Monday, 19 September 2011

Italian Tomato Job!!!!

I have just spent a few days with my bestest buddy who just so happens to live in Italy.She was over in August and was showing me where I was going wrong with my tomato sauce as it always ended up watery,when she just happened to say why dont you come and help us make our sauce?.
Now there was two things wrong with that comment,firstly my husband overheard and secondly I know they make the whole years worth in one go.
So that is how I found myself in 30 degrees,blue skies and generally much better than being in windy blighty.After visiting La Venaria Reale (they are renovating the Palace and gardens) dont be disapointed as we were,the leaflets are all computor generated so they are not as established as they make you beleive.Once established they will be lovely edpecially with the mountains as the backdrop but I think you are probably talking another 5yrs.
Anyway I digress,back to the job I came to do!!!Firstly we set off to a wonderful farmers market where we bought 54kilos of tomatoes,they grow alot of tomatoes themselves but with a busy gift /kitchen hardware shop to run in turin and designing fabric(checkout the pepper on the bag was enormous-and delicious(have bought some seed home with me)
Then they all got washed and dried and left over night (the washing line was very full with tea towels!!

The trick was not to put them too close to the edge of the table as they had a tendency to roll off,once one started that was it and no matter how loud I shouted at them-I tried English and Italian-they did not take much notice!

The next morning the mamouth day I had been warned about started-firstly we top and tailed them and cut any blemishes out,then quartered them.They then went in a pan with a little salt and some washed basil leaves.The trick here is not to stir them,as they come up to the boil you can see water coming up to the surface.This is removed with a spoon and discarded-the trick being knowing when to stop as you dont want to be removing the tomato juice.As we had 54kilos to boil

Each pan once the water was removed was boiled for 40 minutes,occasionally stirring to stop it sticking to the bottom of the pan.It was then removed from the pan strained and then milled

It is suprising how much more water comes off when you strain it-this was where I was going wrong with my attempts at home!

Again very little is wasted,you keep milling until all you have left is a very dry paste of skin and seeds
It is all bottled after fighting to get the new seals on-there is a knack!Then it all gets sterilised for another 25mins.As you can imagine at home that would not take very long-but to do 54kilos which made 27kilos of pasta sauce-2 kitchens on the go and 4 of us doing it the cooking,bottling and sterilising took us until the evening to compete!


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