We got elbows-deep in tomatoes for our recent Passata Day event in Sydney. Turning juicy late-harvest tomatoes into traditional Italian passata means a bottle full of summer in your pantry, ready to form the basis of so many meals over the coming months. Here are a few ideas on what you can turn passata into for a delicious dinner.
A wholesome, meat-free alternative to a sumptuous Italian dish.
By Helena Rosebery
• 2 stalks celery, chopped
• 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
• 2 brown onions, chopped
• 1 very ripe tomato (skin and seeds removed), chopped
• 1 ½ tsp crushed fennel seeds
• 1 bay leaf
• 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
• zest of ½ an orange
• 1 cups home made vegetable stock
• 3 cups home made passata
• 1 cup white wine
• 2 cans chickpeas (drained) or 2/3 cup dried chickpeas reconstituted over night
• Juice of ½ an orange
• ½ cup cream
Place a large pot over a medium heat, add two tablespoons of olive oil.
Add the celery, carrot, onion and tomato and sauté until translucent.
Add the fennel seeds, bay leaf and orange zest, stir to combine.
Add the stock, passata, white wine, cream, orange juice and chickpeas, stirring to combine.
Season with salt and pepper (be sparing as you can always add more).
Bring to the boil until the ragu no longer smells of alcohol, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer.
Cook for 30-45 minutes uncovered, stirring occasionally to ensure everything cooks evenly.
The ragu will continue to reduce as it cooks, it will be a thick consistency when finished – similar to a bolognese sauce.
Taste to check the seasoning, add to taste.
This ragu is very versatile, delicious spooned over shell pasta, cous cous or brown rice. Throw a handful of roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley on top to serve.
Go Greek with this simple, herb-laced seafood dish.
By Alecia Wood
500g uncooked prawns, peeled and deveined with the tails intact. Wild haul-caught School and Bay (also known as Greentail) Prawns from New South Wales are best, or as a second choice wild-caught King, Tiger or Banana prawns from Australia are also good – according to the Australian Marine Conservation Society’s sustainable seafood guide.
3 cups passata
½ cup white wine
2 large red chillies, deseeded and chopped
1 brown onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
¼ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped finely
3 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
1 tbsp coriander seeds, crushed
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 bay leaf
Turkish bread or crusty bread rolls, to serve.
Place a saucepan over a medium-high heat and add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil – use the oil from your feta if it is marinated so it doesn’t go to waste.
Add the coriander seeds, onion and garlic, and sauté until translucent. Toasting the seeds like this will bring out more of their flavour.
Add the chilli and sugar, stirring until the sugar dissolves. This will help to caramelise the onions and add sweetness to the sauce.
Add the passata, white wine, bay leaf and salt, and stir to combine. You won’t need much salt, because the feta added later on will be quite salty. Season with freshly cracked pepper.
Reduce the heat to low and leave to simmer for 15 minutes. The sauce will start to thicken, and is ready when it coats the back of a spoon.
In the meantime, turn your oven to the grill setting and warm up your bread.
Once the sauce has thickened, add the feta. If you are using a hard feta, crumble it into large chunks and drop into the sauce. If you are using a soft feta, drop spoonfuls into the sauce. Don’t stir the sauce – you want the feta to melt, but not disintegrate.
Push the prawns into the sauce, making sure they are fully covered in the sauce so they cook evenly. Leave to simmer in the sauce for 5-10 minutes – pull one out and cut a taste a piece to ensure it is cooked through.
Turn off the heat, and sprinkle over the fresh dill and parsley.
Take the pan straight to the table and serve the saganaki right away – the longer the prawns stay in the sauce, the more they will cook and you don’t want them to turn rubbery. Warm up the bread and serve it along with the saganaki, tearing off as much as you need to mop up the leftover sauce.
Add some Middle Eastern heat to this French classic.
By Angie Sceats
• 3 Roma tomatoes
• 3 tbsp olive oil
• 1 large onion, chopped
• 1 red capsicum, diced
• 1 yellow capsicum, diced
• 1 eggplant, diced
• 1 cup tomato passata
• ½ tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
• 2 tbsp fresh basil leaves, torn
• 2 garlic cloves, crushed
• 2 tbsp harissa
• 1 handful chopped olives (seedless)
• 40ml red wine vinegar
Make an incision the shape of a cross in the base of each tomato and place in a bowl. Cover with boiling water and leave for one minute. Remove the tomatoes from the water – be careful, as they will be hot! – and peel off the skin. The heat of the water will have helped to loosen the skin, just grab one of the tabs of skin from the incision and pull it down the length of the tomato. Discard the skin – or add it to your compost, or feed it to your chickens!
Chop the tomato flesh into medium-sized chunks and set aside.
Heat the oil in a deep frying pan over a medium heat and add the onion. Cook for 2-3 minutes until golden brown, then add all the capsicum and cook for a further 5 minutes.
Transfer the cooked onion and capsicum to a plate and set aside.
Add the eggplant to the pan and cook over medium heat for 5-6 minutes, until softened and slightly brown around the edges.
Return the cooked onion and capsicum to the pan and stir through the passata.
Add the thyme, tomatoes, olives and harissa, stir to combine.
Reduce heat to low, cover with a lid and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in the basil, garlic and red wine vinegar and season to taste.
Serve warm either on its own, over pasta or with roast meat or fish.