Small-Batch Tomato Passata Recipe

Italian cuisine has gifted us with many flavorful dishes that highlight fresh ingredients, simply made into satisfying dishes. Tomato passata is a type of puree that is made with fresh tomatoes and can be used in many Italian dishes, ranging from a big pot of minestrone soup to a bowl of rich and creamy pasta. It's typically made in the summer when fresh tomatoes are plentiful in the garden, and it doesn't include tomato skins or seeds, making passata thinner than tomato sauce. 

Wellness coach and recipe developer Miriam Hahn brings us this recipe and shares, "Growing up in an Italian family taught me at an early age that tomatoes were an essential vegetable used in everyday cooking. My grandmother used to make passata in large batches using a food mill, but I've modified the recipe to make smaller amounts using a standard potato ricer. I love kitchen tools that can be used in multiple ways!"

Gather the ingredients for this small-batch tomato passata

This recipe only requires a few items: fresh plum tomatoes, salt, and fresh basil. "I love to use plum tomatoes for this recipe because they are less watery and offer a hint of sweet flavor. If you have trouble finding good ones, you can use another full size tomato variety, but just make sure they are at the peak of ripeness," Hahn shares. The fresh basil will go into the jars to add fragrance once your tomato passata is made.

Prepare the tomatoes

Once the tomatoes are washed, cut them into quarters. There's no need to remove the seeds or peels as that will happen in a later step. Put the tomatoes into a large pot and add a pinch of salt. Turn the heat to medium, cover, and cook the tomatoes for 10 minutes. They should be nice and soft when the timer goes off.

Press them with a potato ricer

Once the tomatoes are soft, scoop a ladleful into a potato ricer and press down, working over a bowl. The juice from the tomatoes will flow into the bowl while the seeds and skins remain trapped in the potato ricer. There may be a little tomato pulp on the outside of the ricer that you can scrape off into the bowl. Before you add more tomatoes, empty the ricer cup and discard the remains. 

"If you happen to have a food mill, that is the preferred tool for making passata, but I find that a potato ricer basically does the same thing and is perfect for small batches," Hahn shares. Repeat this process until all of the tomatoes have been pressed. Then pour the juice through a fine mesh strainer to catch any seeds or peels that may have slipped through the ricer.

Release the extra water and store the passata

You should now have a vibrant red bowl of strained tomatoes. To thicken the mixture up just a bit, pour it into a pot and bring the heat to medium. Cook for 15 minutes uncovered so the excess water evaporates. 

You can now transfer the passata into one large jar or several smaller ones. Add a fresh basil leaf to the jar and pour in the sauce. Let it cool completely before putting it in the fridge or use it right away while it's hot and steamy. The passata will be good for up to four days in the fridge or up to three months in the freezer. Hahn tells us, "If you plan to freeze the passata, leave a little room at the top because it will expand when frozen." Enjoy your authentic, fresh passata to elevate your Italian dishes to a new level!

Small-Batch Tomato Passata Recipe
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This small-batch tomato passata recipe packs in the flavor with little effort and cleanup required. Use it by itself or in your favorite Italian recipe.
Prep Time
Cook Time
passata poured on pasta
Total time: 40 minutes
  • 18 plum tomatoes
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 3 basil leaves
  1. Wash the tomatoes and cut them into quarters.
  2. Transfer the tomatoes to a large pot and add salt.
  3. Raise the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes until the tomatoes are soft.
  4. With a ladle, scoop some tomatoes into a potato ricer and press to release the juice.
  5. Open the ricer and discard the skin and seeds that have collected. Repeat this process with all of the tomatoes.
  6. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer to catch any seeds or peel that remain.
  7. Pour the tomato mixture into a pot and raise the heat to medium.
  8. Cook uncovered for 15 minutes so that any excess water can evaporate.
  9. Now put the basil into a jar (or split it between 3 jars) and pour the passata on top. The passata is ready to use as is or as a base for a soup or pasta sauce.
Calories per Serving 101
Total Fat 1.1 g
Saturated Fat 0.2 g
Trans Fat 0.0
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 21.7 g
Dietary Fiber 6.7 g
Total Sugars 14.7 g
Sodium 173.3 mg
Protein 4.9 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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