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Oct 22, 2013 10:31 AM

Tomato Passata

Does anyone know anyone that carries this in San Diego?

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  1. I would start by checking with places like Bristol Farms, Whole Foods and Jimbo's.

    1. You can buy Toma Passata in a carton, the same brand and packaging that we got at our corner market when we lived in Rome, at the Mona Lisa Market on the corner of Hawthorne and India Street.

      3 Replies
      1. re: sandiegomike

        Is that the one made by Parmalat?

        I've probably seen it but never realized it was passata, just thought it was strained unseasoned tomato sauce.

        Silly me, never put 2 and 2 together. (And, if I did, I'd probably get 3)

        1. re: ipsedixit

          Roger that, it's made by Parmalat, it's at Mona Lisa, I thought I saw it there last week. Worth a call before you go.

        2. re: sandiegomike

          Thanks! I will stop by after work, it's pretty close.

        3. I'm not in San Diego, but here in NJ many supermarkets carry Pomì "Strained Tomatoes" which I believe is what's called passata elsewhere.

          1. Mona Lisa has passata - I typically buy at least one jar of passata every time I go there.

            1. I've bought them at Assenti's.

              12 Replies
              1. re: beth1

                Not surprised. In spite of it's tiny size, Assenti's has a pretty decent inventory of things like this. I like going here and so in truth I'd probably have tried them first. If not there, second stop would be across the street.

                But really, what does passata have over a good quality tomato paste?

                  1. re: cstr

                    Passata is Eyetalian for 'passed,' as in through a strainer. The tomatoes are cooked, skinned and put through a mill then bottled. This is the most common prep/storage method for home crops in Italy.

                    Concentrato, while used, is less common and is just that - concentrated tomato paste. Very different from passata, and a key ingredient in most ragú.

                    1. re: SaltyRaisins

                      Passata and concentrato (or tomato paste) are two entirely different products. Passata is basically tomato sauce (as in the stuff you get in cans labeled "tomato sauce"). Typically, though, passata comes in jars, not cans, and that is somewhat beneficial. When I'm making short cooked tomato sauces, such as puttanesca, where I'm cooking the sauce for as long as it takes to boil water, I use passata.

                      When making ragu, I'll use either canned crushed tomatoes, or whole peeled tomatoes because they have good texture. I don't typically use tomato paste because I'm making ragu napoletano ("sunday gravy"), not ragu bolognese ("meat sauce"). But in soups and stews, where you want to add a little bit of tomato flavor, tomato paste is the way to go.

                      1. re: jmtreg

                        I understand the difference between passata and concentrato, or tomato sauce and tomato paste. What I guess I'm wondering is, if you were to dilute a concentrato to exactly the same thickness as a passata, both from the same company, and then do a blind taste test, would you be able to tell the difference? If so, what would it be? cstr says she thinks passata is less acidic.

                        I never use either myself, always fresh romas (although I'll occasionally substitute S&W "ready-cut diced"), but my mother used to always use tomato paste for everything -- never tomato sauce. She'd just dilute it to get the thickness she wanted.

                        So, I'm just asking, really.

                        1. re: DoctorChow

                          The flavor profile will be different - passata is made from uncooked tomatoes whereas tomato paste is made from cooked tomatoes.

                          1. re: honkman

                            Gonna have to disagree with you on that, Herr Honkmann.

                            Both preparations use cooked tomatoes. Passata consists of quickly, but vigorously boiled whole tomatoes that are then "machinati," or lightly ground, and the final product retains the majority of the water within the tomato. Garlic, salt and basil are often included in this process before bottling so that the sauce is ready to go straight from the vessel, no matter what Wikipedia tells you. I've seen it being made on a number of occasions.

                            Concentrate consists of tomato hulls that have been partially dried after cooking and then turned into a fine puree and reconstituted with some water so that the final product is a paste and intensely more "concentrated" than passata.

                            Passata is a sauce in and of itself. Concentrate is an ingredient in other sauces. They couldn't be more different, and a sauce made from nothing but soffrito with concentrate, wine, dried herbs and water would be doable, but might taste somewhat like ketchup.

                            Buon appetito!

                            1. re: SaltyRaisins

                              The tomato component in the sauces and other dishes that my Mom made from tomato paste had no resemblance to ketchup, I can assure you! She used a lot of basil, bay leaves, and garlic in her cooking.

                              Maybe flavored passata (i.e, garlic and basil added, as you say) and unflavored concentrata shouldn't really be compared? Is that the bottom line here?

                              1. re: DoctorChow

                                Yeah, you got it.

                                I've seen it done the way I described above, but then there's this:


                                which also involves cooking under pressure. A different order of operations, but with a result nothing like concentrate.

                                Vi saluto!

                                1. re: SaltyRaisins

                                  Loved the video, Salty. Thanks!

                                  Talk about "low tech"...

                              2. re: SaltyRaisins

                                I think there are different interpretations throughout the world (and even Italy) what passata is but if you look on the Italian regulations it was originally a non-cooked tomato sauce just made out of fresh tomatoes pushed through a sieve (and sometimes afterwards concentrated). Many people (and companies) today are using cooked tomatoes today but that is historically not passata


                        2. re: SaltyRaisins

                          Thanks for your EYE-Talian translation. I use it for my bolognese.