Classic, homemade salsa di pomodoro / Passata

  • YIELD: 8 cups Servings
  • PREP: 30 mins
  • COOK: 4 hrs 0 min
  • READY IN: 4 hrs 30 mins

The beauty of this homemade sauce (NOT ketchup!) is that you know exactly what has gone in it. This is my version; just as there are thousands of others! The measurements are NOT EXACT- you will need to rely on your instincts and tastebuds to get it right. The freshness and quality of your tomatoes will make a huge difference as well, so buy the best you can afford.



  1. Boil a large pot of water, and fill another (or your sink) with cold water
  2. Working carefully, slice the top brown stem out of the tomato and remove as much of the white pith as possible (I used a small paring knife to cut a around the centre and pulled it out- like coring an apple)
  3. Make a cross in the bottom of each tomato, and working in batches, place them carefully in the pot of boiling water
  4. Allow them to bob in the hot water for 20 seconds or so, then remove with a slotted spoon and put directly into the cold water
  5. When the tomatoes have cooled down, the skins should peel off easily
  6. Discard skins and continue doing this with all of the tomatoes
  7. When all of the skins have been removed, drain the water from the large pot and pour in all of the tomatoes
  8. Over a medium heat, stir the tomatoes to release the juice- they will cook in this- do not add any water
  9. In a sauté pan, heat the oil and allow the garlic and onions to cook slowly
  10. Allow the tomato sauce to come to a boil, then drop to a simmer
  11. Add the cooked onions, garlic and the basil, then using a stick blender or food processor, pureé the sauce until smooth
  12. Now is the tasting time! Add 1 tsp of sugar to 1 tsp of salt, then taste. If the sauce is too tart, add more sugar. If the sauce is too sweet, add more salt. It's all about balance. If you want a sweeter/saltier sauce, add more of both. Add pepper to taste
  13. Cook the sauce over a medium heat for 3 hours, until reduced, and nice and thick
  14. You can freeze the sauce in freezer-bag portions (only do this when the sauce is cold) or put in sterilised jars (this will last for 4 days in the fridge)
  15. Use as a base for pasta sauces, indian dishes, moroccan tagines, or simply toss through some fresh pasta and more basil.
  16. I make this sauce about once a month, and find that I don't need to buy any. Homemade is best!

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