Mains, Weekday Dinners

Fresh Tomato and Basil Passata

I’ve always longed to recreate that fresh tomato sauce that you get in Italian restaurants.

When looking through various recipes over the years, a lot of them call for a jar or carton of tomato passata. Honestly, they just didn’t do it for me at all – all these recipes just tasted of concentrated tomato flavouring, they weren’t light and fresh.

After many trials and errors, I eventually acquired this recipe from my better half, James.

Now, this recipe does call for a NutriBullet, or a similar smoothie blender. I say this because I don’t peel the skins on the tomatoes for this sauce, as the NutriBullet annihilates all of them to form one lovely sauce. I tried it in a food processor and it didn’t work, so if you just have a normal processor, or a stick blender, then you’ll have to plunge the tomatoes into boiling water first to peel the skin off.

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Makes enough to coat 2 servings of pasta


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • 250g vine-ripened tomatoes (yes, they do have to be vine ripened)
  • small handful basil leaves


  • NutriBullet/stick blender/food processor



  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium frying pan on a low to medium heat and finely dice the onion.
  2. Add the onion to the pan and crush the garlic cloves into the pan. Stir every now and again until the onion has softened.
  3. Dice the tomatoes into medium-sized chunks and add to the pan along with a splash of water. Season with a good sprinkling of salt to draw the moisture out then reduce on a medium heat for about 10 minutes.
  4. Once reduced, roughly chop the basil and add to the pan. Stir for a couple of minutes and then decant the sauce into a bowl to cool for 15 minutes.
  5. Once the sauce has cooled, add the sauce to the NutriBullet and blitz until smooth. *DISCLAIMER* If you add the sauce to the NutriBullet when it is hot, you will create a vacuum inside the container because the steam has no where to escape. This will then either make it impossible to unscrew the lid, or it will just explode – trust me, I’ve been there.
  6. When you wish to use your sauce, simply heat in the frying pan until hot and finish with a drizzle of olive oil.

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