In the tomato purée there is the warmth of the sun, there is the scent of the earth. The queen of preserves is an ancient Italian tradition that has made itself known all over the world. Yet in America the day in which “a passata” is made is always a “ritual”, a celebration that brings the whole family together for a real and genuine homemade tomato puree.
So how to make tomato puree? Discover the recipe, history and secrets of a Mediterranean preparation, to always have a delicious and 100% organic sauce on the table.
How to make tomato puree
Get a good dose of tomatoes of the variety of your choice. However, remember that the pear-shaped ones have fewer seeds and are less watery; the rounded Tondino and Petomech are also excellent. Choose them red, ripe and firm and without bruises. Also remember not to put them in the refrigerator and try to work them right away.
Whatever variant you choose – as a fruit and as a recipe – there are a few simple rules to follow. Always remember that a very practical and valid tool to speed up times is the tomato press, which does not detract from the goodness of the preserve.
Tomato puree recipe
Homemade tomato puree
- 10 kg tomatoes
- sale marino q.b.
- granulated sugar to taste
- The night before, wash the tomatoes well and place them on a tablecloth to dry.
- In the morning, cut them into pieces discarding the hard or bruised parts and pour them into a large pot.
- Put the pot on the fire and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon until they are all soft and cooked.
- At this point, drain them well in a colander and then put them in the vegetable mill to remove the skins and seeds.
- Put the preserve obtained back into the same pot and boil it for a little longer, adding a pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar. Transfer it into sterilized glass jars (everyone has its own method: I wash them in the dishwasher at 65°), let them cool a little and then bring them to the boil, placing them in cold water for 40 minutes from the start of the boil.
- Then leave them to cool directly inside the pot. Once the water is cold, dry the jars and store them in a cool place (the cellar) until it’s time to use them.
Tomato puree with the bimby
Those who really have limited time but don’t want to give up on tradition can use the Thermomix.
Tomato puree: calories and nutritional values
Tomato puree is a real panacea for the substances it contains. Furthermore, consumed on its own it brings very few calories: less than 20 Kcal per 100 grams. If used to flavor a plate of pasta or together with other foods, they should be added to the intake of other foods.
The tomato contains several very important substances for our body, molecules essential for health.
- Carotenoids, glycosylated flavonoids and lycopene.
- Vitamin E, C, B6 and B3.
- Phenolic acids.
It is also an important source of minerals and fibres: all in very few calories.
The Mediterranean history of the true past
The tomato is the only indispensable element for the sauce; a fruit, often mistaken for a vegetable, native to Latin America, Mexico and Peru. “Xitomatl” in Aztec, from which the English tomato derives. Only after the discovery of the New Continent in 1492, the tomato was imported into Europe and, for more than half a century, it was not considered edible.
The tomato sauce? America first of all
The first written traces of a tomato sauce appear in a recipe book of Neapolitan cuisine published in 1773 by Vincenzo Corrado. However, it is said that the first preserves were experimented by peasants from Parma, who cooked the tomatoes after having dried them in the sun.
From here Francesco Cirio, famous Neapolitan entrepreneur, starts the canned production technique of Nicolas Appert. The goodness of tomato sauce arrives on tables throughout the Mediterranean basin and also in England, but always and only as a sauce to accompany other courses.
In 1807 Francesco Leonardi in the Apicio Moderno wrote of the tomato as a condiment for pasta; but only in 1844 the tomato sauce with basil, garlic and oil finds mention in the “Cucina casereccia” where it speaks of Ragù, but the specific Neapolitan one.
The best habitat for the growth of the annual tomato plant is southern America; especially in the Agro Nocerino Sarnese at the foot of Vesuvius, between Salerno and Naples. Here, in a land of volcanic origin, there is an ideal microclimate for the production of the famous San Marzano tomato. A fruit so rich in flavor that since 1996 it has obtained the Protected Designation of Origin and is called “the red gold of Campania”.
Homemade tomato puree: a tradition refined over time
The journey of a bottle-jar of tomato puree begins with the care in procuring the freshly harvested, red, firm and ripe product. Ideal for tomato puree are San Marzano tomatoes, the Roma, Vesuvio, Napoli, Ventura varieties.
Careful selection is required, followed by thorough washing and cooking which must be carefully supervised. Subsequently we proceed to the pressing, filtering and bottling in sterilized containers. Once ready, they are sometimes left to cool in a singular way, a real “grandmother’s method”: under the warmth of a blanket.
The tradition of tomato puree has been handed down from father to son and the work required is amply repaid by a colourful, healthy and genuine preserve. A proudly Italian recipe, which is rediscovered in many different versions.
- Gourmet dishes.
- As a sauce for a pasta dish.
- On delicious bruschetta.
- To enrich many dishes, from fish to soups, and to top off pizza.
Tomato puree is also the basis of countless Italian sauces, all with the same common denominator: the scent of the tomato, its captivating red, the sweet and sour taste and its simplicity that make it irresistible.