Passata is what we would always make at the end of summer. “We need to make the passata before summer ends. Let’s go to the farm and get some tomatoes!” my parents would holler at all of us kids. They’d put the four of us in the back of my dad’s station wagon (sans seat belts) and drive us to some random farm and have us pick fresh plum-style tomatoes right off the plant with our own hands. Pack them in a tomato basket and haul it all back to our Brooklyn yard to then hand wash them in a giant tin tub (that job was typically reserved for me and my sister) to then either quarter or crush them in the passata di pomodoro (a manual tomato mill). It was a lot of work. A LOT OF WORK! but we all loved it and had such fun. Especially during the cold months when these jars we labored over for hours and days were all sealed and available right in our pantry and ready to enjoy.
I came across this fun video by Pasta Grannies and just had to post it to share with all of you on where our inspiration actually comes from. People call it “Southern Italy.” I call it “Tomato Mecca.” We may not use bricks to hold down our jars during production here at the Saucery like the Italians do (my parents included) because, you know, NYS inspectors. Stiffs!
Enjoy the fun video with these tomato masters. See you at Union Square Greenmarket (north side).