3. Review each tomato and remove any rotten areas that may be present and discard them. Add the tomatoes in batches to the food processor and finely chop or puree. If you do not have a processor then chop the tomatoes into small pieces
  4. Set a large pot to warm over a medium heat hot plate and then add the oil and the onion and garlic
  5. Cook for 5-10 minutes until the onion is starting to soften
  6. Add the chopped tomatoes and stir to combine the two
  7. Add the salt and the herbs and stir again
  8. Over a low-medium heat bring the ingredients to a simmer and leave to cook for about 2 hours. It will thicken a little over this time and reduce in volume
  9. Twenty minutes prior to completion turn on the oven to steralise your bottles/jars
  10. Remove the passata from the heat but place it close to where you will be filling the bottles/jars to avoid spillage
  11. Boil a kettle of water and then tip it over a clean funnel and a scoop to ensure that they are clean
  12. Line up the steralised bottles/jars that you plan to fill and place the funnel into the top of the first bottle/jar.
  13. Fill the bottle with the sauce using the scoop, leaving some space at the top
  14. Continue until all bottles/jars are full and then seal each one tightly
  15. Allow the filled containers to cool completely and then store in a cool dark location
  16. *As with any food that has been in storage for any period of time - any signs of spoilage should result in the bottle/jar being discarded and not consumed.
  17. Use in 3 months.
  18. If you wish you may also set the filled bottles in a large pan of water, bring it to the boil and allow to simmer for 20 minutes.
When removing the steralised bottles/jars from the oven use mitts or a cloth as they are VERY hot
When sealing the lids also use an oven mitt or cloth to protect your hands as they are VERY hot
Keep children away from the area as the liquid and all equipment are very hot.
Low quality glass bottles or jars may crack from the heat so be very careful and only use good quality glass.
The time indicated at the top of this recipe does not include time to bottle the sauce. Allow an extra 30 minutes, especially the first time.
Do you have a family food event that you participate in each year to produce a large volume of food? What is it? I would love to hear about it.






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{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Tania @ The Cook's Pyjamas April 1, 2014, 12:03 pm

    A great method for smaller batches Kyrstie. Thanks for sharing. You can also buy a smaller hand operated tomato pulp machine if you’re not at the machine operated stage yet. You may find in time you really want one. It becomes addictive doesn’t it 🙂
    I am being hassled by my friends to organise a sausage making day this year. Time will tell if that comes off 😉

    • Kyrstie Barcak April 6, 2014, 3:40 pm

      Tania, I would love to do a sausage day and look into learning how to make them. Let me know if you have one so I can read about it 🙂

  • Lizzy (Good Things) April 1, 2014, 4:44 pm

    When I co owned the cooking school and cookware store, we used to sell plenty of those small hand operated passata machines… we always knew when the season was good for tomatoes, as we’d have younger Italians coming in and buying them. Lovely recipe!

    • Kyrstie Barcak April 6, 2014, 3:39 pm

      I had no idea you could get small ones. Maybe I should look into those….

  • Julie's garden blog April 4, 2014, 4:54 pm

    Love passata! The base to many yummy pastas. Love the parsley additive .. Thank you for sharing!

  • Lizzy (Good Things) August 20, 2014, 4:51 pm

    How absolutely glorious!

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