How to make tomato passata

Patrizia Simone is a genuine food legend and after making her name through establishing and running Simone’s Restaurant in Bright and writing a cook book she has now set up her own cooking school.  I was invited to attend a class there which was being run as part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival program ‘Pomodoro in all their glory’.  Yes a whole class devoted to tomatoes, bliss.  Patrizia has the most lovely, warm personality and attending the cooking class which is held in a purpose built kitchen in her home, feels like being invited into the Simone family for the day.

The class covered stuffing tomatoes and preserving tomatoes but the part that I was most interested in was making passata.  Coming from an Anglo Saxon background I have always been jealous of the big Italian families that have their annual passata making days.   Experiencing the ritual with Patrizia was so interesting, it’s a fairly straight forward process once you have all the right equipment and the smells that fill the house are brilliant.  Patrizia recommends making your passata fairly plain and not adding too many herbs and extras to it, that way you can use it for lots of different dishes and can just add herbs and other elements once you come to use it.

Patrizia Simone in her gorgeous kitchen

A tomato press or passata maker
Glass bottles or jars.  You can reuse old bottles but you need new lids.
2kg of tomatoes as ripe as possible,
1 small onion, roughly chopped
1 carrot, roughly chopped

Using the press to make the passata

1.  To sterilise the glass bottles for storing the sauce, wash and rinse them and then put them and their lids into a stockpot of water and bring to a boil over a high heat.  Boil for five minutes and leave to cool in the water.

2.  Wash and dry the tomatoes and then chop them roughly discarding any blemished parts and the cores.

3.  Put the tomatoes into a large saucepan with the onion, celery and carrot and bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Cook for five to ten minutes until the mixture starts to break down a little and then leave to cool.

4.  Put the mixture through a tomato press or passata maker and discard the pulp and skin, not before putting the pulp and skin through a second time to try and squeeze some more of the juice out of it.

5.  Fill the sterilised glass bottles using a funnel, leaving a little bit of space before the top.  Put the lids tightly on the bottles and wrap them in tea towels or chux cloths to stop the bottles bumping together and breaking.

6.  Pack the bottles tightly in a large stockpot then cover the bottles with cold water and bring them to a boil.  Once they have reached a boil turn off the heat and allow the bottles to cool completely in the water.

Our take home goodies from the class – a bottle of passata, stuffed tomatoes and preserved tomatoes

The sealed bottles will keep in your pantry for a year, once opened keep in the fridge for up to three days.

What do do with your passata 
Patrizia cooked the passata over a low heat with some olive oil and then cooked some prawns in oil and garlic and steamed open some mussels in water.  Added together with pasta she created the most delicious spaghetti marinara.

Gourmet Chick was invited to review Patrizia Simone’s Country Cooking School. 

Details: Patrizia Simone’s Country Cooking School, 98 Gavan St  Bright Victoria (Ph 03 5755 2266)
Damage: Budget breaking.  $180 for the class.


  1. This looks so vibrant – you can tell there is a good dose of tomato in here!

  2. What a fun way to learn how to make passata!

  3. Noms! Love home made sauces!

  4. Kari – Yes and really lovely ripe tomatoes as well

    Lorraine – It was a great experience and I would feel pretty confident making it myself now

    MsIHua – I know so much better than the shop stuff

  5. […] on Elm in Bright.   What to do: Go to the High Country World’s Longest Lunch or do a cooking class with Patrizia Simone. […]

  6. […] you can make the most of the surrounding mountains for skiing in Winter and hiking in Summer, do a cooking class and cycle along the rail trail to visit the nearby wineries. […]

  7. Hi Cara, I really enjoyed this post and I look forward to making some passata with my overripe tomatoes. Just a note – you don’t have celery in the ingredient list, it may have been cut off somewhere… 🙂

    1. Vix – hope the passata goes well, thanks for the pick up re the celery – I’ll amend

  8. What if I don’t have a tomato press or passata maker?

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