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a spoonful of sun and tomato

  • Writer's picturestevendesair

What is the difference between passata and tomato sauce?

Updated: Aug 21, 2023

What is passata? Passata is a characteristic ingredient of Italian cuisine, especially in southern Italy. It is still made in home kitchens from late June through September, when ripe, juicy, aromatic tomatoes are harvested and slow-cooked in large pots to intensify their texture and fragrance.

The sauce is packed in jars and kept in the pantry, allowing the flavor of ripe tomatoes to be enjoyed throughout the year. Unlike heat-and-serve tomato sauce, which is cooked down to a noodle-coating consistency and heavily seasoned with salt, sugar, and herbs, passata is much less of a finished product—it's a building block that delivers bright, unadulterated tomato flavor.

Traditionally, passata production is an annual family event named passata day, with everyone assigned to specific tasks—sorting, washing, and cutting the tomatoes; monitoring the simmering process; working the passapomodoro; or the most important job of all: seasoning the passata before bottling.

Once all the passata bottles are sterilized and cooled, the year's supply gets divvied up among the family members, and the countdown begins for next year's passata party. Find passata recipes or more info about passata day in our other blogposts.

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