The queen of pasta sauces: passata di pomodoro



The queen of pasta sauces: passata di pomodoro

By 16/08/2013

My favourite at all times dish is pasta al pomodoro or pasta in tomato sauce called in Italian Passata di pomodoro.

This is the Italians favourite pasta sauce especially in the south of Italy where the strong sun produces beautiful sweet tomatoes, full of taste and of a bright red colour.

My mum makes passata every summer. She picks the tomatoes when they are very ripe and makes enough sauce to last all winter. Passata is then stored in glass jars, sealed and boiled for 10 minutes or so. This will make it last for a long time so that you can enjoy the flavours of summer even when it is snowing outside! ย All you need is ripe tomatoes, ย a few leafs of basil and a touch of olive oil to make the most delicious pasta sauce Italians have invented!


Fresh Italian tomatoes

  • Prep Time : 45 minutes
  • Cook Time : 60 minutes



Chop the tomatoes, put them in a colander and let them drain of the excess water removing their seeds

chopping tomatoes

Put them in a large pot and cook over a gentle heat for about 1 hour

cooking tomatoes

With a meshed strainer or with a mill remove the skins and let the sauce drip into a smaller pot

removing the skins

And it is all done! Now you can store the passata in glass jars adding a few leafs of basil or you can freeze it if you prefer

pasta sauce

When I make pasta I usually heat some passata up in a sauce pan with a few leafs of basil and I add a couple of spoons of olive oil

Tomato sauce with basil

Enjoy with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese

Spaghetti with tomato sauce

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8 Responses to The queen of pasta sauces: passata di pomodoro

  1. Javelin Warrior

    This is so marvelously easy, Alida! And when you have access to such beautiful sun-ripened tomatoes, it’s wonderful to be able to keep it so simple. The sauce is such a luscious color of red – just gorgeous!

    • Alida

      Thank you Mark X

  2. Sue Olivnant

    What type of tomato would you recommend to make this sauce as English tomatoes don’t have much taste. We haven’t grown any of our own this year, but we have masses of basil growing in our loft conversion (it seems to love it up there – looks like a herb garden at the moment! I make loads of pesto sauce and freeze it in ice cube trays for winter use.

    • Alida

      The most popular tomatoes for passata are the San Marzano ones which are plum shaped tomatoes, however most tomatoes if they are ripe can make excellent passata. I have made passata in the UK. Sometimes you can find cheap tomatoes at market places (even if they come from abroad). I think what’s important is for them to be soft and ripe. Ciao!

  3. kay

    What a wonderful true Italian way of making tomato sauce. I must go to the farmers’ market and buy some tomatoes to make this!

  4. Ange

    I was wondering if you would know how long these jars or bottles of passata actually last. Recently we had to put my mother in a home and when we sold her house, we found literally hundreds of bottles and jars of passata and tomatoes. We have no idea how long these have been there but I do know that she has not made sauce for at least 4 or 5 years. I have been told by some that the passata will last forever as long as it is sealed good. But, others have told me to throw it all out. My cousins, some friends and I have actually already used several of these bottles and the sauce it absolutely delicious but I am still concerned since I am sure that some of these bottles could be 10 years old or older. What do you think?

    • Alida

      It is true that in theory passata (if properly sterilized) can last forever but if it is really old I would be wary. Some might taste and look perfectly OK but in some cases there are bacteria (called botox) which can grow without the need of oxygen and can seriously intoxicate you! Of course it might not be the case but you always run this risk.
      I am not sure I would eat them if I were you (especially the older ones!).

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