Spicy balsamic tomato & fennel passata
I do think homemade passata worth the effort end season when tomatoes are cheap. Fennel is a natural ally flavour. Makes around 800ml sauce Quantities are approximate, so feel free to adjust. Just cook the sauce down to your desired consistency – thinner for a passata, ideal for pizza bases and adding to stews, and thicker for a ketchup sauce. You will need some glass jam jars or preserving jars with seals, sterilised. Do this by washing in hot soapy water, rinsing thoroughly and placing on an oven shelf, upright, at 120 degrees centigrade for around 20 minutes. Switch off oven, leave jars inside til required. Remove carefully and place on a wooden board while filling.
Recipe type: Sauces & Condiments
Cuisine: Italian
  • 3kg fresh tomatoes (ideally plum)
  • 400gm red onions
  • 4 plump garlic cloves
  • 3 red or orange bell peppers (or one large red pepper)
  • 3 tbsps light muscovado sugar
  • 3 tsp salt
  • freshly-milled black pepper
  • 1 level tbsp ground mace
  • 1 level tbsp crushed fennel seeds
  • 200ml red wine vinegar (use other vinegars to replace both the red and balsamic if you like)
  • 50ml balsamic vinegar
  1. Chop the tomatoes into rough cubes, dice up peppers (de-seeded), and peel and dice onions and garlic and place all the vegetables in a large, deep-sided, wide, thick-based saucepan with a lid.
  2. Heat and cook for around 15 minutes, lid on, over a medium heat until the tomatoes are partly cooked down and the onion starts to soften.
  3. Add all the other ingredients, bring the mixture to nearly boiling point then reduce the heat and simmer gently for around an hour, stirring occasionally to ensure it doesn’t stick. Check for liquid and if you see the mixture drying out too much add a little water.
  4. Turn off the heat, remove lid and leave to cool for around 15 minutes. Then, in batches, blitz the tomato mixture up in a blender / liquidiser.
  5. At this point, the sauce is very fine but to remove lingering tomato seeds and skin sieve through a fine sieve or mouli up.
  6. Return the sauce to a cleaned pan and reduce over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, keeping the lid off, until the sauce is reduced to your desired consistency. Around 10-15 mins for a medium-thick sauce.
  7. When ready, pour into sterilised jars and seal immediately. Tighten lids after half an hour when the sauce cools down. The lids usually dimple in when the seal is formed.
Recipe by The Red Bistro at https://theredbistro.com/2013/08/20/tomato-fennel-passata-or-homemade-ketchup-sauce/